How to Clean Silver-Plated Items

Updated February 21, 2017

Silver-plated flatware, trays or tea sets can be functional heirlooms but grime and discolouration can tarnish silver fast. To keep your silver-plated items looking their best, you will need to clean and polish them whenever you see signs of tarnish. The process may seem arduous but it isn't difficult and your silver will look a lot better when you're finished.

Rinse your silver-plated items under warm or hot water to remove dust and dirt from the surface. If you encounter stubborn bits of dust, try to loosen them with a soft bristle brush.

Dry the items with a cotton cloth, checking for tarnish and soiled spots. Check for any natural nicks or imperfections in your silver-plated items. Once all of your silver items have been rinsed and dried, you can apply silver polish.

Dip a clean rag in silver polish and apply a base coat to the entire item. Rub the rag along the surface of the silver-plated item once the base coat is on. Work either in a back-and-forth or a circular motion. Check all angles, sides and handles to make sure you haven't missed any tarnish. Once you're satisfied, set the item aside and move on to your next piece; do this until all items have been polished.

Rinse the polished silver under warm water. Once all the pieces have been rinsed, wash them with warm soapy water. Provide a final rinse to remove the soap.

Dry your silver-plated items with a clean cotton towel and buff.


Acidic food and salt can stain silver-plated items. Items placed on display will tarnish faster than items stored in protective cloth bags.

Things You'll Need

  • Dish soap
  • Soft bristle brush
  • Cotton cloth
  • Clean rag
  • Silver polish
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