How to clean silverware until it dazzles

Big occasions call for using the silverware — here's how to make them dazzle like your after-dinner speech

How To Clean Silver

Getting the silverware out means it’s time for a special occasion. And any guests you have over will definitely appreciate the love and care you’ve put into making their cutlery so shiny that they can see their own distorted faces in it. 

And even when that cutlery’s caked in beef wellington or salmon en croute (the dinner party classics) and you’ve got to clean it up, it’ll be fine. Because cleaning it is easy, and because you had a great night getting that cutlery filthy.  

So, what’s the best way to clean silver without using a smelly polish? This guide will take you through how to polish silver at home, all with ingredients you already have in your cupboard.


Silver cleaning can be a great easy chore for kids – after all, what’s more satisfying than making something turn from black to dazzlingly shiny? Once you’re at the buffing stage, enlist their help. You could even turn it into a fun competition and see whose pile of silverware is the shiniest. Or if you’re getting the adults involved – the team with the shinier pile gets to pick dessert!

How to clean silver cutlery with foil

This easy way to clean silver requires next-to-no effort – just a boil of the kettle, a bit of mixing, and a bit of waiting. Here’s what you’ll need:

What you’ll need

  • Aluminium foil
  • Glass or aluminium baking dish
  • 240 ml boiling water
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons sea salt
  • 120 ml white vinegar
  • Plenty kitchen paper for polishing
  • Tongs (to avoid putting your fingers in boiling water)

This might sound like a fun science experiment, but once you’ve done it, you’re free to tell your friends it’s your secret method. If you’re using a glass baking dish, start by lining it with the aluminium foil. Put the water on to boil. While you wait, mix the salt and baking soda in the baking dish. Pour the vinegar over them – taking care, because it’s going to fizz – and then, once the fizzing has died down, put the silverware in, making sure each piece is touching the foil.

Now add the boiling water. Together, these ingredients will move the tarnish from your silverware to the foil. Yep, like magic. Let them act for up to 5 minutes, then use the tongs to lift your cutlery out. Once it’s cool enough to handle, buff away any spots using a piece of kitchen paper.


For the drying and buffing stage, enlist the help of a strong and absorbent kitchen paper, like Plenty Original, that will hold together through polishing.

How to clean silver with baking soda or toothpaste

If you’ve got a bit more time on your hands, you can just use plain baking soda for your silver cleaning. Sprinkle a load of it over the cutlery, covering everything, and let it sit for 30-60 minutes whilst you relax/get on with cleaning something else. Once you’re sure the tarnish is gone, give them a final buff with a piece of kitchen paper.

You can also make a paste of baking soda and water or use a tube of normal white toothpaste. Use a piece of kitchen paper to rub the paste evenly all over the cutlery. Buff it away with some clean Plenty kitchen towel, then rinse and dry your silver carefully. There – good as new!

When it comes to cleaning and polishing silver cutlery, the caked-on food or water spots are nothing to worry about. And to be honest, when cleaning them is this easy, you could start using your silver for everyday use. Fish and chips with the finest silver, anyone? 

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