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How To Clean Silver Jewelry & Flatware – The Easy Way!

This is my favorite trick to clean silver jewelry!! You must give it a try.

Silver is a soft metal, so for the purpose of creating jewelry, bowls, platters or flatware, it is mixed with other metals to give it strength. It is actually the other metals (most commonly copper) that react with the air and cause tarnish. Silver is deemed “sterling” when it is at least 92.5% silver. The higher the silver content, the less a piece will tarnish, so it’s worthwhile (especially for the lazy girl) to invest in sterling.


Place the tarnished silver in an aluminum baking pan or pie plate, or line a dish with tinfoil. 

Cleaning Tarnished Jewelry

Boil water. Sprinkle baking soda over the silver piece, pour the boiling water on it, and watch the tarnish disappear!

Cleaning silver quickly and easily
Remove the silver from the pan and gently clean the tarnish off the piece with a soft cloth or paper towel. So bright and shiny!
It makes such a difference!
I tried the same method on my pewter charms. 
While the charms did noticeably brighten, the reaction wasn’t nearly as magical. Pewter can be cleaned with baking soda, but it is not going to be that bright silver of sterling – it’s just not it’s natural color. Still, I think the charms are much improved, don’t you?

Beware when cleaning any jewelry with pearls – they are very delicate and the finish on them can be ruined by jewelry cleaners. I was wary even with baking soda, so I used this method to clean the charms:

1) line a shot glass with tinfoil, 2) add a scoop of baking soda, 3) pour boiling water in to glass, 4) dip charms into glass by holding onto the pearl.

I also cleaned these bracelets….the top is silver plated, the middle has some kind of natural blue stone (lapis lazuli maybe?) set in sterling, and the third has colored enamel set into sterling. The boiling water and baking soda did not harm any of them. I believe this method is very safe and gentle – it has never harmed any of my jewelry – but I still don’t want to take any chances with the delicate pearl.



This method is also fabulous for cleaning silver flatware. One of the treasures I brought home from Mom’s was her set of silver-plated flatware that she received as a wedding present from her sisters. The set hasn’t been used in many years.
To clean flatware, line a rimmed cookie sheet, a pyrex baking dish or similar container with tinfoil. Add flatware, then sprinkle with baking soda and pour boiling water over. Turn over after a minute or so….
then take out of the pan, rinse off and wipe clean with a soft cloth or paper towel. Some pieces may need to be done twice. Isn’t it amazing how well the silver cleans up?
So pretty!
After I got these all cleaned up and beautified, Mom told me that she secretly always disliked this set because the pieces are not comfortable to hold or eat with. Murphy’s Law!
That’s my big tip for the day:
aluminum pan or foil + baking soda + boiling water =
lazy girl’s guide to cleaning silver!

Happy day lovelies!!!

Classic Blonde Brownies
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Nancy Toolin

Friday 11th of December 2020

O have some of this very same pattern, they were my late mother in law’s. Just cleaning them now, will pass them along to my niece. Although it is an incomplete set she will, no doubt, appreciate having something of Gram Toolin’s. Thanks for the handy hint!


Friday 1st of January 2021

How special to have something to pass on to your niece. I'm sure she'll love having them!

Privet and Holly

Monday 2nd of July 2012

Oh, girlie, you haveNO IDEA how timely this is.....I was rubbingand buffing one pieceover the weekend fornearly 1/2 and hour!Thank you, sweet friend!

xo Suzanne

Jennifer L. Griffin

Friday 29th of June 2012

I've always wanted to try this method but was skeptical. Glad to know it's a winner. I have a bracelet really similar to your multi-colored stone one that is looking pretty sad. I'll have to try this!


Wednesday 27th of June 2012

Thanks so much for sharing this Lisa! Pinning it so I don't forget!

A Vintage Vine

Monday 25th of June 2012

Great tip.....I so avoid buying tarnished silver because of the cost of cleaning, this is easy!.....How did the job thing work out?....I just read your post about Haven....Hope all is well, we went through that last November....I feel your pain!