How to Remove Tarnish from Silver

Are you looking for easy and safe ways to remove tarnish from silver? If yes, read the following article which provides a step wise guide on removing tarnish from silver jewelry and silverware.
Whenever my favorite piece of silver jewelry used to get tarnished, I used to reach out for a silver polish and start cleaning the jewelry piece with it. I used to rub the silver polish over the jewelry and then clean it with a cloth. I used to repeat this procedure at least twenty five times, before any favorable results would appear. But overtime I observed that my silver jewelry is losing its luster. When I asked a friend of mine about it, who by the way runs a small jewelry business, he told me that regular usage of silver polish actually erodes the silver, thus making it lackluster. He also told me that when we rub to remove tarnish from silver, post the application of silver polish, the black thing that appears on the towel is actually silver! I was shocked when I heard it.

Since I had quite a lot of silver jewelry and kitchen silverware, I began to research on different ways of silver jewelry cleaning as well as ways to get rid of tarnish from silverware. If you too are a lover of silver items, then here is a simple procedure to clean tarnish from silver.


In order to remove tarnish from silver jewelry, baking soda is ideal. This is because baking soda helps in removing the tarnish even from the most intricate of jewelry designs. Here is a step wise guide on the same.
  • Take an aluminum pan and fill it with water.
  • Add a pinch of salt to it and let it boil.
  • When the water boils, remove the pan from the stove and put the silver items in it.
  • Now add baking soda to the water. The measure of baking soda to water should be one teaspoon of baking soda per one cup of water.
  • Let the silver remain in this mixture for about fifteen minutes. The mixture will produce a fizz and the smell of sulfur.
  • After fifteen minutes, remove the silver jewelry or the silver item that you have put, from this mixture.
  • Wash the silver with plain water and clean it with a towel.
  • Most of the tarnish will be removed. However, if you see that tarnish is still there, you may repeat the entire procedure a second time to get rid of it.
Ways to Prevent Silver from Tarnishing

Follow the above mentioned method along with the following precautionary measures to prevent silver from tarnishing.

Firstly, silver items including silver plates and silver jewelry can get tarnished by air, salt, sulfur, rubber and foods which contain sulfur (in case of silver plates). So in order to prevent your silver plates from getting tarnished, immediately wash the silver plate, post eating. The longer food stays on the silver plate, the more it will be tarnished. If for some reason it cannot be washed immediately, just rinse it with water once to prevent tarnishing.

Secondly, while storing silver plates, make sure that the chest in which they are being stored is covered with a woolen fabric as wool is anti-tarnishing. Or alternately, you may use air tight bags to store the silver plates. In case of silver jewelry too, air tight bags should be used to keep the jewelry as jewelry can get tarnished if it remains in contact with air for a very long time.

Thirdly, while cleaning the silver plates, make sure that they are not kept in water for a very long time. Immediately dry them with a cloth post washing. Also, if possible, wash the silverware with hands instead of washing it in a dishwasher as the heat and the detergent present in a dishwasher may tarnish it even more.

In order to maintain silver items for a very long time, follow the above mentioned precautions, besides cleaning them every three months.
By Aastha Dogra
Last Updated: 9/30/2011
Bouquets and Brickbats