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How to Clean Silver: 13 Weird Tricks That Really Work

Make your tarnished silver and dull jewelry shine like new after a cleaning with these common household items.

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Ketchup in bowlPhoto: Shutterstock

How to clean silver with ketchup

If your silver is tarnished, ketchup can help. Squirt a small amount on a paper towel, and rub gently over the tarnished areas. If your silver isn’t getting shinier, let the ketchup sit for 15 minutes, then rub with a soft cloth and rinse clean. For items that have textured details, as with some candlesticks or fancy silverware, use a toothbrush to clean between the crevices.

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Aluminum foil can clean silverPhoto: Shutterstock

Aluminum foil

Tarnished silver is no match for this aluminum foil “recipe.” Bring one litre of water, one tablespoon of baking soda and one piece of aluminum foil to a boil. Drop silverware in the pot for 10 seconds (longer if it’s very tarnished), then remove using kitchen tongs. Magic! If built-up tarnish persists, make a thick paste with 1/4 cup baking soda and two tablespoons of water. Apply with a damp sponge, then rinse and dry.

Here are more aluminum foil hacks that will save you time, money and effort.

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Powdered laundry detergentPhoto: Shutterstock

Laundry detergent

To make your jewelry or silverware sparkle, line a medium-sized bowl with aluminum foil and fill it with hot water. Mix in one tablespoon of powdered laundry detergent, then soak your silver for one minute. Rinse with clean water, and air-dry.

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CornstarchPhoto: Shutterstock


A paste of cornstarch and water will make silver look new again. Apply with a damp cloth, let dry, then rub off with something mildly abrasive, like cheesecloth or a rough towel. Tip: You can substitute cream of tartar if you’re out of cornstarch.

Read on to discover 20 more amazing uses for cornstarch.

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Hand sanitizerPhoto: Shutterstock

Hand sanitizer

Hand sanitizer not only fights germs, it’s also a great silver polisher! Squirt a few drops on a soft cloth and rub away the tarnish.

Don’t miss these other clever uses for hand sanitizer.

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Lemon-lime sodaPhoto: Shutterstock

Lemon-lime soda

Recapture shine by dunking your silver items in a bowl of lemon-lime soda for one hour. Rinse and dry thoroughly.

Find out more dollar store solutions for life’s little dilemmas.

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ToothpastePhoto: Shutterstock


Squeeze a small amount of toothpaste on a rag and polish your silver, then rinse—and admire the shine!

Learn 20 more ways to use toothpaste all around the house.

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How to clean silver - window cleanerPhoto: Shutterstock

Window cleaner

Spray window cleaner on a rag or toothbrush, and use it to gently scrub your sterling silver. You should be able to restore your silver its original shiny state.

Find out how you can use dishwasher tablets to clean your oven.

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Woman using hair conditionerPhoto: Shutterstock

Hair conditioner

If you want to prevent tarnish, try rubbing hair conditioner on clean silver.

Here’s the one thing you’re not doing with paper towels (but should be).

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Multi-coloured chalkPhoto: Shutterstock


Silverware will stay shiny if you keep a few pieces of chalk in the drawer or chest where you store it. The chalk absorbs moisture, preventing your nice utensils from tarnishing.

Find out the 10 things you should never clean with baking soda.

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Cleaning productsPhoto: Shutterstock


Brighten silver trinkets by soaking them for 10 minutes in a solution of one cup warm water and 1/2 cup clear ammonia. Gently wipe clean and dry.

Don’t miss these other clever ammonia hacks!

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Vinegar in clear bottlePhoto: Shutterstock


Return lustre and shine to your silverware and jewelry by soaking it in 1/2 cup white vinegar mixed with 2 tablespoons of baking soda for two to three hours. Rinse under cold water, and dry thoroughly.

Discover dozens of brilliant uses for vinegar all around the house.

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Lemon juice and slicesPhoto: Shutterstock

Lemon juice

Your silver will sparkle after soaking overnight in a mixture of 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, 1 1/2 cups water, and 1/2 cup of instant dry milk.

Now that you know how to clean silver, find out how to clean absolutely everything in your kitchen, according to Charles the Butler of CTV’s The Marilyn Denis Show.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published on Reader's Digest