It doesn't take much for silver to lose its luster; simple exposure to the air can cause it to turn a dark tarnished shade giving it an ugly splotchy appearance. There are several commercial products that boast the ability to remove tarnish and restore your silver's shine, but for a price. If you're looking for a cheaper, safer, do-it-yourself option, there are ways to eliminate tarnish without paying more than it's worth.
Perhaps the easiest way to remove tarnish on silver items is to line a shallow dish or pan with aluminum foil. Make sure that the dish or pan isn't composed of stainless steel. Stainless steel and silver react to each other in a way that may permanently damage the silver. Place the silver objects in the dish on the aluminum foil and sprinkle baking soda liberally all over them. Pour enough hot water into the dish to completely cover the silver and allow it to sit until the water is cool enough for you to reach your hands in and pull out the silver. Polish the silver with a clean soft cloth and it should sparkle like new.
Another way to use baking soda to remove silver tarnish is to make a paste of baking soda and water and apply it to the silver. Allow it to dry, which should only take about 5 minutes, then wipe it off with a soft clean cloth. Buff the silver with the cloth after the paste is removed to restore its shine.
Apply a white toothpaste to a soft clean cloth. Don't use the gel kind; it won't work and may damage the silver. Coat the tarnished area with the toothpaste and allow it to dry, which only takes a few minutes. Rinse the silver with warm running water and buff it to shine with a soft clean dry cloth.
Place the silver object, if it's small enough, such as silverware or jewelry, into a bowl and cover the object with milk. The type of milk you use doesn't matter; just be sure to cover the silver completely. Allow the silver to soak for 10 to 20 minutes before rinsing it off in warm running water. Buff the silverware with a soft clean cloth to shine.
- Maryurys Connolly/Demand Media