How to Easily Clean Sterling Silver With Tarn-X

Updated on December 2, 2017

Cleaning and Polishing 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.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Rogers flatware before and after using Tarn-XRogers Silver Flatware that is approximately 57 years old.
Rogers flatware before and after using Tarn-X
Rogers flatware before and after using Tarn-X | Source
Rogers Silver Flatware that is approximately 57 years old.
Rogers Silver Flatware that is approximately 57 years old. | Source

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
Silver
Chrome
Silver-Plate
Pewter
Platinum
Aluminum
Copper
Brass
Gold
Pearls
Diamonds
Porous Stones

Jelmar

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

How to Use Tarn-X

  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 tarnished area of 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.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Tarn-X and a soft cloth along with water is all you need to make your silverware shine!Apply the Tarn-X onto the washed and dried item. You only need a dab.This is what the spoon looked like after using the first application. Please note that these spoons have not been cleaned in 45 years.Used a second application to remove more or the black tarnish.
Tarn-X and a soft cloth along with water is all you need to make your silverware shine!
Tarn-X and a soft cloth along with water is all you need to make your silverware shine!
Apply the Tarn-X onto the washed and dried item. You only need a dab.
Apply the Tarn-X onto the washed and dried item. You only need a dab.
This is what the spoon looked like after using the first application. Please note that these spoons have not been cleaned in 45 years.
This is what the spoon looked like after using the first application. Please note that these spoons have not been cleaned in 45 years.
Used a second application to remove more or the black tarnish.
Used a second application to remove more or the black tarnish.

Silver Flatware

Do you use your silver flatware?

See results
Silver plated candle stick holders.
Silver plated candle stick holders. | Source

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. | Source

Decorative Plate After Using Tarn-X

This is after using the Tarn-X twice
This is after using the Tarn-X twice | Source

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

3.8 out of 5 stars from 12 ratings of Tarn-X Tarnish Remover

Questions & Answers

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      • Just Ask Susan profile imageAUTHOR

        Susan Zutautas 

        2 days ago from Ontario, Canada

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

      • profile image

        Dot Emmer 

        3 days ago

        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?

      • Just Ask Susan profile imageAUTHOR

        Susan Zutautas 

        5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

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

      • teaches12345 profile image

        Dianna Mendez 

        5 years ago

        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.

      • Just Ask Susan profile imageAUTHOR

        Susan Zutautas 

        6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

        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.

      • sgbrown profile image

        Sheila Brown 

        6 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

        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. :)

      • Just Ask Susan profile imageAUTHOR

        Susan Zutautas 

        6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

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

      • Just Ask Susan profile imageAUTHOR

        Susan Zutautas 

        6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

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

      • LindaSmith1 profile image

        LindaSmith1 

        6 years ago from USA

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

      • Denise Handlon profile image

        Denise Handlon 

        6 years ago from North Carolina

        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

      • Just Ask Susan profile imageAUTHOR

        Susan Zutautas 

        6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

        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.

      • Just Ask Susan profile imageAUTHOR

        Susan Zutautas 

        6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

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

      • RealHousewife profile image

        Kelly Umphenour 

        6 years ago from St. Louis, MO

        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 profile image

        b. Malin 

        6 years ago

        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.

      • Just Ask Susan profile imageAUTHOR

        Susan Zutautas 

        6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

        Brenda, Thanks so much!

      • Hyphenbird profile image

        Brenda Barnes 

        6 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

        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.

      • Just Ask Susan profile imageAUTHOR

        Susan Zutautas 

        6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

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

      • Just Ask Susan profile imageAUTHOR

        Susan Zutautas 

        6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

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

      • Just Ask Susan profile imageAUTHOR

        Susan Zutautas 

        6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

        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.

      • Just Ask Susan profile imageAUTHOR

        Susan Zutautas 

        6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

        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 profile image

        drbj and sherry 

        6 years ago from south Florida

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

      • stephhicks68 profile image

        Stephanie Hicks 

        6 years ago from Bend, Oregon

        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

      • always exploring profile image

        Ruby Jean Richert 

        6 years ago from Southern Illinois

        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..

      • nancynurse profile image

        Nancy McClintock 

        6 years ago from Southeast USA

        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.

      • Just Ask Susan profile imageAUTHOR

        Susan Zutautas 

        6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

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

      • Just Ask Susan profile imageAUTHOR

        Susan Zutautas 

        6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

        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.

      • Mhatter99 profile image

        Martin Kloess 

        6 years ago from San Francisco

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

      • Just Ask Susan profile imageAUTHOR

        Susan Zutautas 

        6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

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

      • Just Ask Susan profile imageAUTHOR

        Susan Zutautas 

        6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

        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.

      • Just Ask Susan profile imageAUTHOR

        Susan Zutautas 

        6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

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

      • fpherj48 profile image

        Paula 

        6 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

        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 day...cleaning 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 profile image

        Pamela Sarzana 

        6 years ago from northern Indiana

        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 profile image

        Ruchira 

        6 years ago from United States

        great reviw, susan.

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

      • carol7777 profile image

        carol stanley 

        6 years ago from Arizona

        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.

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