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What is the best silver cleaner?

Pure silver is naturally soft and often combined with other metals to protect its beauty. This combination, though, can lead to tarnishing that requires a silver cleaner to restore the original shine. Some cleaners have powerful chemicals for the most tarnished pieces, but there are less toxic, chemical-free options for everyday use.

For its scratch-free formula that can be used on silver and multiple other metals, the best silver cleaner is Wright’s Silver Cleaner and Polish Cream.

What to know before you buy silver cleaner

There are different types of silver

Most kinds of silver are combined with another metal, usually copper, to form an alloy. This combination can become tarnished by moisture or pollutants over time.

  • Sterling silver is mixed with copper and most found in jewelry and tableware. It is between 92.5%-95% pure silver. A similar combination is used for coin silver. Many silver products from other countries are made from this combination.
  • Plated silver is a thin layer of silver placed over a base of another metal. Silver-plated items are attractive but delicate, because the silver can wear off over time. They must be handled gently when cleaning. 
  • Antique silver is darker and used in jewelry that commonly has an oxidized finish. Extra care is needed to avoid removing the finish. Cleaning cloths gently applied to the jewelry are the best option.
  • Fine silver is used in trinkets and 99.9% pure silver. It is soft and won’t usually tarnish due to its purity.

There are different types of silver cleaner

  • Polish, also called cream, is reserved for large tarnish-removing jobs. It is wiped on and buffed out. It requires medium exertion and should be used sparingly on plated silver.
  • Wipes are easy to use and come in a single-serve format. They aren’t messy and can be used on most silver items.
  • Cloths are best suited for small items. One side has cleaning solution embedded in the fibers, and the other side is used for buffing.
  • Dips are excellent for deep tarnish removal. They are commonly used with flatware or rings. The item is submersed in the liquid and then either rinsed or rubbed with a cloth, as instructed.
  • Sprays work well on large items and even silver-plated pieces. They require wiping but no rinsing. Sprays are an easy method for distributing large volumes of silver cleaner at one time.

There are different ways to display silver

The best way to store and display silver is inside a glass case with an airtight door. This keeps air from circulating and protects your silver from moisture and pollutants. If you have to display or use a piece outside of the case, keep it away from the kitchen.

What to look for in silver cleaner

Cleaning method

Look for the method that is gentlest on your items and easiest for you to perform. Read the instructions carefully and always err on the side of gentle pressure.

Cleaning formula

Ammonia-based formulas are effective but can be harsh on your skin and the environment. There are many nontoxic, ammonia-free formulas available. Look for the cleaner that completes the job effectively but safely.

Cleaning other metals

Some silver cleaners also clean other metals like gold, copper, steel, brass and platinum. Review the instructions to make sure you can use it on other metals.

How much you can expect to spend on silver cleaner

Silver cleaners are priced between $4-$20 depending on the type of cleaner and the quantity per container.

  • Cleaning cloths are $5-$8.
  • Polishes and foams are $4-$15.
  • Dips are $8-$15, with full kits priced closer to $20.
  • Wipes are $6-$16 depending on the quantity per canister.
  • Sprays are $12-$17.

Silver cleaner FAQ

Can you make your own silver cleaner?

A. A simple solution of a half-cup of white vinegar and two tablespoons of baking soda creates a dip for items to be submerged in for one hour and then gently rubbed off. They should then be rinsed. Commercial products are still the better option, though, since they have been formulated for specific silver items.

What’s the best way to polish silver?

A. Always use a small amount of cleaner with a clean cloth or brush. Work the cleaner into your item in small circular motions that move vertically along the item. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for buffing and rinsing.

What’s the best silver cleaner to buy?                      

Top silver cleaner

Best Wright’s Silver Cleaner and Polish Cream

Wright’s Silver Cleaner and Polish Cream

What you need to know: From a long-trusted brand, this cleaner works on many metals and leaves a protective covering to prevent future tarnishing.

What you’ll love: The no-scratch formula is gentle on silver. Free of ammonia, the cream works on silver, steel, chrome, pewter and porcelain. It can even repair scratched DVDs and CDs. A polishing cloth is included.

What you should consider: Application can get messy and takes time to work through.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top silver cleaner for the money

Best Tarn-X Tarnish Remover

Tarn-X Tarnish Remover

What you need to know: This affordable polish works quickly with just one application and a follow-up rinse.

What you’ll love: No rubbing or scrubbing is required with the easy wipe-and-rinse process. It can be used as a cleaning dip for small items. It’s safe for gems and jewelry in addition to other silver items.

What you should consider: The odor is intense and unpleasant.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Home Depot

Worth checking out

Best Mayflower Products Pro Size Polishing Cleaning Cloth

Mayflower Products Pro Size Polishing Cleaning Cloth

What you need to know: This innovative cleaner is nontoxic and free of chemicals. It comes with two pre-treated cloths for the initial polish and follow-up.

What you’ll love: The cloths are made of cotton fiber and can be used on silver, gold and platinum. There is no mess to clean up. The cloths work well on all sizes of items. They are American made, with a 60-day return policy.

What you should consider: This cleaner is made primarily for silver and not other metals.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


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Steve Ganger writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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