The Best Way to Polish & Clean Silver: 4 Home Remedy Methods Put to the Test

updated Oct 3, 2022
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(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

The table’s set with fresh cut flowers, punchy cloth napkins, and a place for every person — you wouldn’t want some tarnished silverware ruining that gorgeous tablescape, would you? To suss out the best way to clean and polish silver, we set out to test four different all-natural, chemical-free methods for getting your silverware sparkling clean. While every method worked, the combo of aluminum foil and baking soda was our clear winner.

It takes hardly any time at all, is a little like magic, and can tackle some really heavily tarnished pieces.

First up, the methods: Click through for each of the how-to/tutorial details of each of the natural home remedies we tested…

Here’s How to Clean Your Silver

Got some silver that needs polishing? Here’s how to do it, using our favorite (and the most successful) method we tested.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)
(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)


  • Aluminum foil
  • Glass dish or aluminum baking dish
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • Rag for polishing


  1. Bring water to a boil in a pot on the stove. (When combined with the other ingredients, the water will activate the baking soda and start the process of transferring the tarnish to the aluminum.)
  2. Inside an aluminum dish or a glass dish lined with aluminum foil, add the baking soda and sea salt.
  3. Slowly pour the vinegar and boiling water into your dish. 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.
  4. Place the silver into your dish, making sure each piece is touching the aluminum surface. (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.
  5. 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!