Homemade Silver Cleaner

Woman polishing silverware

Learning how to make homemade silver cleaner can help spare your wallet and return the shine to your precious dishes and flatware.

Taking Care of Silver

Clean silver is a sight to see. Sparkling fine silver and silver plated flatware can be a hostess' best friend. It can also turn an ordinary tablescape into an extraordinary one. However, silver loses its luster quickly if it is not cleaned regularly.

The more you use your silver dishes and flatware the less likely you will have to clean away tarnish build-up. Which means instead of hiding your silver, and only using it on special occasions, use it frequently. However, don't forget to thoroughly wash silver after each use. The safest way to clean silver is to hand wash it. Silver gets its shine from the friction used in the washing process, so rubbing silver while you wash will help enhance its brightness.

Hand Washing

To properly hand wash silver follow these simple steps:

  1. Fill the sink with warm water and just a small squirt of mild dish detergent.
  2. Gently, yet thoroughly, hand wash each individual piece of silver.
  3. Dry each silver piece completely with a clean and soft cotton towel.
  4. Eliminate streaks by buffing silver with a soft cloth and a little elbow grease.

How to Make Homemade Silver Cleaner

When you are dealing with regular silver maintenance, then the aforementioned tips will suffice. However, if your silver is need of deep-cleaning, but you can't afford to pay for commercial silver cleansers, then use the following homemade silver cleaners:


Heat up two cups of vinegar and add in a tablespoon of salt. Then, soak food stained silver in mixture for up to five minutes at a time. Any corrosion caused by caked on foods, such as eggs, mayonnaise or mustard, should lift off when it comes in contact with the vinegar and salt mixture.

Baking Soda

Tarnished silver has no place at a dinner party. To clean silver sulfide tarnish from your dishes or flatware, get a large piece of aluminum foil, two heaping tablespoons of baking soda and two quarts of hot water. Next:

  1. Place the piece of aluminum foil on the bottom of a deep plastic or glass container.
  2. Arrange the tarnished silver on top of the aluminum foil.
  3. Sprinkle the silver dishes or flatware with the baking soda, and then cover it with boiling, hot water.
  4. Soak the silver in the mixture until bubbles stop forming.
  5. Thoroughly rinse the silver and polish it with a soft cloth.

This cleaning method breaks down the tarnish and transfers it to the piece of aluminum foil, which you can throw away when you are done. Keep in mind that this technique is rather extreme and should not be used on antique or silver that features an intricate pattern.


Plain white toothpaste, not the gel version, can be used as a homemade silver cleaner. Toothpaste works as well as store bought silver cleaner provided you use a bit of elbow grease when wiping it off your silver. Once you clean the silver with the toothpaste, carefully rinse it before setting it out to dry.

Be Proactive

You can spend a lot less time cleaning silver if you take care of it properly. To avoid tarnishing, never let silver come into contact with rubber place mats, dish mats or other rubberized materials. Rubber contains sulfur, which leads to corrosion. Also, avoid washing fine silver with every day stainless steel flatware. When the two co-mingle the silver can get stained or damaged. Instead, wash and store your fine silver in a separate area away from stainless steel utensils.

Homemade Silver Cleaner