How to Clean a Silver Chafing Dish

Hunker may earn compensation through affiliate links in this story. Learn more about our affiliate and product review process here.
Chafing dishes are great for serving and keeping food warm.
Image Credit: sokoziurke/iStock/GettyImages

Chafing dishes can be great for serving food and keeping food warm during a party or event. Chafing comes from the French word chauffer, which means to make warm. It consists of a metal pan with an outer pan of hot water that keeps food warm for several hours as it is being served. The serving pan is on a stand with an alcohol burner containing chafing fuel below it keeping it warm. There are several ways to make your own silver polish with household products to keep your chafing dish shiny and new.


Try Ketchup

Ketchup may not be the first home cleaning remedy that comes to mind for cleaning silver, but it gets the job done. The acid in the tomatoes is thought to react with the oxidizing of the tarnished silver, making it an effective cleaner.

Video of the Day

The Huffington Post suggests allowing the ketchup to sit on the silver for five to 10 minutes. Do not leave it on for any longer because of the acidity of the tomatoes and vinegar could potentially cause damage. Spread a small amount of ketchup on with a paper towel. Rub it gently. You can also clean it with a toothbrush if there are stubborn tarnish spots or crevices. Rub the ketchup off with a soft cloth or paper towel and rinse it clean with warm water. This can also be a great method for cleaning silver jewelry as well.


Use Lemon Juice

Better Homes and Gardens suggests using lemon juice to clean silver. It is especially good for removing water stains. Pour a small amount of concentrated lemon juice on a microfiber cloth. Rub and polish until water stains are gone. As a bonus, this will leave your chafing dish with a lingering lemony fresh scent.


Make Cornstarch Paste

You can make a cleaning paste of cornstarch and water to clean antique silver warming dishes. Reader's Digest suggests adding a few tablespoons of water to the cornstarch. Add it slowly to make it a paste-like consistency that's not too watery. Apply the paste with a damp cloth or paper towel.


Allow it to dry for several minutes. Rub it off with a mildly abrasive towel like a rough towel or a cheesecloth. You can also substitute cream of tartar for cornstarch, which is equally as effective.

Use Vinegar

Vinegar works wonders cleaning so many household items and cleaning silver serving dishes is one of them. Line the bottom of your kitchen sink with aluminum foil with the shiny side up. Better Homes and Gardens recommends mixing 1 tablespoon baking soda and 1 tablespoon kosher salt to the aluminum-lined sink. Add in 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar. The vinegar will cause some fizzing and bubbling as the ingredients mix. Add 1 to 2 cups of boiling water. You may need to double or triple the recipe because the entire chafing dish needs to be submerged in the cleaning solution.


Soak the chafing dish for 30 seconds to three minutes depending on how severe the tarnishing is. Remove the dish with tongs to prevent burning your hands. Allow it to dry and cool. Once cool, buff it.

Try these homemade silver polish if you want an alternative to store bought polishes. The results will speak for themselves.



Report an Issue

screenshot of the current page

Screenshot loading...