Between its luster, its brilliance, and its versatility, it’s easy to see why silver is one of the most popular materials for jewelry.

Still, many of us find ourselves neglecting all the beautiful silver pieces in our jewelry boxes for one simple, annoying reason: tarnish.  When oxygen or sulfur come in contact with silver, they chemically bond to its surface and cause the silver to appear dirty or discolored.

However, you don’t have to be a professional or use expensive tools to clean your silver yourself. With this ultimate guide, you’ll leave ready to start wearing your fabulous silver again with all its shine!

Aluminum foil

  • Bring one liter 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.
  • If built-up tarnish persists, make a thick paste with 1/4 cup baking soda and two tablespoons of water. Apply with a damp sponge, then rinse and dry.


  • 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, as with some candlesticks or fancy silverware, use a toothbrush to clean between the crevices.

Hand sanitizer

Hand sanitizer not only fights germs, but it’s a great silver polish.

  •  Squirt a few drops on a soft cloth and rub away the tarnish.

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.

Corn starch

A paste of corn starch 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 corn starch.


  • Squeeze a small amount of toothpaste on a rag and polish your silver.
  • Then rinse and see how it shines.

Lemon-lime soda

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


  • Soak it in 1/2 cup white vinegar mixed with 2 tablespoons of baking soda for two to three hours.
  • Rinse under cold water, and dry thoroughly.