How to Keep Your Silverware Sparkling

How to Clean Silverware

If you are the king or queen of hosting dinner parties, then it is good to know how to clean silverware. Your China sets are all beautifully shiny and stain-free, your glasses are sparkling and you are ready to host another great night, but your silverware is looking a little dull. It seems a bit tarnished in some spots.

How do you get it cleaned to a beautiful shine before all your guests arrive? Searching the internet can bring you hundreds of results and it might be difficult to choose the easiest and best one for you. Here are the best suggestions and methods for how to clean silverware.


While dipping your fries, use it to clean your silverware. Squirt a small amount of ketchup onto a paper towel and gently rub the silverware where it is tarnished. If there are small grooves on your silverware, use a toothbrush to get into them with the ketchup.

If the shine is not to your satisfaction, let the silverware sit in the ketchup for about 15 minutes before rubbing with a soft cloth and then rinsing the silverware. Be sure to rinse well. You do not want the ketchup flavor ruining your famous steak tartare.


Sticking with food-based solutions, if you do not have enough (or any) ketchup, you can make a cornstarch paste. Apply the cornstarch with a damp cloth and then wait for it to dry. Rub it off with something mildly abrasive such as a cheesecloth or a rough towel.

If you also do not have cornstarch, but happen to have cream of tartar, you can use that instead. If the shine that remains is not good enough, use a microfiber cloth for a good polish after scrubbing your silverware.

From the Bathroom

If your kitchen is out of commission for whatever reason, maybe you have platters waiting for the guests, you can always find silver cleaners in the bathroom. Squirt some hand sanitizer, conditioner, or toothpaste onto a soft cloth and polish away.

These items may seem bathroom bound, but perhaps it is time to keep them around the kitchen, too. There is no need to buy extra cleaning detergents if you have these around the house and if you do not have these around the house, it may be time to hit the grocery store.

Go Eco

If you want to be completely eco-friendly, it requires some extra work, but is it so bad putting in extra effort if it protects the environment? You need a plastic container large enough for your silverware, boiling water, baking soda (bicarbonate of soda) and a piece of aluminum foil.

Use the foil to line the plastic tub, shiny side up, while bringing the water to the boil. Put the water in the plastic tub and add two tablespoons of baking soda per liter of boiling water. Then put your silverware in, making sure it touches the foil. After a few minutes, take the silver out and then wipe with a soft cloth.

More Baking Soda

Using baking soda and vinegar makes a great volcano. It also happens to clean silver very well. Similar to the previous method, add one tablespoon of baking soda, half a cup of white vinegar, two cups of boiling water and a tablespoon of sea salt to a glass dish.

Put your silverware in and leave for a few minutes. Take the silverware out and polish it with a microfiber cloth. You can also line the dish with aluminum foil, but it is not essential.


There are some beverages that can also clean your silverware. You can soak your silverware in cola for 10 minutes and rub the tarnish off with a microfiber cloth. If cola is not your ideal drink, you can substitute it with beer.

The process is the same, just the drink is different. However, beer may be a less efficient method to use. If you really want to be fancy, you can dip a cloth in vodka and rub the silver. For hard to reach areas, use a toothbrush dipped in vodka. Just remember not to use that toothbrush in the morning before work.

Lemon, Salt, Tequila

If your beverages are too important to pour over your silverware, or you only have enough for your guests, you can use lemon, salt and water. Squeeze a lemon into a bowl with three tablespoons of salt and enough hot water to cover your silverware.

Soak your silver in this solution for five minutes before polishing with a soft, dry cloth. For the most efficient results, try using a silver polishing cloth, as a normal cloth may require too much effort.

Household Cleaners

If the detergent route seems better and more reliable for you, you can use laundry detergent and window cleaner. Add laundry detergent to hot water and allow it to form suds. Soak your silverware in the soapy water and then rinse and dry with a soft cloth.

Follow this up by spraying window cleaner on the silverware and polish it. The window cleaner adds a bit of extra shine, but cannot remove tarnish effectively. The laundry detergent can remove tarnish but can’t polish very well. Using them in conjunction is the best solution.

How to Prevent Scuffed Silverware

Everyone always says prevention is better than a cure. Preventing tarnish is a lot less effort than polishing your silverware every time you have a party.

You can rub a small amount of conditioner onto your silverware and blend it with a soft cloth to protect it. Store your silverware with some chalk to keep moisture out. Clean your silver after every use and do not use bleach to clean your silverware.

In Conclusion

Your dinner party will shine once more after using any one of these methods to clean your silverware. You do not need to buy special products or stock up on a particular chemical if you know which everyday items to use in silverware cleaning. You now also know how to reduce number of necessary cleanings by preventing or stalling tarnishing.

The best part of these tips is that you can apply them to all your silver, including jewelry. Simple solutions are usually the best and how much simpler can it be than finding the solution in your house?

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