How to Clean a Silver Tea Set

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Things You'll Need

  • Hot water

  • Salt

  • Baking soda

  • Aluminum foil

  • Toothbrush

  • Towel


Polish your silver tea set twice a year. Toothpaste (not gel) can work as a silver cleaner in a pinch.


Never try to clean silver in the dishwasher. Silver can be destroyed by olives, eggs, vinegar, salad dressing, fruit juices and even table salt. Never wear rubber gloves when cleaning silver. Exposure to rubber will corrode silver.

Tarnished Silver Tea Set

Whether your silver tea set is a family heirloom, or one you lucked into finding at a yard sale, it is bound to show some tarnish over time. Silver will tarnish when exposed to air. It will tarnish at a more rapid pace when exposed to damp or humid air. You can buy professional silver cleaners, but it is easier and better for the environment to use natural products to clean your silver tea set.

Step 1

Fill your sink with hot water. Place a sheet of aluminum foil over the bottom of your sink.

Step 2

Whisk in 2 tablespoons of baking soda and 2 tablespoons of salt. Place the silver tea set in the sink and allow to sit for 5 minutes. It is best to clean one piece of the tea set at a time. Salt can be used in cleaning with the aluminum foil because the combination of salt, aluminum foil and water creates a chemical reaction known as ion exchange. The ion exchange causes the tarnish on the silver to be transferred to the foil.

Step 3

Remove the silver tea set and dry with a soft towel. Do not air dry, as extended exposure to water will cause the silver to tarnish.

Step 4

Inspect the silver tea set. If you still see tarnished areas, you can make a thin paste of baking soda and water. Apply the paste in a back and forth motion with a soft cloth. Rinse and dry with a towel.


Robin Neorr

Robin Neorr has been working as a full-time freelance writer since 2007. She has written for various websites including The Frisky. Before she started her writing career, she spent 10 years in media marketing. She has a bachelor's degree in communications and a master's degree in communications management from John Carroll University.