How to Clean Silver without Chemicals

Little affects the beauty of silver jewelry, tea sets, flatware or antiques more than a layer of murky tarnish that obscures the shine and fine detail.

If you clean your silver often, however, you may be concerned with the effects of cleaning solution on the silver finish, your health or the environment. By finding ways to clean silver without chemicals, you can restore your silver's good looks without naturally and easily. Consider these methods to clean silver without chemicals. .

Clean silver without chemicals by buffing it with a paste created with baking soda and water. (Simply pour baking soda into a small bowl and stir in drops of water until a thick paste forms.) Once the tarnish is gone, rinse the piece of silver to remove all traces of the paste, dry the item and then restore shine by wiping with a soft jewelry cleaning cloth.

Try coating the flatware or silver bowl with toothpaste (plain, white toothpastes work better than gel form). Apply a little warm water to the item and rub the toothpaste until it begins to foam slightly. Once again, rinse the piece well and buff the silver dry with a soft cloth. You can also allow the foamy toothpaste to sit on the silver for a few minutes to help remove stubborn stains.

Consider soaking tarnished silver with lemon juice to serve as a makeshift silver cleaner. Once the original shine begins to appear, rinse the item with warm water and wipe dry with a cloth.

Purchase a jewelry steam cleaner to remove tarnish and other build up from silver jewelry or small silver objects. Silver cleaner units such as the Jewel Jet, the Blitz Professional Jewelry Steam Cleaner or the GemOro Brilliant Spa Steam Jewelry Cleaner simply use tap water to create high-pressure steam to clean silver. Similarly, ultrasonic cleaners use tap water and ultrasonic energy waves to clean silver jewelry.


  • If you're using a jewelry steam cleaner to remove tarnish from silver pieces, be sure to hold smaller items with tongs to ensure you don't burn your fingertips.
  • If you want to wear gloves while you clean silver without chemicals, ensure they're cotton gloves since rubber can actually hasten future tarnishing.