Ammonia-free. Non-scratch formula will not damage silver. Leaves behind a protective coating to reduce future tarnish. Can also be used on pewter, steel, chrome, and even to repair scratched CDs and DVDs. Comes with polishing cloth.
Application and use can be a bit messy and involved.
Convenient wipe-and-rinse formula doesn't need rubbing or scrubbing. Safely cleans without damage. Works on variety of precious metals as well as gems and jewelry. Can be used as a cleaning dip for small items.
Unpleasant odor. Do not leave items to soak for long.
Made from 100% cotton fiber. Works for both silver and platinum. Treated with environmentally friendly materials. Can be used on jewelry. Large size. No mess. The white part of the cloth is treated and can be used many times. Best for jewelry or small items.
Good for silver, but cannot clean many other stones or copper, brass, or stainless steel.
Convenient. Removes tarnish effectively. Also works on other precious metals. Works quickly. Easy to use. Very tarnished silver gets clean with these wipes. Brings antiques back to life. Easy to apply. Very little mess.
This product is a little pricey, considering there are only 20 one-time use wipes in each jar.
Although gentle, this polish does a good job bringing back the luster to most silver items that are soiled, tarnished, or need polished. Also protects metal and helps prevent tarnish from returning.
May not totally eliminate major tarnish. Difficult to remove from crevices on intricate pieces. Has an offensive odor.
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With its highly reflective shine and lustrous finish, silver is used to make items that are both practical for daily use and treasured for their beauty, including flatware and jewelry. However, because pure silver is soft, it is usually combined with other metals. This creates an alloy that maintains the metal’s beauty but is prone to tarnishing. Luckily, tarnish is easy to remove with a silver cleaner.
Silver cleaners restore silver’s mirror-like shine. Some formulas, such as those with abrasive chemicals, are best suited for seriously tarnished items, but there are also gentler options and chemical-free, non-toxic formulas available. Our shopping guide is chock-full of information, tips, and product recommendations for caring for your silver items.
Most silver items are actually an alloy, which means that the silver is mixed with another metal to make it strong enough for everyday use or wear. Although other metals are sometimes used, copper is most commonly combined with fine silver to create a more durable alloy. When exposed to air, the alloy tarnishes in reaction to sulfur, pollutants, and moisture. The result is a dull, darkened, or even dirty appearance to what was once a brilliant shine.
Silver is found in nature in the form of ore or as a byproduct of refining other metals. Fine silver is often referred to as 999, which means it is 99.9% pure silver. While it is used to make some small trinkets and bullion, fine silver is very soft. It doesn’t tarnish.
When silver is mixed with other metals, it becomes an alloy. Sterling silver is the most common alloy used to make jewelry and a wide variety of tableware, and it is almost always mixed with copper for lasting durability. Sterling silver is also referred to as 925, which means it is 92.5% silver and 7.5% other metals. However, some sterling contains a bit more silver: 95% or 950.
This term is simply used to describe the types of silver that are used to make coins. This silver also primarily contains copper with a varying percentage of silver, about 75% to 90% for a 750 to 900 rating.
Plating is a process that involves coating a base metal with a thin layer of silver. Overlay is a similar process. While silver-plated items are beautiful, they must be handled with care as the silver layer can wear away over time, exposing the base metal beneath. They may be inscribed with the words “plate” or “silverplate.”
You may come across an item that is made of a silver alloy from another country. Russian, Mexican, British, and German pieces typically contain varying amounts of silver and other metals, but they are similar in nature to standard sterling silver.
Any type of silver alloy can benefit from a silver cleaner once it tarnishes. However, keep in mind that plated items must be cleaned gently to avoid wearing down the silver layers.
Dips, which are sometimes called baths, are liquid solutions designed for dipping and soaking silver items with various degrees of tarnish. Some solutions come with trays for coating small pieces like rings or pendants. Items like flatware can be dipped, and larger pieces can be wiped with the liquid. Most dips require rinsing, and some include polishing cloths. Although the liquid can be a bit messy, dips are highly effective at removing even stubborn tarnish.
When it comes to convenience, wipes are at the top of the list. They are infused with a silver cleaning solution and come in canisters so you can pop them out one at a time. Many consumers love the fact that wipes aren’t messy to use. They also work well on most types of tarnish, are suitable for sterling silver and plated items, and can be used on numerous other materials without the need to rinse after wiping.
If you have a major tarnish-removing job to accomplish, you should consider using a silver polish. Also referred to as silver creams, these cleaners work almost like car wax. Rub them on and buff them off to reveal a beautiful shine. The downside is that they are more labor-intensive to use, and because they require some rubbing, they can be harsh on silverplate. The final step requires thorough rinsing for the best results.
These types of silver cleaners aren’t as readily available as other methods, but they have some notable features. Foams work similarly to polishes in that you work them into a lather, then apply in a rubbing motion. However, they are somewhat easier to wipe off. They also work well for heavily tarnished items, but caution must be taken when applying to silverplate. Rinsing is recommended.
For light silver cleaning tasks, cloths are very handy. They typically have two sides, one with an embedded silver cleaner to remove tarnish and one for buffing and polishing. Cloths work well for small items or occasional tarnish removal, but they aren’t as versatile when it comes to cleaning other metals or severe tarnish. Care must also be taken not to rub too vigorously over silver plating.
Silver sprays are ideal for cleaning larger items that can’t easily be dipped. Many formulas are safe to use on silverplate, as you simply spray it on and wipe off to get great results. Many sprays don’t require rinsing.
The prices of silver cleaners vary a bit, but they are all quite affordable.
A. When it comes to small, tight crevices on sterling silver jewelry, it’s best to use a dip or bath. That’s because the fluid solution can easily reach areas that a cloth or wipe can’t.
A. Because silver cleaning wipes require very little rubbing, they are a good choice for wiping tarnish off silverplate. Just be sure to choose a quality product that doesn’t contain harsh chemicals for use on delicate or thinly plated items.
A. The answer depends on where you live. If your area is prone to humidity, using a silver cleaner on your flatware about once a month will keep the tarnish at bay. Otherwise, cleaning every few months should suffice so that your flatware is ready to use at your next gathering.
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