Cleaning Silverware: Secrets to Restoring Shine and Removing Tarnish

Cleaning Silverware: Secrets to Restoring Shine and Removing Tarnish

When it comes to fine dining, silverware plays a crucial role in setting a luxurious and elegant table. However, over time, silverware can lose its shine and become tarnished, diminishing its beauty. If you find yourself wondering how to restore the gleam and luster to your silverware pieces, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’ll share some tried and true secrets to cleaning silverware and removing tarnish, helping you to keep your table setting as stunning as ever.

Understanding Tarnish

Before delving into the cleaning techniques, it’s important to understand what tarnish is and how it forms on silverware. Tarnish is a thin layer of corrosion that develops on the surface of silver when it reacts with sulfur compounds in the air or from contact with certain foods such as eggs, onions, and mustard. This layer can gradually darken and dull the appearance of your silverware.

The Importance of Regular Cleaning

Regular cleaning is key to preventing tarnish buildup on your silverware. By establishing a cleaning routine, you can ensure that your silverware maintains its shine and beauty for years to come. Here are a few tips to consider:

1. Handwashing vs. Dishwashing

When it comes to cleaning silverware, it’s generally recommended to handwash your pieces instead of using a dishwasher. Dishwashers expose silverware to harsh detergents and high temperatures, which can lead to tarnishing and even permanent damage. By handwashing your silverware, you have greater control over the cleaning process and can ensure that your pieces are treated with care.

2. Immediate Cleaning

After use, it’s essential to clean your silverware promptly. Food particles, acids, and oils from your meal can corrode the silver’s surface and worsen tarnish over time. By removing these substances immediately, you can prevent tarnish from forming and keep your silverware looking its best.

3. Proper Storage

Storing your silverware properly is vital to prevent tarnish. To minimize exposure to air and moisture, wrap each piece in acid-free tissue paper or place them in tarnish-resistant cloth bags. Additionally, storing silverware away from sources of sulfur, such as wool or rubber, can help reduce tarnish formation.

Cleaning Techniques

1. Gentle Handwashing

To start the cleaning process, fill a basin or sink with warm water and a mild dishwashing liquid. Gently wash each piece of silverware with a soft sponge or cloth. Avoid using abrasive materials, as they can scratch the surface of the silver. Rinse the pieces thoroughly with clean water and dry them immediately with a soft, lint-free cloth.

2. Baking Soda Paste

Baking soda is a versatile household ingredient that can be used to remove tarnish from silverware. Create a paste by mixing baking soda with water until it forms a thick consistency. Apply this paste onto a soft cloth and gently rub it onto the tarnished areas of your silverware. Rinse the pieces with water and dry them thoroughly.

3. Aluminum Foil Method

The aluminum foil method is an effective way to remove tarnish from silverware through a chemical process. Line a shallow dish or basin with aluminum foil, ensuring that the shiny side is facing up. Fill the dish with warm water and add a tablespoon of salt and baking soda. Stir the mixture to dissolve the salts. Submerge your tarnished silverware in the solution, making sure each piece touches the foil. Let it soak for a few minutes until you notice the tarnish transferring from the silverware to the foil. Rinse the pieces with clean water and dry them thoroughly.

4. Commercial Silver Cleaners

If your silverware is heavily tarnished and the previous methods haven’t yielded satisfactory results, you may opt for commercial silver cleaners. These cleaners often contain specialized chemicals designed to remove tarnish effectively. However, exercise caution when using these products as they can be harsh and potentially damage your silverware if not used correctly. Always follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer.

Maintaining Shine and Preventing Tarnish

Cleaning your silverware is just one part of the equation. To maintain its shine and prevent tarnish in the future, consider these tips:

1. Regular Polishing

Polishing your silverware every few months can keep it looking its best. Use a silver polishing cloth or a specialized silver polishing cream to gently buff the surface and remove any tarnish that may have formed.

2. Anti-Tarnish Strips

Consider using anti-tarnish strips when storing your silverware. These strips release chemicals that neutralize tarnish-causing elements in the air, helping to keep your silverware tarnish-free for longer.

3. Avoiding Harsh Chemicals

Avoid exposing your silverware to harsh chemicals such as bleach, ammonia, or chlorine, as they can damage the silver surface. When cleaning your silverware or even your table, opt for gentle cleaning products to preserve the shine and beauty of your silverware.


Your silverware deserves the best care to maintain its shine and elegance. By following these tried and true cleaning techniques, you can restore the luster of your silverware and remove tarnish effectively. Remember to establish a regular cleaning routine and employ proper storage methods to prevent tarnish from forming in the first place. With our secrets to cleaning silverware and your commitment to maintenance, your table setting will always be ready to impress.