How to Clean Silver With Home Products

When your silver starts to tarnish, you can go out and buy silver cleaner at the store. But you'll get the same--or better--results using household products. Plain old toothpaste does a great job, and so does baking soda, either as a paste or in a soaking solution. To tackle really tough tarnish, heat up the baking soda solution before you drop in your silver.

  1. Get out a tube of white toothpaste. Dampen your piece of silver with water. Using your finger, a sponge or a soft toothbrush, rub the toothpaste onto the silver. Rinse off with warm water, and dry well with a cloth.

  2. Make a paste of baking soda and water to clean bigger silver pieces. Follow the directions for using the toothpaste. If the silver is very tarnished, leave the mixture on for 20 to 30 minutes before rinsing.

  3. Soak badly tarnished silver pieces in a solution of baking soda and water (about a teaspoon of baking soda for each cup of water). Let sit for 5 to 10 minutes, rinse and dry.

  4. Heat things up for maximum effectiveness. Simmer water or use very hot tap water. Add baking soda and a piece of aluminum foil. Put in your silver pieces, let sit, rinse and dry.


  • To clean silver, don't use toothpaste containing silica--it can scratch. (Silica is used as a whitening ingredient.)

About the Author

Barbara Dunlap is a freelance writer in Oregon. She was a garden editor at "The San Francisco Chronicle" and she currently specializes in travel and active lifestyle topics like golf and fitness. She received a master's degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia and has been a Knight Foundation Fellow.