How to Clean Silver: 12 Weird Tricks That Really Work

Make your tarnished silver and dull jewelry shine like new after a cleaning with these common household items.

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How to clean silver - ketchup
Photo: Leestudio /

How to clean silver with ketchup

If your silver is tarnished, ketchup can help. Squirt a small amount on a paper towel, and rub gently over the tarnished areas. If your silver isn’t getting shinier, let the ketchup sit for 15 minutes, then rub with a soft cloth and rinse clean. For items that have textured details, use a toothbrush to clean between the crevices.

Note: These silver-cleaning hacks are not recommended for antique silver. Specialty silver cleaner is better suited for your more valuable vintage pieces.

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Aluminum foil can clean silver
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Aluminum foil

Tarnished silver is no match for this aluminum foil “recipe.” Bring one litre of water, one tablespoon of baking soda and one piece of aluminum foil to a boil. Drop silverware in the pot for 10 seconds (longer if it’s very tarnished), then remove using kitchen tongs. Magic! If built-up tarnish persists, make a thick paste with ¼ cup baking soda and two tablespoons of water. Apply with a damp sponge, then rinse and dry.

Here are more aluminum foil hacks that’ll save you time, money and effort.

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Powdered laundry detergent
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Laundry detergent

To make your jewelry or silverware sparkle, line a medium-sized bowl with aluminum foil and fill it with hot water. Mix in one tablespoon of powdered laundry detergent, then soak your silver for one minute. Rinse with clean water, and air-dry.

Check out more vintage home hacks you’ll want to try today.

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Multi-coloured chalk
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Silverware will stay shiny if you keep a few pieces of chalk in the drawer or chest where you store it. The chalk absorbs moisture, preventing your nice utensils from tarnishing.

Here’s the secret ingredient you should be adding to your dishwasher.

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Photo: Shutterstock


A paste of cornstarch and water will make silver look new again. Apply with a damp cloth, let dry, then rub off with something mildly abrasive, like cheesecloth or a rough towel. Tip: You can substitute cream of tartar if you’re out of cornstarch.

Read on to discover 20 more amazing uses for cornstarch.

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Lemon-lime soda
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Lemon-lime soda

Recapture shine by dunking your silver items in a bowl of lemon-lime soda for one hour. Rinse and dry thoroughly.

Find out more dollar store solutions for life’s little dilemmas.

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How to clean silver - toothpaste
Photo: Tasha Cherkasova /


Squeeze a small amount of non-gel, non-abrasive toothpaste on a rag and polish your silver, then rinse—and admire the shine!

Learn 20 more ways to use toothpaste all around the house.

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How to clean silver - window cleaner
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Window cleaner

Spray window cleaner on a rag or old toothbrush, and use it to gently scrub your sterling silver. You should be able to restore the piece to its original shiny state.

Find out the secret ingredient that whitens laundry (without bleach).

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Woman using hair conditioner
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Hair conditioner

If you want to prevent tarnish, try rubbing hair conditioner on clean silver.

Discover 25 cleaning hacks for stubborn messes.

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Cleaning products
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Brighten silver trinkets by soaking them for 10 minutes in a solution of one cup warm water and ½ cup clear ammonia. Gently wipe clean and dry.

Here are 20 more uses for ammonia around the house.

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Vinegar in clear bottle
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Return lustre and shine to your silverware and jewelry by soaking it in ½ cup white vinegar mixed with 2 tablespoons of baking soda for two to three hours. Rinse under cold water, and dry thoroughly.

Check out 30 nearly-forgotten house cleaning tips from the past.

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Lemon juice and slices
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Lemon juice

Your silver will sparkle after soaking overnight in a mixture of 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, 1½ cups water, and ½ cup of instant dry milk.

Now that you know how to clean silver, find out how to clean absolutely everything in your kitchen, according to Charles the Butler of CTV’s The Marilyn Denis Show.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published on Reader's Digest

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