Whether you’re cleaning a gorgeous pendant or your grandma’s heirloom flatware, a great silver polish gets rid of grime and tarnish and brings a special sparkle to your favorite pieces. Look for a silver polish that is easy to apply and has clear instructions for its use. Some can be used on a variety of precious metals while others are designed specifically for silver. We spent hours researching silver polishes to find the very best one while considering factors such as type, formula, and function.
We also reached out to Laura Elizabeth, owner and designer of luxury jewelry line Laura Elizabeth Jewelry. “When silver is exposed to oxygen or moisture, it tarnishes,” says Elizabeth whose creations are made of recycled brass, 14 karat gold, and sterling silver. Because metals don’t mix well together, she suggests keeping silver, gold, and rose gold separate when cleaning.
So, get ready to see your silver jewelry and serveware sparkle! Here, you’ll find the best silver polishes on the market.
Wright's Silver Cleaner and Polish Cream
Cleans and shines effectively
Gets rid of tarnish
Prevents future tarnishing
Needs two cloths for application
Wright’s cream is a trusted brand that works great to clean and shine a variety of metals, including silver, chrome, and pewter. It can even work for porcelain. But the real benefit and the reason it’s at the top of our list is how well it removes tarnish. It won’t scratch no matter how hard you scrub, as long as you use a soft cloth. We recommend using a rag or other cloth that you’ll only use for this purpose to avoid it becoming contaminated with other cleaning agents that are not safe for silver. This polish comes with a sponge that can be used to rub the cream into your items.
To use Wright’s silver polish, put a small amount on a sponge or cloth. Rub it onto your silver items, taking special care to get it into small crevices and designs. You may need to work it in more to get rid of tarnish or older build-up. Rinse the excess off and buff with a clean cloth. You'll need two cloths, one for application and one to buff your silver to a high shine.
This polish is safe for sterling silver, plated silver, jewelry, antique silver, and flatware. It also has an anti-tarnish agent. After you use it on your silver pieces, they are less likely to develop tarnish in the future. This cream protects as well as cleans and shines.
Price at time of publish: $9
Type: Cream | Amount: 8 ounces | Scent: Unscented | Uses: Silver, chrome, pewter, and porcelain
Goddard's Silver Dip
No scrubbing required
Good for larger pieces
Requires separate container
Needs to be rinsed off with soap
For large scale silver cleaning needs, Goddard’s Silver Cleaner Dip solution is cost effective and great at cleaning things in bulk. To use it, you’ll need to have a separate container to hold the dip. Then all you have to do is submerge your silver pieces and the solution takes care of cleaning! Having tongs or donning gloves to get your pieces out of the solution will protect your skin from exposure. Wash your jewelry with soapy water, rinse, and you’ll see a noticeable shine.
This solution is ideal for pieces with hard-to-reach places, such as in between the tines of a fork. However, if you use it for flatware, make sure that you thoroughly rinse with soap and hot water before using them to eat. It will remove some tarnish but for antique pieces, you may need to work it off with cream first.
Price at time of publish: $15
Type: Liquid | Amount: 10 ounces | Scent: Unscented | Uses: Silver
Connoisseurs Silver Wipes
Needs water for best results
Wipes are almost always a more expensive option, but they are so convenient to have on-the-go that many people choose to have at least a few on hand for situations where they want to clean or shine a piece quickly with minimal mess. Each box contains 10 wipes that measure 6 x 7 inches. This is large enough for a few pieces of flatware or jewelry, but may not be the best option for larger pieces or those with a lot of tarnish.
The wipes remove tarnish and provide a barrier that protects against future tarnishing. They also polish and shine. While the wipes are dry, you'll still need to wet your pieces before using them in order to get the best results. Then rinse and dry to see the high shine. If you’re using it on flatware, the rinsing step is especially critical because the wipes contain chemicals.
Price at time of publish: $10
Type: Wipes | Amount: 10 | Scent: Unscented | Uses: Silver
Best Foam Cleaner
W. J. Hagerty Silver Foam Silver Cleaner
Easy to use when washing dishes
Not as irritating for skin
Works on a variety of surfaces
Not great for heavily tarnished items
May require scrubbing
This foam cleanser is great to have on hand after you use your silver pieces, such as serving dishes or flatware. Tarnish is often caused by food residue on silver and this foam works in place of dish soap to target those contaminants and provide a protective barrier. It also shines your silver items to a high shine.
It can be used to clean and polish antique silver, sterling silver, plated silver, and even gold. It is extra-mild so you don’t need to worry about it irritating your hands while you apply it, rinse it away, and dry your pieces. While it's smart to always wear gloves, this foam is milder than many other silver polishes. For some heavily tarnished items, you may need to scrub a bit, especially if they have intricate designs. An old toothbrush or a soft cloth can make this step much easier.
Price at time of publish: $26
Type: Foam | Amount: 19 ounces | Scent: Unscented | Uses: Sterling silver, plated silver, and gold
Best Polishing Cloth
Goddard's Silver Polishing Cloth
Effective for routine polishing
Must be replaced periodically
Not great for heavy tarnish
This Goddard's cloth doesn’t clean silver as well as some heavier duty solutions, but it does provide a high shine polish with minimal work and scrubbing. The reusable cloth measures 17.5 x 13 inches, larger than silver cleaning wipes. While it can remove some light tarnish, it isn’t the best choice for antique or heavily tarnished silver. For routine upkeep and polishing, this is the easiest and least messy way to go.
It's important to note that you should not put any polishing cloth in the laundry. They have a polishing solution in the fibers and washing them will remove that benefit. If the cloth does get dirty, you will need to replace it. You should also replace the cloth periodically because frequent use will use up the embedded polishing agents. Each cloth can be used for months or even years, depending on how often you polish your pieces and how many you have.
Price at time of publish: $14
Type: Cloth | Amount: 1 | Scent: Unscented | Uses: Silver
Best for Jewelry
Connoisseurs Premium Edition Silver Jewelry Cleaner
Easy to use
Safe for silver
Good for small, delicate jewelry
Not safe for all stones
Not good for gold
Jewelry is often smaller and more delicate than other silver pieces, which is why a liquid cleaner, such as Connoisseurs Premium Edition silver cleaner is ideal. You only need to submerge your silver jewelry for a maximum of 10 seconds. The container has a built-in basket so that you can lower your pieces, even chains and small earrings, let them soak, and lift them back out to rinse in water.
To use this cleaner, you can submerge your silver jewelry and rinse the dirt and tarnish away. Keep in mind that it is not safe for all types of jewelry and settings, including those with pearls or other porous stones. Connoisseurs also has a silver-safe polishing cloth that you can purchase to let you shine and polish just the silver parts of your jewelry—although you’ll still want to take great care when cleaning your treasured jewels.
Price at time of publish: $6
Type: Liquid | Amount: 9.6 ounces | Scent: Unscented | Uses: Silver
Best for Flatware
Weiman Silver Polish and Cleaner
Easy to apply
Polishing cloth included
Creates protective barrier to prevent tarnish
Needs to be rinsed away thoroughly
Cleaning sterling silver or silver plated flatware can be a chore. That’s why before your dinner party, you’ll need to grab Weiman’s Silver Cleaner and Polish. It only needs slight scrubbing and comes with a polishing cloth to deliver a high shine as the last step. The formula is ammonia-free and gentle enough for silver. Just make sure to rinse it thoroughly before using your forks and knives to eat.
The formula contains an anti-tarnish agent. And it works like magic! This creates a barrier that prevents future tarnish from forming. While washing your flatware with a cleaner made for silver immediately after using it is the best way to prevent tarnish, the barrier makes cleaning in between uses less frequent! And we’re all about working smarter, not harder!
Price at time of publish: $9
Type: Liquid | Amount: 8 ounces | Scent: Unscented | Uses: Silver
Best for Antique Silver
W. J. Hagerty Silversmiths' Polish
Long history of product development and testing
Easy to apply
Safe for thin and fragile surfaces
Need application and buffing cloths
W. J. Hagerty has been making silver polish since 1895, so the company really knows a thing or two about how to clean, polish, and protect silver pieces for the long haul. The Silversmiths’ Silver Polish is a liquid formula that is safe for silver serving pieces, jewelry, flatware, and even instruments. If you find your great aunt’s heirloom artifacts tucked in the attic, this is a good option to clean and provide a protective barrier.
You’ll need an application cloth as well as water to rinse away the dirt, tarnish, and excess solution. We recommend a microfiber cloth, especially if your items have small pieces, intricate designs, or delicate areas. Not only will the microfiber provide a soft surface to buff with, but it can also reduce lint and other exposures. You may also want to use scrubbing brushes from W. J. Hagerty, sold separately, which are soft enough for silver pieces.
Price at time of publish: $12
Type: Liquid | Amount: 8 ounces | Scent: Slightly sweet | Uses: Silver
Best for Heavy Tarnish
Tarn-X Tarnish Remover
Works on heavily tarnished pieces
Need protective gear
Can create fumes
First off, Tarn-X Tarnish Remover is some heavy-duty tarnish remover so only use it if your piece is so tarnished that any other cleaners won’t get the job done. If you do have some really stubborn buildup, Tarn-X tarnish remover may be the solution. To use it, apply it with a cotton ball to your silver pieces and work it into the silver. The tarnish should come off onto the cotton ball. Then, rinse the piece following the application. Never soak the piece in Tarn-X, or let it sit on the surface for more than 2 minutes.
And, of course, you should wear gloves and ventilate your space when using this cleaner. When tarnish comes off, hydrogen sulfide is created, which can be pretty smelly. It’ll stink just like rotten eggs. Because the fumes are so strong, it’s advisable to work in smaller areas and allow yourself to get fresh air between applications. It’s also important to rinse each item thoroughly after you use Tarn-X. While this stuff is a miracle worker, you need to know that you can’t use this solution on gold or diamonds. Just read the instructions thoroughly before using.
Price at time of publish: $9
Type: Liquid | Amount: 12 ounces | Scent: Unscented | Uses: Sterling silver, silver plate, platinum, copper, gold, diamonds
Ready to break out your fancy silverware? We hope so! Our top pick is Wright’s Silver Cleaner and Polish Cream. The formula won’t scratch. and it’s great at getting rid of dirt and tarnish, while also polishing and creating a protective barrier. For larger scale use that is even more affordable, consider Goddard’s Silver Cleaner Dip, which requires almost no scrubbing or buffing.
What to Look for in a Silver Polish
Liquid silver polishes are common because you can work them into large or small areas, as well as intricate designs. They can be applied with a soft cloth or brush, then rinsed away. Creams and foams are very similar but usually take more elbow grease to work into the silver. While dips can create additional mess and aren’t always as effective on tarnish, they are the easiest to use—all you have to do is submerge your pieces in the solution. For our Best Budget, we’re loving Goddard’s Silver Cleaner Dip, which is super cost effective and great for items in bulk.
Look for silver polish that is cost effective and won’t require a lot to treat your silver items. Liquids and creams often come in smaller containers—you only need a small amount to be effective. Dips are usually larger containers because you will need to pour out the solution into another dish to submerge your items. Silver jewelry cleaners are often the smallest because they have trays built in that can hold delicate pieces, like dainty chains and stud earrings.
Ingredients and Compatibility
Silver cleaner and polish should be ammonia-free and scratch-resistant. Many jewelry cleaners and other metal polishes are not safe for silver because they can scratch or damage the finish. Look for something that is specially formulated for silver. That means that it may not be best or safe for other metals, although some silver polishes can be used on pewter, chrome, copper, or even gold. Always check for the recommended use before trying it on a new surface.
How do you clean heavily tarnished silver?
Tarnish forms when the ingredients in silver react with sulfur in the air or in things that are put on the surface, such as some foods. To remove tarnish, you need to strip away the layer that has formed. This can be done by removing it with a chemical, such as a silver dip or cleaner. Some cleaners work best when combined with a scrubbing action. Finally, rinse away the tarnish with warm water and dry the piece.
“There are several ways to prevent tarnish with jewelry,” says Laura Elizabeth, owner and designer of luxury jewelry line Laura Elizabeth Jewelry. “One way is to store it in a cool, dry place. When silver is exposed to oxygen or moisture it tarnishes. Place your jewelry in a zip top baggie. Squeeze all the oxygen out. This protects your jewelry from moisture as well as any environmental issues such as touching other metal and perfumes.”
Can you wash a silver polishing cloth?
No, silver polishing cloths have polishing agents embedded in the fibers that make them effective. If you wash them, these agents are removed, and the cloth won’t polish. Once your silver polishing cloth is too dirty to use, you’ll need to replace it. Silver polishing cloths will also need to be replaced once the polishing agents are used up, and it no longer creates a highly polished shine on your silver surfaces.
How do you polish silver without a silver polish?
A simple DIY soap and water solution can do a lot to clean and shine silver pieces. Most are gentle enough to use on silver, although you should be careful to use a non-scratch sponge or cloth. Always try a new cleaning solution on a small, inconspicuous area first to make sure it will not damage your treasures. A microfiber cloth can also help create a highly polished shine on your silver.
Why Trust The Spruce?
This article was researched and written by Katie Melynn, a freelance writer specializing in home and family products. She has been writing for The Spruce since 2019.
Having grown up helping her mother polish an inherited silver tea service periodically, she was thrilled to find options that didn’t require hours of scrubbing. When researching the best silver polishes, she looked for products that could spiff up small pieces like jewelry as well as larger serving pieces and heirlooms. She also talked to jewelry designer Laura Elizabeth, who showcases sterling silver along with other precious metals in her line of sustainable luxury jewelry.