Though you shouldn't use it every time you clean your silver, vinegar is an effective tarnish remover. When used too often, the acid in vinegar can create imperfections in the silver. Nothing beats vinegar, however, for restoring shine and luster to silver pieces that have been neglected and are overdue for a polish. Once you've removed the tarnish from your pieces, be sure to store them in such a manner that helps prevent future tarnish, so they won't need repeated vinegar treatments.
If your silver looks dull and tarnished, Reader's Digest recommends mixing white vinegar and baking soda in a bowl. Set your silver in the mixture and leave it to soak for about three hours. Rinse the silver in cold water and then dry it thoroughly with a cotton cloth.
The Mother Nature Network uses a different recipe to polish silver. Line a heat-proof bowl or pot with aluminum foil, making sure the shiny side faces up. Combine water and vinegar at a ratio of 1 cup of vinegar to 1 quart of water, until you have enough liquid to completely cover the silver. Bring the vinegar-and-water mixture to a boil on the stove and then drop your silver into it. Allow it to boil for 5 minutes and then turn off the stove. Carefully remove the hot silver with tongs and rinse it in hot water. Dry with a soft cotton cloth.
The professional cleaning staff at Mrs Clean recommend polishing tarnished silver with a thick paste. This method is excellent for cups, bowls and other silver pieces that do not have a lot of nooks and crannies. Mix together vinegar, salt and flour to make the paste; then spread it on your silver. Allow the paste to sit for about 20 minutes before removing it with a soft cloth soaked in warm water. Use a second cotton cloth to dry and polish the silver.
Avoid Potential Tarnish
Store your silver in a
Use Storage Bags
Special bags and cloths are available at jewelry stores, antique dealers and online that are made specifically for storing silver; the materials from which they're made help reduce tarnish buildup. When you use them, make sure the entire piece is covered -- any silver that sticks out of the bag or extends out of the cloth could tarnish.
Purchase Tarnish Strips
Manufactured by 3M, anti-tarnish strips are small pieces of paper designed for storage with silver. Whether you wrap them in with your silver or set them in a display case next to it, these strips help stop your silver from tarnishing, Provide one strip for every cubic foot of air space and change the strips every 6 months for best results.
When silver is properly stored, it tales only a few minutes to polish it with a soft cotton cloth. Give your silver a quick buff now and again to keep it shiny and tarnish-free. Wear cotton gloves when you do so to avoid fingerprints.