How to Clean Silver Polish

Silver polish keeps your jewelry and flatware shiny and tarnish-free. It saves you the expense of getting your precious pieces professionally cleaned, as well as the hassle of finding an available jeweler when you need to shine that heirloom. Many polishes will also clean other metals, including gold and copper; others can even polish stainless steel.

When a silver cleaner is applied to tarnished items, it reacts with the sulfur in the tarnish to remove it, creating a shiny layer of silver oxide that protects the item from further oxidation. While most polishes contain some abrasive ingredients, these are generally mild enough to avoid damaging delicate and antique pieces.

There are a variety of different types of silver polish, ranging from sprays to creams to dips. These cleaners can be used to clean everything from elaborate trays and candelabras to simple jewelry. For items that cannot be wiped down, such as flatware or large plates, a dip may be the best option. These cleaners are typically placed in a pot of water, and all the silver pieces are submerged for several minutes.

To use a liquid or cream cleaner, simply apply a small amount to a soft cloth or sponge, then wipe down the item. A few seconds of vigorous rubbing should remove the majority of the tarnish. Then, rinse the piece and dry it with a soft towel. For the best results, clean your silver at least twice a year.

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