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How to Easily Clean Sterling Silver With Tarn-X

I've been using CLR for many years now and I truly love all of their products.

Silver plated candle stick holders.

Silver plated candle stick holders.

Cleaning and Polishing Sterling Silver

Do you find that you tend not to use your silver flatware because it's too much of a chore to clean and polish it? Is it sitting in a box or drawer hidden away in your china cabinet?

I remember watching my grandmother spend hours cleaning and polishing her silverware, silver candlestick holders, and silver teapot set. It looked like such a time-consuming and tedious job.

When my mother was getting married, the people she worked with at Gillette's gave her a set of Rogers Silver Flatware, which was later passed down to me. When I first got married, I would use the silverware on special occasions and at holiday time. Over the years, I used it less and less because it was a pain to clean and polish.

Recently, I discovered a product that people have been using for years called Tarn-X. This product is made by the same people at JELMAR that make CLR. Tarn-X is easy to use, works quickly, and, as you can see in the first picture of this article, it produces great results. This knife took less than four minutes to clean. Compared to products I've used in the past, I found this amazing.

What Is Tarnish?

Wikipedia states the following:

"Tarnish is a thin layer of corrosion that forms over copper, brass, silver, aluminum, and other similar metals as their outermost layer undergoes a chemical reaction. Tarnish does not always result from the sole effects of oxygen in the air. For example, silver needs hydrogen sulfide to tarnish; it does not tarnish with only oxygen. It often appears as a dull, gray or black film or coating over metal. Tarnish is a surface phenomenon, that is self-limiting unlike rust. Only the top few layers of the metal react, and the layer of tarnish seals and protects the underlying layers from reacting."

Tarn-X Tarnish Remover

Tarn-X will remove tarnish from the following:What not to use Tarn-X on:












Porous Stones

How to Use Tarn-X

Materials You Will Need:

  • Tarn-X
  • Soft cloth or cotton ball
  • Clean soft cloth for drying
  • Rubber gloves

Steps to Clean Silver:

  1. In warm soapy water, wash, rinse and dry items that you want to clean.
  2. Apply a small amount of Tarn-X on a soft cloth or cotton ball. Rub onto the tarnished area of the object you are cleaning.
  3. Rinse well under cold water and dry with a clean soft cloth. Do not leave the solution on for more than two minutes.
  4. If heavily tarnished, you may need to apply three or four times following the above steps.
  5. When using this product be sure to wear rubber gloves.

Before Using Tarn-X

This plate is quite old and quite tarnished. This is the shot before using Tarn-X.

This plate is quite old and quite tarnished. This is the shot before using Tarn-X.

Decorative Plate After Using Tarn-X

This is after using the Tarn-X twice

This is after using the Tarn-X twice


Jelmar, owned and operated by the Gutterman family, first started making and selling Tarn-X in the late 1960s. Tarn-X is the number one selling metal cleaner in the United States.

In the 1980s, CLR was introduced onto the market. This is a product that removes calcium, lime, and rust. They struggled on what to name this product and went with what the product does.

Other fantastic products from Jelmar include:

  • Tarn-X Silver Polish
  • Tarn-X Jewelry Cleaner
  • Outdoor Furniture Cleaner
  • CLR Grease Magnet
  • CLR Power Plumber
  • CLR Bath & Kitchen Cleaner
  • CLR Stainless Steel Cleaner
  • CLR Stone Cleaner
  • CLR Septic Treatment and Drain Care

If You've Used Tarn-X, Please Rate This Product

Silver Flatware

Questions & Answers

Question: Can you use Tarnr-x on a silver and marcasite ring?

Answer: Place aluminum foil on your pan.

Keep sterling silver gemstone jewelry on the foil.

Pour boiling hot water into the pan through the foil.

Add baking soda and salt to the sterling silver gemstone jewelry.

Stir the solids.

Wash off after 10 minutes.

I would not use Tarn-X on your ring.


Susan Zutautas (author) from Ontario, Canada on June 05, 2019:

If Tarn-X is left on too long and is allowed to dry, it may discolor. Silver may turn golden, cloudy or dark gray. To remove the discoloration, fill a small bowl with 1/2 warm water, 1/2 Tarn-X and two drops of dish soap (Palmolive, Joy, etc.). With a soft clean cloth, wash the item with the mixture and rinse with cold clean water immediately. Dry the item off with a soft clean cloth. As a final step, apply a silver polish, to protect the item. This should restore your piece to its original condition. For large items, make sure you clean about 1/3 of the item at a time.

Greg Nelson on June 04, 2019:

I left a .925 bracelet in Tarnex for hours and now it has a white film on it. Any idea how to remove the film?

Susan Zutautas (author) from Ontario, Canada on December 12, 2018:

Dot, a good rubbing with a soft cloth should bring back the shine.

Dot Emmer on December 11, 2018:

I followed the instructions for cleaning 3 silver plate cups, but there is a white film left on them, How do I get rid of that?

Susan Zutautas (author) from Ontario, Canada on December 08, 2013:

I'm getting ready to clean my silver for Christmas and am so happy I have Tarn-X.

Dianna Mendez on December 07, 2013:

I just used my silver at Thanksgiving and had to clean them before using for dinner. My current polish left some spots so I am going to try this Tarn-X product next time I need to polish. Thanks for the valuable information.

Susan Zutautas (author) from Ontario, Canada on December 02, 2012:

sg, That's funny because I used to clean pennies with a polish that my grandparents had. I know for sure it wasn't Tarn-X but I do remember it coming in a tin can with a spout.

Thanks so much and glad that you like the review.

Sheila Brown from Southern Oklahoma on November 30, 2012:

Another great review hub. I hope you got to use this for the contest too. I have used Tarn-x for years too. It's great for cleaning copper and silver. I remember when my mom discovered Tarn-x and I spent all day cleaning pennies! I thought it was so cool! LOL Voted up and useful. :)

Susan Zutautas (author) from Ontario, Canada on November 24, 2012:

Hi Linda, I would love to find a silver cleaner that would keep the silver polished and new looking permanently.

Susan Zutautas (author) from Ontario, Canada on November 24, 2012:

Hi Denise, So glad you found this hub review on Tarn-X and thanks so much for the votes. Happy Thanksgiving!

LindaSmith1 from USA on November 23, 2012:

Tarn-x was around when I was a kid. It worked, but temporarily. The silver would turn again.

Denise Handlon from North Carolina on November 23, 2012:

I had to read this one, Susan. I just watched a commercial about this product recently and was amazed with the results, and curious if it was true or fabricated via special effects. Thanks for bearing the truth here.

The table and photos were very helpful as well. Rated up/U/A/I

Susan Zutautas (author) from Ontario, Canada on November 15, 2012:

RH, Jelmar actually has a jewelry cleaner called Tarn-X Jewelry Cleaner. I've never tried it myself but from what I've read it sounds like it does the job.

Susan Zutautas (author) from Ontario, Canada on November 15, 2012:

Barb, This will be the first year in many that I set my Christmas table with silverware :). Thanks so much!

Kelly Umphenour from St. Louis, MO on November 15, 2012:

I do rarely use my silver because it has to be cleaned every time and takes forever!

I have a couple silver bracelets and necklaces that need a good cleaning so I was glad to see they have that!

b. Malin on November 14, 2012:

Hi Susan, Timely Hub, for this time of year, Holidays. People dread doing the Polishing... your Hub takes the worry out of it. Very Good Helpful Hints and Instructions. Great Step by Step Directions and nice pictures too.

Susan Zutautas (author) from Ontario, Canada on November 06, 2012:

Brenda, Thanks so much!

Brenda Barnes from America-Broken But Still Beautiful on November 06, 2012:

Thanks for the information Susan. I don't have silver to polish but enjoy learning about anything and everything. I can always count on you to have interesting and useful Hubs that are well laid out. I always love your photography too.

Susan Zutautas (author) from Ontario, Canada on November 04, 2012:

drbj, I like any product that makes my life a bit easier :)

Susan Zutautas (author) from Ontario, Canada on November 04, 2012:

Steph, Thanks for letting me know that you use Tarn-X and like it. Nice to see you :)

Susan Zutautas (author) from Ontario, Canada on November 04, 2012:

Ruby, I stopped using mine too but now that I see how easy it is to clean with Tarn-X I'll be using it more.

Susan Zutautas (author) from Ontario, Canada on November 04, 2012:

Nancy, I've only been using the product for a short while so I'm not really sure. I did do research on the product before using it and didn't find anything saying that it would damage the silver.

drbj and sherry from south Florida on November 03, 2012:

I've never tried Tarn-X before, Susan, but with this glowing recommendation you know I will have to give it a go.

Stephanie Marshall from Bend, Oregon on November 03, 2012:

A great hub about a super product! I hate cleaning sterling silver, as well, but we use and love Tarn-X. Rated up! Best, Steph

Ruby Jean Richert from Southern Illinois on November 03, 2012:

I no longer use silverware because of the cleaning. I have some silver jewelry that i clean with Wright's silver cream, it's getting old and has hardened some, so i will try the Tarn-X. Thank you..

Nancy McClintock from Southeast USA on November 03, 2012:

I like using this product but wonder if it is damaging my silver by taking some of the original silver off.. Let me know what you think. Voted up.

Susan Zutautas (author) from Ontario, Canada on November 03, 2012:

Mhatter, I've never used that method. I'll have to look into that.

Susan Zutautas (author) from Ontario, Canada on November 03, 2012:

Paula, Exactly why I didn't use my silver place setting for years. Since the Tarn-X works much faster than the stuff I used to use I'll more than likely use the silver at Christmas and Easter. I could never part with mine ... too much sentimental value.

Thanks for stopping by and have a nice weekend.

Martin Kloess from San Francisco on November 02, 2012:

Good product review, thank you. I use the aluminum foil and baking soda technique I learned in Biology.

Susan Zutautas (author) from Ontario, Canada on November 02, 2012:

Pamela, I'll have to try that on some jewelry ..... thanks.

Susan Zutautas (author) from Ontario, Canada on November 02, 2012:

Ruchira, Some of the items I used this on had very old and built up tarnish. Not sure if the vinegar would have worked. Thanks for stopping by.

Susan Zutautas (author) from Ontario, Canada on November 02, 2012:

Carol, I haven't tried it on jewelry yet. Let me know how it works out for you and thanks for vote.

Suzie from Carson City on November 02, 2012:

Hello Miss Susan...I love sterling silver...but of course the tarnishing is a pain....I have used tarn-x and it's great stuff. I also have a silver polish that I like a lot......and if all else fails.....Toothpaste works beautifully! I have a lot of sterling silver jewelry because I was a "Silpada" rep for a while and I have all my left over stock.....and I also love jewelry.

I had a Sterling Silver place setting for 12 ,ever since I was a new bride, about a hundred years ago...and I finally SOLD it. If I'm having a formal dinner, I do not want to spend a whole and polishing silver forks and spoons!(My home is not Buckingham palace)..... yes, as you know, it will even tarnish in a wooden case!....UP+++

Pamela Sarzana from northern Indiana on November 02, 2012:

I think you can also soak silver in tomato juice to remove the stains, I have done this with some sterling silver earrings I have and it worked great.

Ruchira from United States on November 02, 2012:

great reviw, susan.

i usually use white vinegar to clean my silver ware. but, thanks for the option.

carol stanley from Arizona on November 02, 2012:

This looks like a good product. I was just looking at a sterling silver necklace and noticed how tarnished it was. I think I will try this. Voted UP.