Cleaning Guides

How to Clean Silver Cutlery

Silver cutlery is a nice touch to any dinner table, which is why it’s sad when it eventually becomes tarnished. Although there’s nothing you can do to stop it, there are plenty of ways to clean it. So, if

  • Over the last few months, your silver cutlery has blackened significantly.
  • You have a dinner party coming up, and your silver utensils are grimy.
  • You want to try some eco-friendly cleaning methods, but wonder how much of each ingredient you need.

Then read along, as it is time you learned how to clean your tarnished silver cutlery.

Table of Contents:

Why does silver cutlery go black?

Even if you hardly ever use your silver utensils, you will still notice how they lose their shine and become darker over time. The reason is a chemical reaction between the silver and sulphur in the air. When it comes to jewellery, manufacturers try to combat the chemical reaction by putting a thin layer of rhodium over the items. It still wears off eventually, though, but at least it slows down the reaction.

Never use rubber gloves when cleaning your silver cutlery or any silver object for that matter. Rubber corrodes silver. Instead, use cotton or plastic gloves. This also applies to containers or cabinets where you keep cutlery. They must not have rubber seals or bands in them.

The market is full of all kinds of commercial cleaning products. However, you can clean your silver cutlery just as well with these eco-friendly means:

How to clean silver cutlery with baking soda and aluminium foil

This method is really good when you have a lot of silver items to clean. Mind you, cleaning tarnished silverware with baking soda and aluminium foil does not smell good, so consider doing it in a well-ventilated room.

  1. Clean the silver utensils from any dust or food particles. Do not use the dishwasher or any abrasive sponges. Silver scratches very easily.
  2. Find a clean metal container. You can use your sink, but you will have to clean it beforehand so that no food leftovers would stick to your silver.
  3. Cover the container bottom with aluminium foil. Make the shiny side up. The foil needs to cover most of the bottom surface, but not necessarily the entirety of it.
  4. Place every silver item on the bottom. Each item needs to touch the foil surface.
  5. Fill the container with boiling water. Do it slowly so it wouldn’t splash and hurt your skin. Pour water until every silver object is submerged.
  6. Put baking soda into the water. Use about a quarter cup of baking soda for every 4 cups of water.
  7. Wait several minutes until the foaming effect does its job.
  8. Use tongs to grab and inspect each utensil.
  9. Dry and buff them in soft dishcloths.
  10. Wait for the water to cool down before disposing of it.

Your silver cutlery should now look shiny and the tarnished spots should have disappeared. If not, or not entirely, redo the whole process.As a last resort, make a paste by combining 1/4 cup baking soda with two tablespoons of water. After applying it to your silver cutlery, rinse and dry.

You may also like:
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How to Clean Aluminium

How to clean silver cutlery with vinegar

White distilled vinegar can clean lightly tarnished silver utensils.

  1. Pour the vinegar into a clean container.
  2. Put the silver items inside until they’re completely submerged.
  3. Wait about 15 minutes.
  4. Rinse under warm water.
  5. Dry cutlery in a soft cloth.

If distilled vinegar alone isn’t enough to give the shine back to your utensils, add 4 tablespoons of baking soda to the mix and wait 2 to 3 hours.

Learn what cleaning solutions we offer by visiting our webpage.

How to clean silverware with toothpaste

Who would have thought toothpaste can also be used on silver spoons and forks? Use this ingredient when you have a small number of items to clean. Otherwise, you might spend hours scrubbing.

  1. Rub toothpaste on the silver item you want to make shiny.
  2. Scrub gently with a  toothbrush. Be careful, though, as silver is very easily scratched.
  3. Rinse the silverware under warm water.
  4. Wipe and dry with a microfiber cloth.

How to clean silverware with ketchup

Yes, even ketchup can help clean your silverware and here is how:

  1. Squirt a small amount of ketchup on a paper towel
  2. Rub gently the tarnished item
  3. Keep the ketchup for about 15 minutes, in case the tarnish doesn’t disappear right away or is very old
  4. Use a toothbrush in case your items have crevices.
  5. Rub with a soft microfiber cloth.

How to store silver cutlery properly

If you only want to give your silver cutlery a quick polish, instead of major cleaning, every time you get them out of the cupboard, then you must learn how to store them properly.

Items must not touch each other – silver is a soft metal, it bends and scratches easily. That’s why you shouldn’t stack the items one on top of the other. For this purpose, a flatware chest would prove to be a worthwhile investment.

Silverware must be away from heat and humidity – these two factories can seriously tarnish your silverware, for that reason, basements or attics are entirely out of the question. The best place for storage is in a drawer or a china cabinet. Besides, your utensils would be much easier to reach that way.

Silver utensils must not be individually wrapped in the following materials:

  • Newspaper – the ink is acidic and can harm the silver
  • Plastic bags – they can trap moisture within
  • Rubber bands – don’t wrap sets of utensils, because, as mentioned earlier, rubber will tarnish the silver

So, what kind of materials can you use for silver objects? Flannel cloth. This kind of cloth has been treated with silver nitrate, which slows down the process of tarnishing. Bags or boxes lined with this material will be perfect for your silver items.

Call professionals

If you find this or any other cleaning task a burden and instead spend your time on something else, then consider hiring professionals. Fantastic Services works with cleaners in London, who are very experienced and always bring their own equipment. Your silver utensils will be cleaned in no time.

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  • You can clean silverware by using baking soda, hot water and aluminium foil.
  • You can use white distilled vinegar in a container with a laid aluminium foil bottom layer.
  • Ketchup and toothpaste can also be used to remove tarnish.
  • Store your silverware properly to minimise tarnish.

Image Source: Shutterstock / Seksun Guntanid


Is your silver cutlery tarnished? What method did you use to give it back its shine? Let us know by leaving a comment!

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