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How to clean silver at home and remove tarnishing for sparkling shine

Get your silverware sparkling clean with these home remedies

A person polishing a silver ring
Chloe Best
Chloe BestLifestyle Features Editor
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Whether it is jewellery or cutlery, all silverware naturally tarnishes over time and requires some level of upkeep to maintain its shine.

But what is the best way to clean silver and does a silver necklace require the same treatment as silver serving ware? We've rounded up the expert cleaning tips and effective home remedies that will get silverware sparkling, and debunked common myths about the use of Coca Cola and toothpaste for cleaning…

A clean silver and tarnished silver cutlery© iStock
Silver can become tarnished over time, so needs to be polished

How often should you clean silver?

Although polishing silver is necessary to remove tarnishing, the process can be abrasive, so you likely only need to do it between two and six times a year, depending on the item.

What is the best home remedy for cleaning silver?

Baking soda and dish soap can be two of the most affordable and easiest home remedies for cleaning silver. 

MORE: What is baking soda? 9 genius ways to use it in your home

To polish dull silver, simply add a few drops of mild dish soap to warm water and use a soft cloth to gently clean the item, before rinsing and buffing with a dry cloth.

Meanwhile, for heavily tarnished silver, baking soda is likely to be more effective. Mix three parts of baking soda with one part of water to create a paste, then use a soft cloth to apply to your silverware, and gently buff away any marks. Rinse and dry once finished.

A woman polishing a silver jug© iStock
Baking soda can be used to clean silver

How can you clean badly tarnished silver?

For a natural solution, you may find that baking soda is effective to clean badly tarnished silver. However, there are also a number of other specific silver polished available that make removing tarnishing a breeze. 

Simply put a small amount of the silver polish on a clean cloth, and rub onto your item, making sure to turn the cloth regularly to avoid depositing tarnishing back onto it. Once clean, wash and rinse in warm water and use a clean, dry cloth to buff dry and restore its shine.

RELATED: How to clean your wedding and engagement rings

Alternatively, for smaller items like rings and jewellery, you may find that silver wipes are more convenient and easier to use.

Does Coca Cola clean silver?

Coca Cola can be used to clean silver, as the acid in the drink will quickly remove any tarnishing. Pour some of the fizzy drink into a bowl and submerge your silver items into it, checking on it regularly. After a few minutes, rinse the item with warm water and carefully dry with a soft cloth.

READ: How to descale a kettle and remove limescale

Does toothpaste clean silver?

Toothpaste can be another surprising home remedy for cleaning silverware. Apply a non-gel and non-abrasive toothpaste to a soft cloth and rub into the silver, then leave for five minutes before rinsing off and using another cloth to dry.

A toothbrush cleaning tarnished silver cutlery© iStock
Toothpaste can be used to clean silver

How do you clean silver that has turned black?

If your items are so badly tarnished they have turned black, another simple home remedy using tin foil, baking soda and hot water can be surprisingly effective, and will remove tarnishing without being abrasive or risking removing any of the underlying metal.

You will need:

  • Your tarnished silver
  • Aluminium foil
  • Baking soda
  • Hot water
  • A container big enough for the silverware


  1. Wrap the silver item in tin foil.
  2. Add a couple of tablespoons of baking soda to hot water in the container.
  3. Place the foil-covered silverware to the hot water and baking soda solution, and leave to soak.
  4. Check periodically to see if the tarnish is gone, and keep soaking until the item is clean, topping up with more hot water as required.
  5. Remove the item from the water and unwrap the foil – you should see that the tarnishing has transferred from the silverware to the foil. 
  6. Wash and rinse the silver, and dry with a soft cloth.

How to stop silver tarnishing

Often, silver tarnishes due to not being stored correctly. Although it's almost impossible to prevent some tarnishing over time, you can slow the process down by cleaning silverware and jewellery after every use, and store items carefully to prevent air exposure.

This could include wrapping silver cutlery and plates in acid-free tissue paper or specialist silver cloth in a closed drawer or cupboard, or storing individual pieces of jewellery in sealed plastic bags.

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