I’m one of those weird people (full stop) who loves polishing silver. I dunno! To me, it’s just a very easy and satisfying job that ends with a bright shiny object in which one can admire one’s own reflection and I just enjoy the heck out of it.
But not everyone feels that way, which is sad for me but also understandable, so I rounded up five different products for polishing silver that can serve the silver polishing lovers among us, as well as the silver polishing deniers out there.
The Twinkle Silver Polish Kit will serve most people’s silver polishing needs just fine. It’s a cream-based polish, and it comes with an applicator sponge that can be stored inside the jar of polish. Twinkle is also very, very good! I find it’s a bit less messy to use a cream polish than lotion polish like Hagerty Silversmiths’ Polish or Weiman Silver Polish, but those products are also very, very good. They do not, however, come with an applicator, so you’d need a soft cloth to apply the polish to the silver. An old t-shirt or a lint-free cloth will be just right for the job.
If you’re looking for a more multi-purpose metal polish, get yourself a tube of Simichrome Polish. It’s safe to use on silver, but also on brass, gold, chrome, copper and stainless steel. A tiny little bit goes a long way; to use it, apply a pea-sized amount of the polish to a soft cloth and rub it in gently, in a circular motion, until you start to see luster. Then, wipe the polish and tarnish off and use a clean section of the cloth to buff the metal to a shine. If you use Simichrome on flatware or serving pieces, you should wash them in hot soapy water after polishing.
Goddard’s Silver polishing cloths are great for shining small or not-very-tarnished silver items quickly, and without needing water or household gloves. To use them, you simply rub the silver item vigorously with the polishing cloth, which will lift tarnish, and then buff it to a shine with a soft cloth. Silver polishing cloths are the thing you’ll want to use to shine up items that can’t be rinsed in water, like silver picture frames with photos in them. The cloth is treated with an anti-tarnishing agent that not only removes tarnish but also leaves a coating behind that will slow the rate of future tarnishing.
For larger silver polishing jobs — maybe you inherited a set of silver-plated flatware from granny, or picked up a large but very tarnished silver serving tray at an antiques store or flea market? — a dip will save you a lot of elbow grease. To use the Quick Shine dip, you’ll need bring enough water to completely submerge the silver item or items to a boil, then add a sachet (this set comes with four sachets). Allow the silver to soak in the solution and then rinse it well. You may need to follow up by spot treating any remaining patches of tarnish with a cream or lotion silver polish, but the dip will take away a lot of built-up tarnish and save you a lot of polishing time.
So look, tarnish is going to happen if you own silver, or silver-plated items. That’s just a fact of life! And a fact of silver! But, anti-tarnish storage bags exist in this world and if you absolutely hate the idea of polishing silver, you ought to know about them. Most often, anti-tarnish cloth bags are designed specifically to store flatware, but less structured anti-tarnish cloth bags that can hold larger items or a bunch of silver jewerly are fairly easy to locate too. You can also purchase bolts of anti-tarnish cloth if you want to sew your own bags or use the cloth to line a storage drawer.