Recently, my grandmother gave me some ridiculously cool vintage items, including parfait glasses, green candy bowls, and serrated knives with silver plating. I was very proud of the silver and wanted to take care of it without spending $15 or more for a tiny tube or pot marketed as silver cleaner that will dry up before I can use up the whole container.
I am a big proponent of cleaning with baking soda, so I was convinced I could clean these heirlooms with items I already had laying around, and I was right. The following procedure worked marvelously for me and it can work for you too.
How to Clean Household Silver Items
1. Examine your silver item. Dust item in preparation of the treatment.
2. Make your silver-shining paste by stirring 2 tbsp. warm or tepid water into 1/4 cup of baking soda (any brand).
3. Using a washcloth or other soft fabric, massage the paste onto your item using soft, circular strokes. Do not scrub away at the plating.
4. Leave paste on the silver for 15 minutes for lightly-tarnished items and up to an hour for heavily-tarnished items.
5. Rinse item completely with warm water, until all paste is off item.
6. Using a soft cloth, dry item. Ensure item is totally free of moisture before storing.
Using a similar method, you can also clean your silver jewelry. Because this is a much smaller project (unless you are an heiress who can literally swim in her jewels), you likely won’t need to make a concoction of the baking soda paste.
How to Clean Silver Jewelry
1. Choose a non-gel toothpaste for the project. Avoid a paste with too much grit.
2. Start with a small amount of toothpaste (you can always add more). Squirt a thumbnail amount of the toothpaste into a ramekin or small dish. There’s no need to add any water or liquid.
3. Using a spent paintbrush or a fresh cotton swab, dab some of the toothpaste directly onto the jewelery. You can also use your fingers for direct application, if you feel comfortable doing so.
4. Rub the plating with small, circular strokes to increase lustre and shine.
5. Again, as above, if the piece is in need of some serious attention, you can leave the toothpaste on for up to an hour.
6. Gently wipe off all the toothpaste with a soft sponge or washcloth (do not use steel wool or a scourge pad) slightly dampened with warm water.
7. Pat dry. Do not store jewelry until item is completely free of moisture and cleaner.