How To Polish Sterling Silver

Sharing how to polish sterling silver may not sound glamorous, but day to day chores are just as important as decorating is to me. It also puts me in the mood to create pretty tablescapes with silverware, that I didn’t actually polish.


How to polish sterling silver using this method.


When my daughter went to college, I let her take our stainless flatware, leaving me with the opportunity to go shopping. I thought I would use my grandmother’s silver, until I found something new that I liked better.

That was about ten years ago and guess what, I’m still using and loving the silverware every day. No need to buy something new when I have something this pretty.


How to polish sterling silver


We really do use my grandmother’s sterling silverware daily. When it starts getting a little dingy, I use this easy method with sparkling results.

How To Polish Sterling Silver

Line your sink with foil, place silver on top of foil, sprinkle 1/2 cup baking soda and 1/2 cup salt on top.  Then pour enough boiling water to completely cover the silver. A chemical reaction transfers the tarnish to the foil. No polishing required.


How to polish sterling silver


You may be wondering if you can use this method on silver plate. I would advise using it cautiously to avoid damaging the silver plate and maybe try it on a test piece.

Sterling Silver Or Silver Plate

Not sure if you have sterling silver or silver plate? Look at the back of the piece for the name of the manufacturer, a hallmark or stamp that says sterling. The spoon on the left is clearly silver plate and has areas where the silver is worn off exposing the sub-metal.

By researching the manufacturer you can sometimes find out what materials were used.


How to tell the difference between sterling and silver plate.


The spoon on the left has the manufacture’s name and is clearly stamped sterling.

Food for thought: you never know what you might find when shopping at flea markets or antique malls and sometimes these are mixed with the silver plate.


Examples of spoons - silver plate and sterling.


Mixing Patterns

I’m sure my grandmother had no idea, the silver she received as wedding gifts would still be used and enjoyed two generations later.


How to polish sterling silver for a pretty tablescape.


The silverware set is a combination of three different patterns. Evidently friends and family gave what was available at the time, which makes it all the more endearing. I’m guessing many of the knives disappeared over the years as they broke. We recently had one break, that I need to repair.


How to polish sterling silver for a casual table setting.


Yes the silverware is full of nicks and scratches, that too makes it more endearing to me. I can’t begin to imagine how many meals we have shared together using this silverware.


How to polish sterling silver the easy way.


Be sure to pin this for later, and follow Thistle Key Lane on Pinterest for more fun inspiration!


How to polish sterling silver quick and easy.


By the way, I also use the same method on my sterling silver jewelry and within seconds, it all looks new again.

To see some of my seasonal table settings click on Fall Tablescape or DIY Book Page Tablerunner.


How to polish sterling silver for afternoon tea.


Thanks so much for letting me share one my favorite treasures with you. What’s your favorite family heirloom? A photo perhaps, a piece of jewelry, or maybe a china piece? Let me know, I would love to hear your story!



©2019 How To Polish Sterling Silver post first appeared on Thistle Key Lane™.

8 thoughts on “How To Polish Sterling Silver

  1. Janet Lorusso says:

    How special to have your grandmothers silver! And the patterns are gorgeous – right down to the design on the back of the spoon bowl! I’ve used this method for cleaning silverplate before and it was quite effective (and saves the manicure!)

    • Michelle Meyer says:

      You are so right Janet, I’ve been using this method for years and it does save the manicure! Good to know you used it successfully on silver plate too.

  2. barbaramantelandtablecom says:

    So glad to have the “recipe” for this Michelle! I’ve heard about it before but was never quite sure exactly how to do it. I do a LOT of silver polishing, so this will be fabulous! Thanks so much!

  3. Candace says:

    Thanks so much for this post, Michelle! I have been searching for the best way to polish the silverware I inherited from my great-grandmother. One question: do you wash yours by hand or is it okay to run through the dishwasher?

    • Michelle Meyer says:

      Hi Candace, our dishwasher has a special rack for utensils at the very top, away from the heat element. I’ve had good luck washing the silverware in there, but you might want to test a few pieces first to see how they do.

    • Michelle Meyer says:

      The chemical reaction on takes a few seconds however due to the temperature of the water I let it cool for 5 to 10 minutes. Then I finish by washing and drying.

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