image of baking soda

Cleaning Silver Trays – Basic Guide to Cleaning and Caring for Silver Trays with Stuff from Your Kitchen

Silver trays can look gorgeous. The finely etched pattern makes them the centerpiece of almost any table setting. But what do you do when these silver trays get tarnished? You can either run out and buy expensive silver cleaning products, or you can use a few things you likely already have in your own kitchen. Silver trays dealers around the world use these little DIY tips and tricks to keep their silver looking great without spending a lot of money.

Dish Soap

You may be able to remove some light tarnish simply by dipping the tray into warm (not hot) water combined with standard dish soap. You only need a few drops, so don’t go overboard or you may risk damaging the tray. Make sure that the soap is fully diluted in the water, too. Then dip your tray in, pull it out, and dry it off with a soft cloth.

Aluminum Foil and Baking Soda

One of the easiest methods for cleaning antique silver plated trays involves four basic ingredients from your kitchen. All you need is a tablespoon of baking soda, a tablespoon of salt, a sheet of aluminum foil, and two cups boiling water. Line a pot, baking dish, or even your sink with the aluminum foil. Mix in the baking soda, salt, and hot water. Then add in your silver tray. Let it sit for a minute or two, then carefully pull it out with kitchen tongs. A very large amount, if not all, of the tarnish will have transferred from the tray to the aluminum foil!

image of baking soda


While some people aren’t as fond of this method, others swear by ketchup. Just squirt some of this condiment onto a paper towel and gently rub at the tarnished areas of your antique sterling silver trays. You might be surprised at how much of the tarnish comes off! For trays that are heavily tarnished, you can leave the ketchup on for about 15 minutes. You can also use a soft bristle toothbrush to clean tarnish out of crevices. Rinse the tray off with warm water and dry with a soft cloth once you’ve got the tarnish off.


Another common kitchen ingredient you can use to clean tarnished silver trays is cornstarch. Mix a little cornstarch with water to create a paste. Then apply that paste to the tarnished area and let it sit until it’s dry. Once it is, rub it off with a towel or cheesecloth. If you don’t have any cornstarch handy, you can use cream of tartar.

Lemon-Lime Soda

image of generic lemon lime soda

Another common item you can use to clean your items before showing them to potential silver trays buyers is any type of lemon-lime soda. You can let your trays sit in a bowl of this soda for about an hour. Then remove the tray and rinse it clean. A good amount of the tarnish will rinse right off. Pat the tray dry with a soft cloth and you’re ready to sell it.

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