How to Clean and Preserve Silverware Using Common Household Products

Learn how to clean and preserve silver

Smudges on your antique silver flatware driving you crazy? If so, you have probably spent a lot of time with a polishing cloth trying to remove those smudges. 

What if there was a better way? Many old tips and tricks exist that can help you get those smudges off your silver pieces.

Silverware cleaning tips


Many people know that vinegar is an effective way to clean antique silver. This time-tested method for cleaning silverware works well at removing tarnish, leaving your silver smudge-free and looking like new.

Olive oil

Did you know that olive oil is also a great solution for cleaning the tarnish off of silver?

It’s great for cleaning things like sterling silver bowls as it can get into the nooks and crannies of ornately crafted silverware.

Besides cleaning all the smudges off, olive oil has other benefits. First, dob some olive oil onto a soft cleaning cloth. Next, rub the cloth on the silver, going in the direction of the grain.

While you’ll remove a lot of the olive oil, traces will remain. This will create a layer that prevents future smudges.This will create a protective layer that prevents future smudges. Naturally, you will need to reapply from time to time.

Properly store your items

If you don’t want your silver to need cleaning when you take it out of the cabinet, make sure you are storing it correctly. Ensure that all the silver is completely dry before storing it in the cabinet.

Wrap the items in flannel or special anti-tarnish paper. Then place each piece into an airtight bag. Add small silica gel packets inside the drawer or cabinet to help reduce the build-up of humidity, keeping your silver tarnish-free, longer.

When stacking items such as antique silver trays, consider getting anti-tarnish cloth to place between them. You should do this especially if you are not wrapping the entire item in anti-tarnish paper. 

Remember…silver scratches easily, so you want to protect it well.

Other methods of cleaning silver

Besides vinegar and olive oil, there are other products you have around your home that can clean smudges from your silver. 

These same solutions can also remove tarnish, making the job of cleaning your silver even faster!

  • ⬥ Soda water and a damp cloth
  • ⬥ Mild dish soap added to warm water
  • ⬥ Baby oil in place of olive oil to create a protective barrier from smudges
  • ⬥ Lemon juice
  • ⬥ Sheepskin
  • ⬥ Furniture polish wipe
  • ⬥ Glass cleaner

Finally, while these products have been used without issue, if you’re concerned about possible damages, test the solution on a small, unnoticeable piece of silver first.

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