Silver Polishing Cloths & Cleaner Recipe

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Similar idea to the pretreated dusting cloths, these homemade polishing cloths are for cleaning and removing tarnish from silver. You’ll also find a sour milk soak recipe at the bottom.

ShineItems Needed:

10″ to 12″ square soft cloths*
2 cups water (cool)
1/2 cup ammonia
1/4 cup liquid silver polish


  • Mix the liquid ingredients in a glass bowl or dish.
  • Take a clean cloth square and dip it in the solution, let it soak for a few seconds then lift out and squeeze to remove excess liquid (so it won’t drip when hanging to dry). Dip one at a time.
  • Hang dry. If hanging inside, make sure to choose an area out of reach of kids and pets and well ventilated.
  • Once they’re dry you can fold them and seal in a plastic container or ziploc bag.
  • Use to clean and buff your silver pieces as needed.

You can use these until they’re really grungy and no longer removing tarnish, they could be shredded at this point. If they’re good for another round or two, launder them well in hot water and detergent, re-dip in a fresh batch of the recipe and use again. Since they are first soaked in ammonia, I would skip using bleach in the laundry cycle.

Gloves: If you prefer using polishing gloves, you can do that with this recipe too. Buy heavy cotton gloves (no metal clasps at wrists, just elastic), soak in the solution, hang to dry and use as you would the cloths above.

*Fabric Ideas: Choose plain flannelette, diaper cloth, good quality terry (but not too thick) or heavy cotton napkins. For best results, make sure to finish or hem the edges before using.

Sour Milk Soak

*First published August 3, 2007 and moved to this page for better organization

PitcherIf you have a carton of milk that has expired, don’t toss it out because sour milk is a great silver cleaner.


  • For every cup of of milk, stir in one tablespoon lemon juice or one tablespoon vinegar and leave for five minutes so it sours.
  • If the milk is sour already, you can skip adding the lemon juice or vinegar.
  • Soak your pieces in the sour milk overnight (completely covered) and then wash as usual.

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What Readers Are Saying:
5 Comments to “Silver Polishing Cloths & Cleaner Recipe”
  1. Donald Judd says:

    I’d like to try the recipe but don’t know what exactly is meant by ‘liquid silver polish’ Do you mean something like Silvo or a dip type silver cleaner?

    • TipNut says:

      Hi Donald, it refers to silver polish that is bottled in liquid form.

      • Aaron says:

        I had the same question as Donald and TipNut, your answer gave me the first real laugh I have had in months.

        I am a retired chemist, I never thought to try this until I saw the price of commercial cloths and my wife told me to get some so I am grateful for the tip.

        I found numerous silver treatments in both liquid and paste form. Some are labeled simply as “tarnish removers”; others say “cleans and polishes in one step”; one said “make your silver look like new while you lose weight”.

        So to date, I’ve tried this recipe once with Tarnex liquid and a sudsing ammonia solution.
        Results were not eye-popping so I persevere.
        Tonight, I’ve dissolved 2 Tbsp of paste polish into the Tarnex, added the water and then the ammonia. It’s going to soak on the back porch all night then dry in the morning sun. Thanks for the tip.

  2. Faye says:

    Is the sour milk soak ok for silver with mirrors?

    I have a mirror (on one side) and silver (on the reverse side).

    Will the sour milk soak recommended for overnight soaking
    discolor the mirror? What can I expect?

    Thank you,


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