How to untarnish silver

Updated March 23, 2017

Silver is a precious metal used in certain flatware, coins, jewellery and other ornate items. Exposing silver items to acidic elements and oxygen will cause oxidation. Tarnished silver items will darken without continual cleaning and proper care. Tarnished silver jewellery may also discolour skin and clothing if left unattended. Removing the tarnish from your silver items is an easy task when using common household items.

Clean small jewellery items using plain, nonabrasive white toothpaste. Apply the toothpaste over the entire surface of the item.

Rub the toothpaste into the tarnished surface using your fingers.

Rinse off the excess toothpaste from the item with warm water. Dry the item with a soft, dry cloth.

Mix hot water and baking soda to make a thick paste.

Apply the paste to a wet sponge.

Polish the silver item with the paste mixture and wet sponge. Rinse off the item with hot water and dry with a clean, soft cloth. If the tarnish remains on the item, apply more paste and set the item in a cleaning tub for an hour; repeat the polishing and rinsing procedure.

Keep the items away from direct sunlight, harsh chemicals and smoke. Clean flatware immediately after use.

Things You'll Need

  • White nonabrasive toothpaste
  • Baking soda
  • Hot water
  • Soft sponge
  • Clean soft cloths
  • Cleaning tub
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About the Author

In the spring of 2008, Blaze Johnson decided to share his expertise through writing. He studied business administration at a local community college and runs his own driveway mechanic service, specializing in computer-controlled vehicles and custom car audio installs. Johnson also serves as the de facto computer repair person for his family, friends and coworkers.