Here is a selection of some weird and wonderful methods of cleaning silver, keeping it shiny and looking its best. Many of them involve raiding your kitchen larder! As always, if you have a rare and valuable item, proceed with great care and caution. Our best recommendation is to keep it well polished using a tub of Silvo, but you may be intrigued by these surprising suggestions that we have come across…
Unusual tips for cleaning silver
- For small items that can fit in a saucepan, bring 1 litre of water the boil in a pan. Add one tablespoon of baking soda and one piece of aluminum foil. Drop your silverware in the pot for 10 seconds (longer if it’s very tarnished), then remove using kitchen tongs. The tarnish will attach itself to the foil and leave your silver clean and shining. Polish dry.
- For heavily tarnished areas, make a thick paste with 1/4 cup baking soda and two tablespoons of water. Apply with a damp sponge, then rinse and polish dry.
- Another unusual way to tackle tarnish is to use tomato ketchup! Apply with a paper towel over the tarnished areas, leaving the ketchup on the silverware for up to fifteen minutes. Rub with a cloth, then rinse clean and polish dry. A soft toothbrush can be a great way to work the ketchup into fancy embellishment, and then use a clean toothbrush to remove it afterwards.
- Use aluminium foil to line a bowl that is big enough to take your silverware and fill it with hot water. Dissolve one tablespoon of laundry detergent powder, then leave your silver to soak for one minute. Rinse with clean water and polish dry. (For very large bowls, add more powder).
- For delicate items, make up a paste of cornflour and water. Use a damp cloth to apply it to the silverware than towel off, rubbing carefully as you do so. Cream of tartar also works well as an alternative.
- Hand sanitiser gel has become very popular recently and it also doubles up as a silverware cleaner. Just apply with a soft cloth and gently rub the tarnish away. You’ll know that your silver is hygienically clean as well as shiny!
- A lemon-lime fizzy drink is another unlikely way to rid yourself of tarnish. Allow items to soak for up to an hour before rinsing and patting dry. This is best for small pieces, unless you have a lot of spare soft drinks after a party.
- Raiding the bathroom cabinet now, instead of the kitchen, try toothpaste rubbed on your silver and then rinse and polish off all traces.
- You wouldn’t want to drink it but a solution of 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, 1 1/2 cups water, and 1/2 cup of instant dry milk can be used as an overnight soak for your silverware, to bring back the sparkle
- To stop your silver tarnishing in the first place, keep a few pieces of chalk alongside the place where you store or display it. By absorbing the moisture in the air, the tarnishing process is prevented.
Remember, precious silver deserves careful cleaning and treatment, and if in doubt, stick to tried and tested methods.
Feel free to share any “before and after” photos, so we can see the results.