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How to Polish Silver Easily at Home

Updated on November 16, 2015
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Baking Soda: Cheap, Non-Toxic, and Eco-Friendly

Your silver is tarnished and sad-looking, and you want its beautiful, glowing shine back. There are many silver polishing products available for purchase, but you may want to try baking soda instead for several reasons. Baking soda is much cheaper than most professional silver cleaning products. I got my box from the dollar store. You can find it at almost any grocery market for around 80¢ to $1. Baking soda is non-toxic, safe to ingest, and it does not produce fumes. It's also eco-friendly and biodegradable. It makes a great addition to the cleaning arsenal of any environmentally friendly home!

My tarnished silver tea scoop. I want a cleaning product that won't hurt me if it comes into contact with my tea leaves.
My tarnished silver tea scoop. I want a cleaning product that won't hurt me if it comes into contact with my tea leaves. | Source
I've got my supplies ready.
I've got my supplies ready. | Source

DIY Silver Polish Ingredients:

So, you've decided to try baking soda. Here's what you'll need.

  • Powdered baking soda
  • A small bowl, glass, or other container
  • An old toothbrush and/or a soft washcloth for scrubbing
  • A small amount of warm water

I'm mixing the baking soda with a little bit of warm water.
I'm mixing the baking soda with a little bit of warm water. | Source
Scrub the silver item gently with an old toothbrush or soft cloth.
Scrub the silver item gently with an old toothbrush or soft cloth. | Source

How to Make Your Homemade Silver Polish:

  1. Pour some powdered baking soda into your bowl or container. I used about 1 tbsp for my tea scoop, but you'll need more for larger silver items. (If you come up a little short, don't worry. You can always make more while you clean.)
  2. Add a few drops of warm water at a time to the baking soda and stir until your mixture is the consistency of a thick paste. (Be careful not to add the water too quickly; it's easy to add too much. If your mixture's viscosity is too low, just add more baking soda.)
  3. Apply the paste to your silver item with your old toothbrush and scrub away. You should be able to see the tarnish coming off within minutes. (If you are concerned about scratches to the silver, use a soft cloth to scrub instead. Scrubbing this way will take longer, but it is less likely to damage the silver.)
  4. Rinse your silver item thoroughly and then use a soft sponge to wash it gently with dish soap and warm water. This should remove any excess baking soda.

You can Also Polish Silver with Toothpaste:

There's another way to clean your silver with baking soda that is equally safe, easy, and effective. If you don't have any baking soda at home, or don't want to bother with mixing ingredients, you can also clean silver using the toothpaste method.

DIY Toothpaste Polish Ingredients:

For this method, you'll need only two things.

  • Plain white toothpaste with baking soda
  • An old toothbrush and/or a soft washcloth for scrubbing

Instructions:

Follow steps 3 and 4 using your toothpaste instead of the baking soda/water mixture. Be aware that prolonged skin contact with toothpaste may cause a cold tingly feeling. It isn't harmful or dangerous, but some people find it unpleasant (if you think you might be one of those people, consider using cleaning gloves). The feeling should disappear after a thorough hand washing.

Wash your silver item with dish soap and warm water to remove any remaining baking soda residue.
Wash your silver item with dish soap and warm water to remove any remaining baking soda residue. | Source

Final considerations:

I've used both methods and found the results equally effective and satisfactory, so choose whichever you find more appealing.

Please remember that great care should always be taken with antiques, valuable items, and precious heirlooms. Please consider using a high quality commercial cleaning product or a professional silver cleaning service for such items.

Please also take note that these methods will not repair pitted or excessively tarnished silver items.

Good luck with your cleaning!

The finished product:

My shiny tea scoop after finishing the cleaning process.
My shiny tea scoop after finishing the cleaning process. | Source

Comments

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    • Anon 4 years ago

      Why have I been using all this caustic stuff all this time!?

    • bodylevive profile image

      bodylevive 4 years ago from Loachapoka, Alabama

      Great informative hub. Thanks for sharing. voted up-useful

    • grand old lady profile image

      Mona Sabalones Gonzalez 3 years ago from Philippines

      Thank you for this useful hub. I am gonna try it:)

    • Glenn Stok profile image

      Glenn Stok 2 years ago from Long Island, NY

      I never knew that baking soda can be used to polish silver. I have some silver cups that I never use but I have them stored in the cupboard and they are very tarnished. I'll have to try this method.

    • Nadine May profile image

      Nadine May 19 months ago from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

      Wow that I had never heard off. Many thanks I will try that. Very useful!

    • Robert Sacchi profile image

      Robert Sacchi 5 weeks ago

      Thank you. I'll have to give this a try.

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