How to Clean Silver With Aluminum Foil and Baking Soda

updated Dec 14, 2023
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Looking for an all-natural solution to keep silver flatware tarnish-free? This simple recipe which includes just a few ingredients may be the holy grail of all-natural silver polish. Like a magic cleaning wand for the laziest chore keepers, this concoction makes tarnish disappear quickly, right before your eyes.

How to Clean Silver Naturally

Baking soda is key to this simple and quick method for cleaning silverware. When combined with the other ingredients, water activates the baking soda and starts the process of removing any tarnish from flatware.

What You’ll Need:

  • Aluminum or glass baking pan
  • Aluminum foil (if using a glass baking pan)
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • Tong (to remove silverware from boiling water)
  • Rag for polishing


1. Bring water to a boil. If using a glass baking pan, be sure to cover with a layer of aluminum foil so you’ll have a place to catch any tarnish that’s removed from your silverware.

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

2. While water comes to a boil, combine dry ingredients in your pan. Next, slowly pour in the vinegar — you will cause a slight reaction, so pour carefully! It is possible to clean your silver without adding vinegar, but the vinegar will dramatically speed up the process.

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

3. Pour in boiling water and then place silver into the pan, making sure each piece is touching the foil. Try not to let any of the pieces overlap. This should only take about 30 seconds, but if you have heavily tarnished pieces, you may need to let them soak a few minutes longer.

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

4. Use tongs to remove the silverware and work off any remaining spots by buffing it with a rag. Then, look deep into your shiny silver and admire the smartypants that brought it back to its original glory!

More Ways to Clean Silver

Looking for more ways to clean silver? Try lemon juice with baking soda, lemon-lime soda, ketchup, toothpaste, or dish soap. 

Clean Silver with Lemon Juice and Baking Soda

If you don’t have silver polish on hand or prefer a more natural method for cleaning your silver, you probably have what you need right in your kitchen: a lemon and baking soda. Make a paste out of the baking soda and lemon (if the silver is delicate, consider making a runnier paste or opting for water instead of lemon juice), then spread it on the silver with a soft rag. Let it sit for a minute or two. Wash it with dish soap and water and dry it thoroughly. 

Clean Silver with Lemon-Lime Soda

If you have some Sprite, 7-Up, Sierra Mist, or other citrus soda on hand, you can use it to remove tarnish from your silver. The citric acid and carbonation are what make the soda method of cleaning silver effective. Fill a container with soda then soak your silver for about an hour. Rinse and dry before storing in a cool place. 

Clean Silver with Ketchup

Ketchup is an easy way to polish silver with a common condiment. This method is best when you only have a few pieces to polish because the ketchup method can be pretty messy. Squeeze a few drops of ketchup on a paper towel and rub into your silver. For trouble spots, apply ketchup directly to the silver and let it sit for 15 minutes. You can also use a toothbrush to rub the ketchup into the silver. Buff the silver with a microfiber cloth, then rinse and dry.

Clean Silver with Toothpaste

Toothpaste is a convenient way to remove tarnish using something you probably have on hand. Squeeze a small amount of non-gel, non-abrasive toothpaste onto a soft cloth and rub the toothpaste into the silver. Let it sit for 5 minutes. Rinse and dry.

Clean Silver with Dish Soap

Using dish soap to clean your silver is easy. A dish soap solution is not intended to remove tough tarnish, but it’s a great way to keep your silver shiny between uses. Mix warm water and dish soap in a glass dish or similar container. Place your silver in there and gently wash. Rinse and buff dry with a soft cloth before storing in a cool place.