How to Refurbish Silver Plated Items

Silver plate
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  • 01 of 03

    How to Refurbish Silver Plated Items

    tarnished silver tray
    Photo © Jami Delia

    Silver plated trays and other home items lose their shine and luster over time. Whether you have a silver plated platter handed down from your grandmother or you pick up one at a local thrift store, you can refurbish your items naturally (or with ​store-bought materials) to bring them back to life.

    To refurbish the silver plated item naturally, gather a few items you probably already have in your home to create a homemade silver cleaner. You'll need:

    • Salt
    • Baking soda
    • Water
    • Aluminum foil
    • Soft brush, such as a soft toothbrush or nail brush
    • Soft, clean, dry rags

    Or, pick up a silver polish and cream at your local discount or home improvement store.

    If you are planning on restoring an antique silver plated item or one that has a lot of sentimental value to you, make sure you research how to clean and polish the item correctly. Look on the back or bottom of the item to see if there are any markings or stickers that indicate the brand or type of item. Browse the internet or contact an antique shop or silver collector to find out more about the brand and type of silver to make sure there are (or are not) any special instructions for cleaning and polishing.

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  • 02 of 03

    Remove Price Tags and Stickers

    Soaking silver item in water until the sticker/price tag peels off easily.
    Photo © Jami Delia

    If you purchased your silver plated items from a thrift store or garage sale and the seller placed a sticky price tag on the silver, you must remove the sticker as soon as possible to prevent the sticky residue from ruining the silver finish.

    Soak the item in water to soften the price tag and then gently peel off the sticker. If any sticky residue remains, gently rub the area with a soft cloth or soft brush, such as a soft toothbrush or nail brush. If the sticky residue is being stubborn, try gently rubbing the area with gentle dish soap. Do use steel wool or other abrasive brushes to remove sticky residue since they can scratch the item and damage the silver.

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  • 03 of 03

    Remove Tarnish

    cleaned silver
    Photo © Jami Delia

    If Refurbishing Your Silver Plated Item Naturally:

    1. Clean out a sink or shallow bucket and fill the sink or bucket with hot water.
    2. Line the sink or bucket with aluminum foil.
    3. Pour in a teaspoon of salt and 1/4 cup of baking soda, and stir into water.
    4. Place silver plated item into the water, ensuring the entire item is covered in water. If you need to, add more water.
    5. Let the item sit in the water solution for five minutes.
    6. Check the item. If it does not look like the tarnish is coming off the item (rub your finger gently over an area to test whether the tarnish rubs off), let sit another few minutes.
    7. Drain the sink or bucket and rinse the silver plated item.
    8. Sprinkle another 1/4 cup of baking soda on the item.
    9. Gently scrub the item with a soft brush, such as a soft toothbrush or nail brush, maneuvering the baking soda into all crevices. After scrubbing the whole item, add a few teaspoons of water and gently scrub the item again to remove any excess tarnish.
    10. Rinse the item and gently polish with a clean, dry, soft rag.

    If Using a Store-Bought Silver Polish or Paste:

    1. Put on a pair of gloves to protect your skin from the chemicals.
    2. Apply some silver paste onto a soft, dry rag, and apply to the entire silver plated item in a circular motion.
    3. Rinse off the polish or paste with warm water and cleanse with a small amount of dishwashing soap. If the item has a lot of detailed engravings or designs, apply liquid silver polish to the area and gently rub with a rag or soft brush. Let sit for the recommended time on the bottle and rinse with water to remove the polish and tarnish.
    4. Dry off the item with a clean, dry, soft rag.