Hot water, baking soda and aluminum foil can clean silver. The resulting chemical reaction removes all traces of tarnish.
Warm water and gentle dishwashing liquid can usually clean most silver pieces, but tarnished items require special care. Before attempting to make a homemade silver polish, use a soft cloth to buff the piece. This can often remove light tarnishing and helps preserve the patina, a type of tarnishing in the grooves of a piece that helps emphasize engraved patterns in silver.
However, badly tarnished items may not be able to be restored by hand washing and buffing. To clean badly tarnished or blackened pieces, use the following recipe.
- 1 qt. hot water
- 1 tbsp. baking soda
- 1 sheet aluminum foil
- Line a dish with foil
- Mix the water and baking soda
- Soak the silver
- Polish the silver
Use the foil to line an aluminum-free dish.
Mix the water and baking soda and pour it into the dish.
Soak the silver in the mixture for 30 min.
Use a soft cloth to buff the silver.
Other home remedies for polishing silver include making a paste out of corn starch and water and rubbing it into the silver with a towel or using a small amount of toothpaste to buff the piece.