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Video:How To Clean Silver

with Jennifer DeCristofano

You can keep your sterling silver pieces shining with these polishing tips. Learn how to clean silver with both polishing paste and liquid cleaner.See Transcript

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Transcript:How To Clean Silver

Hi! I'm Jennifer DeCristofano for About.com Home.

Why Polish Silver?

Silver plated and sterling silver tableware, flatware, and antiques are beautiful when they're polished, but over time, the elements in the air can make the shine tarnish. Some silver plated pieces are created this way to give the piece a more antique feel, however, most silver plated and sterling silver pieces are designed to shine gloriously and are meant to stay polished.

When to Polish Silver

Today I'm going to show you two different methods for polishing silver. These methods should only be used for silver pieces that were not originally designed with the intent of maintaining a tarnished or antique look. This is because pieces that are designed with the intent of looking more antique should not be polished to a shine or they will lose their appeal, and possibly their value.

Methods for Cleaning Silver

Now, it's important to note here that before using either of these two silver cleaning methods, make sure to double check the instructions on the back of the silver cleaner that you use when cleaning your silver, double-checking that your cleaner is safe for all silver pieces.

Polishing Paste Silver Cleaners

The first method for cleaning silver uses a polishing paste, which is great for silver pieces that don't have fine detailing or intricate engravings. For this method you will need:
  • a pair of vinyl gloves
  • silver polishing paste
  • 2 soft clean polishing clothes
  • light non-abrasive liquid cleaner
  • some warm water

Clean the Silver With Polishing Paste

After putting on your vinyl gloves, dab one part of a clean soft cloth in the silver polishing paste and apply the paste to the silver piece in a slow circular motion. Continue this process until the entire silver piece is covered in paste.

Next, rinse the silver piece off in a bowl or sink of warm, light, non-abrasive soapy water to remove the paste.

Finally, rinse the silver piece off under clear clean water and use your other clean soft cloth to dry off the silver piece. When drying, use the same circular motion you used when applying the paste. This will help buff the silver to a sparkling shine!

Liquid Silver Cleaners

The second method for cleaning silver utilizes a liquid cleaner that is more appropriate for pieces with detailed markings. For this method, you will need:
  • a pair of vinyl gloves
  • liquid silver polish
  • a soft clean polishing cloth
  • a light non-abrasive liquid cleaner
  • some warm water
  • cotton balls
  • a large bowl

Polish Silver With the Liquid Cleaner

After putting on your vinyl gloves, pour approximately an inch of liquid silver polish in the base of your bowl.

Holding the silver piece over the bowl, use your cotton balls to soak up the liquid cleaner in the bottom of the bowl and then drip the liquid cleaner over the silver so that the excess cleaner rolls off the silver and falls back into the bowl. Repeat this process until the entire silver piece has been covered in liquid silver polish.

Next, rinse the silver piece off in a bowl or sink of warm, light, non-abrasive soapy water to remove the cleaner. Then, rinse the silver piece off under clear clean water. Use your clean soft cloth to dry off the silver piece.

Wow! Look at that shine! Thank you for watching. To learn more, visit us on the Web at homegarden.about.com!
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