Whether you’re dealing with jewelry or flatware, polishing silver is essential to maintain the look and lifespan of this delicate metal. While there are DIY cleaning solutions that use ingredients and supplies you can find at home, nothing beats the convenience and effectiveness of silver polishes.
To find the best silver polishes, we spent hours researching various silver cleaning products while considering factors such as type, formula, and function. We also spoke to Casey Fahey, restorer and head polisher of East Village Bangles; Esme Rogers-Evans, expert jewelry designer at Duxford Studios; and Alessandro Gazzo of Emily’s Maids, for product recommendations and tips on what to look for. They also explained how silver polish cleaners actually work:
“Silver tarnishes over time as it oxidizes when exposed to sulfur compounds in the air, causing otherwise brilliant silver to appear dim and dirty,” says Fahey. “Fortunately, this is only skin deep as silver polish reverses the surface layer of oxidation, revealing the shine underneath.”
Our top pick is Goddard’s Silver Polish Foam for its all-around versatility, cleaning power, and ability to protect silver from future tarnish buildup.
Here are the best silver polishes, along with tips on how to keep your silver items in mint condition for years to come.
Our Top Picks
Best Overall Silver Polish: Goddard’s Silver Polish Foam
Who it’s for: People who want an effective silver polish that works on any type of silver item.
Who it isn’t for: People who prefer to polish silver with just a cloth.
Goddard’s Silver Polish Foam is our top choice for its versatility, deep-cleaning power, and ability to protect your silver. It’s effective at cleaning everything from jewelry to silverware to cookware to coins—and it’s also Fahey’s go-to silver polish. Although the formula was developed over 140 years ago, it has been perfected to clean and restore silver while protecting it from degradation caused by environmental effects. The long-lasting silver polish foam can remove tarnish without any hard buffing or scrubbing, leaving your silver products sparkling in no time. It even comes with a detailed sponge applicator.
As is the case with most silver polishes, rinsing your item after applying the polish and then drying immediately with a soft cloth will yield the best results. For those who want to use this polish for cutlery and cookware, it’s important to wash your items before using them to handle food. In addition to this 18-ounce jar, the silver polish is also available in a smaller 6-ounce size.
- Type: Foam
- Size/Quantity: 6 or 18 ounces
Price at time of publish: $17
Best Silver Polish Cream: Wright’s Silver Cream
Who it’s for: People who are looking for a gentle yet versatile formula.
Who it isn’t for: People who want a heavy-duty polish that doesn’t require scrubbing.
Thanks to its gentle and ammonia-free formula, Wright’s Silver Cream is a mild yet versatile silver polish cream. This cleaner is safe to use on silver jewelry with diamonds and gemstones, as well as stainless steel, chrome, and porcelain. While this polish does require a bit more elbow grease to thoroughly clean most items, it’s able to remove tarnish from sterling silver.
This formula is gentle enough to test out, remove tarnish, and reveal some shine without scratching or harming silver products. Gazzo recommends this pick as his preferred silver polish (next to DIY cleaning). This silver cream also comes with a sponge applicator for precise cleaning, making its budget-friendly price even more impressive.
- Type: Cream
- Size/Quantity: 8 ounces
Price at time of publish: $5
Best Heavy-Duty Silver Polish: Weiman Silver Polish
Also available at Ace Hardware.
Who it’s for: People with extremely tarnished silver or metal items.
Who it isn’t for: People who prefer to use unscented cleaning products.
Polishing silver and other metals can take some effort—especially if you’re trying to restore them to their former glory—but Weiman’s Silver Polish is heavy-duty enough to buff away major discoloration and tarnish, leaving behind a brilliant shine and coat of protection. In addition to silver, this liquid polish can revive dull metals like copper, gold, platinum, titanium, brass, and aluminum. Whether you need to polish antique silverware and teapots or delicate jewelry with precious gemstones, this cleaner leaves behind an immense sparkle and shine.
While this powerful silver polish is ammonia-free, note that it does have a subtle floral scent. Its non-scratch formula makes it versatile and safe for several surfaces as long as you rinse the item with water and dry it immediately with a clean absorbent cloth.
- Type: Liquid
- Size/Quantity: 8 ounces
Price at time of publish: $9
Best Silver Polish Cloth: Hagerty Silversmiths’ Gloves
Who it’s for: People who want a way to polish silver that requires minimal cleanup.
Who it isn’t for: People who are looking for a cream or liquid cleaner.
Dry cloths are essential for polishing silver—they can remove any excess water or solution and add a layer of shine to the surface. We like the Hagerty Silversmiths’ Gloves because they allow precision while polishing and require minimal cleanup. The gloves are made of a soft and absorbent heavy-gauge terry cloth that can withstand several cleanings. They’re also expert-approved: Fahey always has these in his toolkit to gently massage silver jewelry and other items.
These gloves can clean, polish, and prevent tarnish on sterling, gold, and silver-plated items. But once they’ve reached the end of their lifespan, these gloves should be replaced rather than washed. However, you may find success with washing them and applying a separate polish cleaner.
- Type: Cloth gloves
- Size/Quantity: 1 pair
Price at time of publish: $20
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Best Silver Polish for Jewelry: Silvo Tarnish Guard Metal Polish Wadding
Who it’s for: People who want a silver polish that works wonders on jewelry.
Who it isn’t for: People who prefer a liquid or foam product.
Keeping silver jewelry in mint condition, especially antique pieces or those with frequent exposure to the elements, can be a time-consuming task. Luckily, Silvo’s Tarnish Guard is a gentle yet effective silver polish for jewelry. Rogers-Evans appreciates this cleaner for its ability to quickly remove tarnish, brighten up jewelry, and add a layer of protection. “I also love that it can be used on a range of precious metals including gold, aluminum, chrome, and electroplate,” she says.
Unlike the other silver polishes on our list, this product is cotton wadding, which is rope-like cotton soaked in a solution that can be torn off to clean your silver rings, necklaces, bracelets, and more. While this is one of the more costly silver polish cleaners on our list, it is definitely worth the price for those looking for a powerful cleaner for jewelry.
- Type: Wadding
- Size/Quantity: 2.6 ounces
Price at time of publish: $15
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Best Silver Polish Wipes: Connoisseurs Silver Wipes
Who it’s for: People who want a mess-free silver polish that doesn’t require drying or treating their silver after polishing it.
Who it isn’t for: People who want to take their time polishing their silver items.
For the quickest and most convenient way to clean silver, look no further than Connoisseurs Silver Wipes. These dry and disposable wipes are non-abrasive and do not require any post-treatment or rinsing on silver items. A single wipe can clean up to four five-piece flatware sets, two to three small items, or one to two large pieces (like teapots or serving platters).
While not as thorough as creams and liquids, these silver polishing wipes are loved for their mess-free cleanup that leaves your items with an effortless sparkle. There’s also an invisible anti-tarnish coating that protects silver from future buildup. Unlike the other polishes on our list, these wipes will work best on purely silver items that do not include other stones and metals such as diamonds or gold.
- Type: Wipes
- Size/Quantity: 10 count
Price at time of publish: $9
Best Silver Polish for Silverware: Hagerty Flatware Silver Dip
Who it’s for: People who want an easy way to polish silverware.
Who it isn’t for: People who need a heavy-duty silver polish that doesn’t require a lot of scrubbing.
Hagerty’s Flatware Silver Dip has a strong reputation for effectively cleaning, shining, and protecting forks, spoons, and knives. Simply remove the inner basket and place tarnished silverware inside, then place it back in the tube filled with the cleaning solution. Wait up 10 seconds before taking the basket out. Then, rinse your flatware in cool water and dry with a soft cloth.
While this cleaner does not work on stainless steel, it can clean other silver items besides cutlery. You can also opt to dip a clean toothbrush into the solution and use it to polish large silver items like holloware. This product is best suited for lightly tarnished silver items that don’t need heavy scrubbing or wiping.
- Type: Liquid dip
- Size/Quantity: 16.9 ounces
Price at time of publish: $16
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Our top pick is Goddard’s Silver Polish Foam for its overall cleaning power that works on a variety of silver items. We also like that it’s a long-lasting product that removes tarnish and leaves silver sparkling. For those who need something more powerful, we recommend Weiman’s Silver Polish because it’s a heavy-duty liquid formula that cleans extremely tarnished items.
How to Shop for Silver Polish Like a Pro
Silver polishes come in various forms, including foam, cream, liquid, disposable wipes, wadding, and cloth. Choosing the right type could depend on the type of silver item you’re cleaning (like cutlery, jewelry, or cookware) and whether or not you need a heavy-duty cleaner. You should also consider the cleanup process for the product you choose. For example, using a cream polish might be more effective, but will leave behind more of a mess.
Unlike other cleaning products, silver polishes aren’t usually available in non-toxic or plant-based formulas (except for DIY solutions made of household ingredients). Gazzo recommends looking for silver polishes that are ammonia- and phosphate-free and wearing gloves and/or a mask if you have sensitivities.
While many silver polishes are versatile enough to use on several surfaces, others are catered to specific uses and items, like a silver polish cleaner that’s designed for jewelry. All of the experts we spoke to also agree that it’s best to spot-test your silver items, especially for plated pieces (which have a metal base and a thin top layer of silver).
“Always be mindful with silver-plated pieces,” says Gazzo. “Dip them in the product very briefly and always rinse with water and dry them immediately with a soft cloth.”
Questions You Might Ask
How does silver polish work?
According to the experts we spoke to, silver polishes work by reversing the chemical reaction that causes tarnish to occur by using ingredients like sodium carbonate. Fahey says the black color on tarnished silver is caused by an accumulation of silver sulfide.
“Silver polish is meant to rub off silver sulfide from the surface of silver, returning the piece to its original shine,” says Rogers-Evans. “It may sound shocking that the polish removes some of the silver, but it’s only a very fine layer that isn’t visible to the eye.”
How do you use silver polish?
The recommended instructions on how to use a silver polish will almost always be found on the cleaner’s label, but as a rule of thumb, Fahey recommends applying a sparing amount and gently massaging the cleaner onto your silver item. Then, let it sit for anywhere from several seconds up to a few minutes to allow the chemical reaction to take place. For detailed work, you can use a clean, soft-bristled toothbrush.
After rising your silver items with cool water, always dry them with a soft towel. Gazzo says it’s important to make sure your items are completely dry before storing them, preferably in a place with indirect sunlight and proper airflow.
How often should you use silver polish?
Silver polishes only need to be used occasionally. You can use them whenever your silver items start to appear dingy and look like they need a bit of a shine. If the silver is exposed to elements like sulfur and chlorine, says Fahey, your items might need to be polished lightly.
Both Gazzo and Roger-Evans agree that the best way to keep your silver sparkling is to take preventive measures that delay tarnishing, like storing jewelry in an airtight box when not being worn and never showering, swimming, or exercising with it.
“Sensitive types of metals like silver should be stored away from moisture, checking them occasionally to ensure they’re looking good,” says Gazzo.
Take Our Word for It
This article was written by L. Daniela Alvarez, a contributing writer for Real Simple with nearly three years of experience writing about lifestyle content and product reviews. To compile this list, she spent hours researching silver polishes. She also received tips on how to shop for silver polishes from Casey Fahey, restorer and head polisher of East Village Bangles; Esme Rogers-Evans, jewelry designer at Duxford Studios; and Alessandro Gazzo of Emily’s Maids.