A silver polishing cloth is a soft cloth with pre-treated cleaning and anti-tarnish agents that can be used to quickly clean and buff silver pieces to bring back their shine. Some silver polishing cloths are made of two-ply cotton flannel, while others are a thin microfiber. The cloths are available from jewelry stores, antique dealers and online. Some silver polishing cloths are specially formulated for certain types of silver. Others can be used on a variety of metals and can be found in hardware stores or other general merchandise retailers.
Stainless steel, like silver, can be polished to remove tarnish and corrosion, but it’s not recommended as the abrasive cleaners used in a polishing cloth could cause scratches on the surface. A better option is to use a mild dishwashing liquid and soft cloth.
You can also use a commercially available silver cleaning product to remove a thick layer of tarnish, but the process is a little more involved. The Strategist spoke with jewellery designers, antique dealers and silver polishing pros to find out all of the best products and cleaning methods for restoring shine to silver.
The most common silver polishing cloths are made of pretreated flannel, which is woven with tarnish-cleaning compounds. Before using a silver polishing cloth for the first time, it’s important to dampen it with water or another non-toxic solvent (such as rubbing alcohol). Then, gently rub the silver piece using the inner part of the polishing cloth. You can rinse the silver cloth before each polishing session and store it in a resealable plastic bag.