Monday, July 21, 2008

Polishing Silver

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A few of you have asked me what I use to polish my silver. I usually use Wright's Silver Cream because that's what my mom always used and I've always been very happy with the results. Last weekend I was out of it so I went to the nearest store and they didn't carry it so I bought TarnX instead. I could not believe how easily it worked although it smelled awful, sort of like rotten eggs. It was not as messy as the Wright's but when I read the label it was alarming. It has a chemical in it that the state of California has determined to cause cancer!!!! How scary! I don't remember seeing that on my Wright's polish! I was glad I had put on my rubber gloves! Now my silver is all polished and sparkly but I'm going to be reading the back of the labels before I buy cleaning products from now on!

UPDATED to add: I don't recommendTarnX. After just a few days the silver started to tarnish, also many people left comments that it can ruin your silver if you don't rinse it off quickly. I won't be using this product. I'm going back to Wright's Silver Cream. I've been using this since I was a kid when one of my chores was to polish my mom's silver. It worked great then and it still works great!


Brenda Kula said...

Boy, Cindy, that's scary! It's unfathomable what they put into stuff and just assume we'll either read the back or succumb to cancer! We really need to get things under control here!

Anonymous said...


Glenda~Many Fond Memories said...

A girl after my own heart. I love polishing silver.
I use Maas silver polish to me it's better than Wrights. That's just my opinion. I even have a link for it on my blog.

We could have a polishing party.

I scour the thrift stores for the right piece each time I go.


Jan and Tom's Place said...

I've been told by Silverplate sellers, that Tarn-x actually eats away at the top layer of silver, which isn't a good thing either.

I stick with Wright's...and my "trick" for really heavy tarnish:

In a glass 13x9" pan, put a layer of aluminum foil (folded to fit), dump in a tablespoon or 2 of just plain table salt and fill with hot water (not boiling).

The HEAVY tarnish will melt away like butter...leaving very little behind...that's very ez to remove with the Wright's.


Sharon said...

I had a similar "recipe" with the aluminum foil, salt and cream of tartar. Mine called for boiling water. It worked great. The aluminum foil would turn black.

Anonymous said...

I love the aluminum foil trick too. Very easy.


The Scarlett Rose Garden said...

Geesh, we gotta watch out for everything we do! What a gorgeous collection, love it with the colors in your home.

Anonymous said...

Cindy...your bedroom is beautiful. I wouldn't change a thing (I'm a few days late here, I was on vacation for a few days) I would love to have a bedroom like yours but with a man around it gets to be a bit hard to have all the feminine touches as you have. Again truly lovely. Patty.

Shanae said...

LOVE your bedroom, it's so dreamy!
You have a lovely silver collection too!

Diane of Crafty Passions said...

I agree we have to read every darn label,can't believe they use anything cancerous these days, no need for it.
Have you tried a big pan with tin foil in the bottom, add one cup of baking soda and a kettle full of boiling water ,mix to dissolveandadd the silver, let sit a little while ,wash and dry.Some pieces you need to still use a silver polish cloth but it does help.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the tip Cindy! I recentely came across another site you might like where you can research your cosmetics, perfumes, sun tan lotion etc. You wouldn't believe how many beauty products are linked to cancer. Here is the link below.

Rosemary said...

Well Cindy,
Whatever you used, it looks beautiful. I sometimes like to leave mine with a tarnished look.
Have a great week,

KarenB said...

Just like Glenda, I search the thrift stores for silver treasures and just like Rosemary I hardly ever polish it. I like the warm tones than the tarnish brings out. I do polish them when they get too dark, though. I've never tried the foil method though. I'll have to try it soon! Thanks for your great blog!
Karen B

Debby said...

Where on earth do you find the time to polish all that silver!
It is gorgeous!!! Thanks for the heads-up regarding chemicals and the dangers. I will definitely be reading the labels before purchasing also.
Take care,

cherished*vintage said...

Beautiful silver! I'm bad about polishing, but here's what works for me - line the sink with aluminum foil put in your piece to polish, sprinkle with Calgon pour water over all, and the silver will polish right up! I do love silve when it's all sparkly.

Joy at Cupids Charm said...

Hi Cindy! Do you make housecalls? I've got lots of silver around here that is rather tarnished. Thanks to the shabby chic craze, I've convinced myself that it actually looks BETTER this way! HA! ~xoxo ~ Joy

Anonymous said...

I love the natural methods of cleaning silver. I had heard about the tin foil trick, but didn't have the recipe.

You would be really scared if you saw all the chemicals in makeup that act as hormones in the body and increase the chances for breast cancer.


Stacey said...

Looove your blog! I'm putting a link to your blog on mine, if that's ok?! Your home and style are just beautiful *sigh*!

Jean said...

Tarnex is really stinky. I'm glad its you polishing all that silver and not me. You have some great pieces and worth the effort. Have a great evening,
Jean in Virginia

Stephanie ~ Angelic Accents said...

Hi Cindy! Beautiful silver. I also use Wright's Silver Cream because my mom always did! LOL

I LOVE polishing silver ~ it was one of my 7 weird facts about myself. I must have been a servant in my previous life, or maybe Cinderella ~ yea, I like that one best!

Angelic Accents

Laura said...

That stuff ruined my grandmother's silver.

Anonymous said...

Cindy, be careful using the product Tarn-X. A numer of years ago I read an article that it was used by someone at the White House, of all places, and that it almost ruined the silver pieces. The product is very harsh on fine silver pieces, I understand.

Debbie Kay said...


Love it tarnished, love it polished and I love your blog!!!

Debbie Kay

Charlotte said...

Beautiful silver. I remember years ago Tarn-x had a commercial on TV where they dipped a spoon in it and it immediately came out shiny. It would have to be awfully strong. I have most of my silver stuff put away mainly because I hate to shine it.

Cathy said...

Cindy, Beautiful silver goodies. Just lovely.

OMG!! I use TarnX all the time. Thanks for the "heads up"! I won't be using that anymore.

xo Cath

Southern Lady's Vintage said...

I thought I was weird for liking to polish silver. It's most fun the first time around, you know, when you first find the piece and it is looking pretty bad, all tarnished. Then you start cleaning it and it's a great feeling when you see it all pretty and shiny and beautiful!

Sher's Creative Expressions said...

Hi Cindy,

My mom worked at Macy's for years in the silver and china department and she told me that Tarnex and products like that were much too harsh for silver. . . even though it is sold for that purpose. She said each time items are cleaned with these harsh chemicals it removes some of the silverplating.

There is a wonderful product by Haggerty (I blogged about it on my September 10th post - check it out for details - all it involves in spraying and rubbing with special gloves. . . it's like a miracle!!!)



Angie said...

ohh glad you were wearing gloves...that stuff is terrible! i honestly wouldn't recommend using it again...if you can't pronounce ingredients in stuff..not a good sign! my gramma used the same salt water trick jan posted..and it worked great. i wish companies would think about what they are doing to consumers and our environment..yikes! just scary!


Robin said...

I use Wright's because that's what my mom uses too. She loves to polish silver so she comes over and polishes all mine too!

Your silver is beautiful.

Robyn said...

well..well look at all that loveliness! WOW! Love all your pieces!

Polly said...

Be so careful with Tarnx. I used it once, followed the directions to the letter, and destroyed an antique silver creamer! Give me good ole Wrights any day!


Rue said...

Good morning Cindy :)

I use Silver Spray Polish by Hagerty. It's less messy and works beautifully. It was recommended by an antique store. I don't have a bottle right now, because I have to order it, so I don't know what's on the back, but I use it outside because the fumes are somethin' else. I just ordered a bottle because you reminded me that I needed to get one, so I'll let you know what it says.

Your silver looks gorgeous!


Liz said...

I have used the tarnex, and wrights and the boiling water recipe.... It's all work. You must just do a better job than me! Beautiful collection!
Thanks for sharing!

Rechelle ~Walnuthaven Cottage~ said...

Okay, just my 2 cents, but TarnX is ickey stuff. I also noticed that after I'd used it, my silver seemed to get dirty faster. I'm sticking with wright's. I have to agree with the others. The foil trick works well!

Karen Deborah said...

Yep, Wright's silver Cream is the right stuff. My Grandma used it too.

Brenda@CoffeeTeaBooks said...

I like the Maas, too.

However, I use Tarnex (with rubber gloves) when something is badly tarnished. I've found it to be hard on my silver, though.

I'm trying to keep up with polishing just a little at a time. Those mega polishing days wear me out!

Teresa Sheeley ~ French Poppy said...

Have a wonderful time doing your work. Love your mirrors!!



Jaybird said...

Hi there,
Beautiful silver collection...rivals mine :^)
Be VERY careful with the TarnX OR the aluminum foil methods of cleaning. They will ruin some pieces of silver, and "overclean" (removing the patina) on others. Good old Wrights is the best....Maas is okay if you really just want the thing clean, but if the piece is antique or has sentimental meaning, stick with the Wrights. Your silver will love you for it!....and use the silver a lot, it will smile.

Anonymous said...

Cindy: Hi, I am new here. Let me tell you a little about myself, I live in a 116 year old Victorian house in Blue Mountain, Mississippi which I am in the process of rehabing and decorating with a "Country Victorian/Shabby Chic/Romantic" look LOL. I make and sell mid 19th Century reproduction clothing for fun and extra money (extra money being part of the fun so I can go junking more!). I love your blog! Kindred spirits, I do projects very similiar to the ones you do on a regular basis.
Now, as to TarnX, not only will it eat away at silver plating but, in a couple of days you are going to have to polish your silver again, it just does not last and protect the surface of the silver like Wright's does (I learned this from hard won experience with my Mom's silver tea service and trays). I, like you, use Wright's because that was what my Mom used and I guess the old adage "Mom is always right" does hold true in this situation. Maggie

Anonymous said...

Isn't silver beautiful when its so shiny? I wish it stayed that way always. I find I wrap some of them in plastic and just put them away until I use them, and then I don't think of them because they are tucked away. So pretty.
That is pretty scarey. You have to read everything these days.