How to Clean Silver Jewelry and Make it Shine

How to Clean Silver Jewelry


In this article we will go over how to clean silver jewelry and make it shine. With the variety of styles and patterns available in silver jewelry pieces today, it is quite natural for you to fall in love with them easily. Silver jewelry is way more affordable than gold, and it looks on different types of attires as well. However, silver tends to tarnish a lot, despite the care & maintenance you provide for it. Silver, when mixed with the sulfur component in the air, starts tarnishing quickly. So, you will find your favorite pieces yellowing or blackening if you don’t care for them regularly.

Given below are practical and effective tips to clean silver jewelry and make it shine like new forever. The best part of these tips is that they make use of simple ingredients that can be found in your kitchens.

  • Using simple dish soap

Mix a few drops of dish soap or liquid detergent in a bowl of warm water. Mix the contents well until you spot bubbles. Soak your silver jewelry in this bowl and allow it to remain there for about 10 minutes. You can soak it for even 30 minutes, if you notice a thick layer of blackening on the silver jewelry. After some time, take out the silver pieces and scrub them well with a soft toothbrush. This will ensure that the hard-to-access corners of the jewelry are devoid of dust and dirt. Wash the silver jewelry well with a dry & clean microfiber cloth, and the sparkle is back on them!

  • Using baking soda or cornstarch powder

Make a paste containing equal amounts of water and baking soda. You can also use cornstarch power instead of baking soda. Spread the paste well on the silver jewelry and allow it to dry for about 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, rinse the jewelry well with cold or warm water. The chemical properties of baking soda/cornstarch powder would have removed the tarnish completely. Wipe the silver jewelry well with a soft, cotton microfiber cloth.

  • Using aluminum foil with certain combinations

If your silver jewelry has just started to tarnish, you can try this trick to make it shine again. Line a bowl with aluminum foil. Pour boiling water into this. Add a few drops of liquid detergent and mix the contents well with a spoon. Place your silver jewelry inside the bowl for a minute. After a minute, use tongs to take out the piece/pieces. Rinse the jewelry well with lukewarm water and pat dry with a microfiber cloth.

If you want to clean many pieces of silver jewelry at once, or if your silver jewelry pieces are heavy, you can use baking soda along with the aluminum foil trick to get rid of the tarnish on them. Line a big ceramic or glass bowl with aluminum foil. Pour boiling water into this. Add one or two teaspoons of baking soda to the bowl. Mix the contents well, and drop the silver jewelry pieces into the solution. Let the pieces remain inside for 15 seconds only. Remove with tongs, rinse with lukewarm water, and pat dry using a soft, microfiber cloth to get back sparkling clean silver jewelry within minutes.

  • Using ketchup

Yes, you heard that right! Your favorite tomato ketchup is a proven silver jewelry cleaner as well. Apply ketchup directly on the jewelry pieces, especially on the areas where you notice the tarnish. You can use a toothbrush to apply ketchup on the finer parts of the jewelry. Allow the ketchup to settle for about 15 minutes. After this, clean the jewelry in lukewarm water, and wipe them thoroughly with a soft, microfiber cloth.

  • Using lemon and olive oil

Make a homemade jewelry cleaning solution with about ½ a cup of lemon juice and 1 teaspoon of olive oil. Don’t pour the solution on the silver jewelry directly. Instead, use a cloth dipped in this solution to rub over the jewelry, especially on the tarnished areas. Keep rubbing with more solution until you notice that the tarnish has vanished completely, bringing an automatic shine to the silver jewelry.

  • Using toothpaste

You should only use non-whitening, non-gel and non-abrasive toothpaste for cleaning silver jewelry. Dilute the toothpaste with a few drops of water. Dip a soft-bristled toothbrush in this toothpaste solution, and apply on all the silver jewelry pieces thoroughly. Allow the mixture to settle in there for about 15 minutes, before rinsing them with lukewarm water and drying the pieces with a soft cloth.

  • Using vinegar

Vinegar and baking soda are always on top of any list that mentions cleaning products. Make a solution containing about ½ a cup of white vinegar and 2 tablespoons of baking soda. Soak your silver jewelry in this solution for about 2 to 3 hours. When you rinse the pieces in lukewarm water, you will be surprised at their new-found shine. This method can be used even for the hardest of tarnishes.

  • Using hand sanitizer

For small silver jewelry items like rings, you can try using hand sanitizers to get rid of the tarnishes. Apply some hand sanitizer on a soft towel or handkerchief. Rub the towel over the rings and small jewelry items gently. The tarnish vanishes almost instantly.

Some tips to remember

  • Never use cleaning agents with harsh chemicals (like baking soda, vinegar, liquid detergents and more) on antique silver jewelry pieces. It may spoil the visual look of these pieces completely. Always check with your jeweler about the best way to clean the tarnish on these types of items.


  • Never use any of the above-mentioned cleaning tips on silver jewelry that contain diamonds, precious stones, semi-precious stones and mineral stones. The chemicals may react differently on these pieces. Every precious or semi-precious stone comes with a unique way of care & maintenance. Check with your jeweler for specific instructions on these types of items.


  • Before choosing any method to clean silver jewelry, you should know what type of silver you are dealing with. Pure silver jewelry (which is 99.9% silver) is very rare to find. Most of the jewelry that you may find in the silver section of stores is sterling silver (contains 7.5% copper). The tips mentioned in this article work well for sterling silver jewelry. Silver-plated jewelry has a very negligible quantity of silver in it. Therefore, it may react differently with the chemicals mentioned here.

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