How to Polish Your Silverware Using Basic Household Ingredients


Being in my home non-stop for the last (is it only) SEVEN weeks has caused me to see things I might have missed during “normal” times. You know, the cobwebs in out-of-the-way corners. The piles of papers that I’ve long promised myself to deal with. The junk drawers that have become so full, they threaten to become junk rooms. You get the picture.

And then, I saw the silver.

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No, I’m not independently wealthy,  but I did inherit some of my parents’ silver (mostly gifts from their 1939 wedding). And I use it—frequently. I am a firm believer in using the good stuff you have; I don’t see any point in keeping things packed away only to be used once every few years. My mother was a great hostess, and she really put on a good show when she entertained, but she also believed that her family deserved the good china… not just the guests.

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However, these seven weeks have discombobulated all of us, and I haven’t paid any attention to the silver. And it showed—major tarnish. So I recently went to pull out the silver polish, only to find that I was out. Not normally a problem, but the idea of going out solely to buy silver polish seemed, well, a bit much. So, I decided to try some DIY polish “recipes,” and discovered a few that really work wonders!


The simplest, and smelliest by far, is ketchup. Yes, really. Just wipe the silver piece gently with ketchup, let it sit for a moment or two, rinse it off, and dry gently.

Baking Soda

Then we have the high school chemistry-level approach: Line your sink, a bowl,  or a rimmed sheet, with aluminum foil. Place silver in a single layer, add very hot water and approximately 1 cup of baking soda per gallon of water. Then, let it sit for a bit. Rinse and dry gently. This one is lots of fun, and kind of magical. And it doesn’t smell!


This last technique is a little dicey. It works, but it can be too abrasive, so don’t use it often or vigorously. If you don’t have ketchup or baking soda on hand, proceed with a gentle touch. But because toothpaste can be a bit too much for silver and silver plate, I’d recommend option for one of the first two methods if possible.

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