How to Clean and Polish Silver Jewelry at Home

Silver jewelry develops tarnish, a dull dark coating that detracts from your jewelry's usual shine. Preventing tarnish buildup makes the cleaning process simple and fast. Whether the jewelry needs a touch up or significant cleaning, learning the basics will prepare you to tackle the job. To clean and polish silver jewelry at home requires only basic supplies and household products. Cleaning your silver jewelry is a straightforward, nontoxic process. With the right items, you can clean silver jewelry quickly and confidently to keep it gleaming.

Making your own polish provides a green method for silver cleaning.

Step 1

Mix six drops of liquid soap such as Castile soap or mild dish washing soap in a 1/2 cup of warm water. Wet a soft cloth with the mixture and gently rub the silver jewelry.

Step 2

Rub all of the surface area of the silver jewelry with the cloth. Rinse the jewelry with cool water. Polish the silver by buffing it with a dry lint-free cloth such as microfiber or all-cotton T-shirt material.

Step 3

Mix equal parts of baking soda and warm water if any tarnish remains, or if the jewelry is heavily tarnished. Cleaning silver jewelry with the soap solution first reduces the risk of scratches from any debris that may be on the jewelry. Apply the baking soda paste with a clean lint-free cloth.

Step 4

Rub the baking soda silver polish into grooves and textures on the silver jewelry and on tarnish-prone areas near stone settings and jewelry catches. Use a fresh area of the cloth on each part of the jewelry when you're cleaning large or highly tarnished items. This avoids rubbing the removed tarnish on the silver.

Step 5

Rinse the silver jewelry with cool water when you've finished removing the tarnish. Use a dry lint-free cloth and buff the silver jewelry by rubbing it in short strokes with the cloth. This restores the luster of your silver jewelry.

Gryphon Adams

Gryphon Adams began publishing in 1985. He contributed to the "San Francisco Chronicle" and "Dark Voices." Adams writes about a variety of topics, including teaching, floral design, landscaping and home furnishings. Adams is a certified health educator and a massage practitioner. He received his Master of Fine Arts at San Francisco State University.