Do you know how to clean silver? It may sound intimidating, but trust us: This is one project you can handle yourself—no need to call in the pros. And when it comes to the efficacy of those odd “miracle” methods you may have heard about—using ketchup or toothpaste to polish silver—it’s best to just steer clear. “Anything found in your pantry, such as ketchup, is too acidic, and toothpaste is too abrasive,” says Kelly Juhasz, principal at Fine Art Appraisal and Services.
The following methods for cleaning silver are reliable, tried-and-true ways to remove tarnish fast and polish your pieces back to their former glory.
Know your silver
Before the washing begins, determine what kind of silver you have. There are generally two kinds of silver objects. If they are silver-plated, a thin layer of silver has been bonded to a base metal, usually made of a brass, copper, or nickel alloy. Sterling silver, on the other hand, is at least 92.5% solid silver, and is significantly more valuable. It also lasts much longer. But sterling silver is also much softer than silver plate, says Grace Torbeck, a content editor specializing in silver and art at the online estate marketplace Everything but the House. The cleaning method you choose may depend on what kind of silver you have.
How to clean silver with dish soap
This method is extremely simple: Wash your silver by hand with gentle dish soap and water after every use.
“If you clean your silver plate or sterling [articles] in the sink by hand, with gentle dish soap, over time, you will notice they become brighter,” says antiques dealer and appraiser Charles Snider.
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