How To Clean Nickel Silver

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Nickel silver, also known as German silver, is an alloy of nickel, copper, and sometimes zinc. It is used for making several household items like cutlery, keys, or even musical instruments. These household items need to be cleaned, and here you will see how to clean nickel silver.

How To Clean Nickel Silver

Depending on the kind of impurity accumulated and the degree of cleanliness desired, many methods are used for cleaning nickel silver.

Silver keys

Method #1: Use A Polish Kit

Several metal polishing kits are available in the market and can render a brand-new glaze to the metal surface, and some of them can even be used for cleaning purposes, such as cleaning n64 cartridges.

Use soap water to initially clean nickel silver items that come in contact with food. Then dry the surface entirely and ensure there is no speck of dust left.

Use a piece of cloth to rub the cleaning cream on the metal surface gently. A black residue will appear in about 10 to 15 seconds. Continue rubbing the cream till this happens.

Now, with a piece of cloth, gently remove the residue. Wash the surface with running water and let it dry to get a clean nickel silver surface.

Method #2: Use Metal Cleaner

You can get many scented and flavored cleaners, which are effective, non-toxic, and safe to use.

The usability is similar to a polishing kit. Just rub a small amount of the cream with the help of a piece of cloth in a circular motion.

Let it stand for some time, and then wash it with soap water. You will notice a distinct clarified look of the nickel silver item almost instantly.

Method #3: Use Dish Soap or Detergent

Using dish soap or detergent is an easy household solution to clean nickel silver, and it’s also used for rhodium plated sterling silver. If your metal items have accumulated small amounts of dirt, this method can be convenient.

  • You must rinse the object to be cleaned properly with lukewarm water. Find a container large enough to soak the entire article in water.
  • Pour some of the dish wash or detergent in the lukewarm water and let it rest for about half an hour. The dirt should be extracted within this time.
  • Take out the nickel silver and let it dry. Wipe it with a dry piece of cloth, preferably a thick one, like a towel.
  • Drying the nickel silver well is essential to avoid any watermarks due to detergent or soap.

Method #4: Use Baking Soda

Baking soda is a chemical compound called sodium bicarbonate, which is extensively used for cleaning due to its basic nature, it can be used for cleaning coins and steel pennies as well.

Baking soda

If the stains on your nickel silver item are dark and cannot be removed by mild soap or detergent, you can use baking soda with some water.

  • Make a paste of an equal amount of baking soda and water in a container. The ratio is essential to clean it well. This method is also pretty effective for cleaning ovens.
  • Rub the paste on the metal surface area to be cleaned. Apply it evenly, preferably with a soft microfiber cloth.
  • Let the paste rest for some time, and then wash it with warm water. Dry it, and it’ll likely be clean and shining by then.

This method is especially suitable for cleaning nickel silver items that are not detachable. For such items, use a wet towel to remove the paste and then dry it.

Here’s a video guide for an alternative method using baking soda, table salt, and water.

Method #5: Use Vinegar 

Vinegar contains acetic acid, which can be used to clean surfaces. It best cleans surfaces with stains of calcium-like vessels used for keeping milk.

  • Make a solution with equal portions of water and vinegar. Remember first to pour the vinegar into a container and then add water. FYI, you can also use this combination to clean porcelain figurines.
  • On the areas that have calcium deposits apply this solution. Use a soft piece of cloth to rub the solution uniformly.
  • Let the solution work on the spots for some time. Then, rinse the vessel with warm water and let it dry. 

This should be enough to clean milk stains. If it doesn’t work, you can make some more solutions and add corn starch to it, which is also the following method we will talk about.

Method #6: Use Cornstarch

If the stains on the nickel silver item are very stiff and none of those above methods have worked, you must step it up by a notch.

Corn starch or cornflour is a complicated organic compound that can react with stains on nickel silver surfaces and help remove them.

  • Making the paste with cornflour is a little different. In this case, you should mix water and cornstarch in a 3:1 ratio. Mix it well.
  • Take a clean cloth and carefully rub the solution on the stained areas of the nickel silver item.
  • Let the solution sit on the stains for about 2 to 5 minutes. Then wash it with lukewarm water.
  • Wipe the object with a clean towel and let it dry to get the proper shine.

Method #7: Use Special Polishing Clothes

Special polishing clothes are eco-friendly and do not bleach metal surfaces. They work exceptionally well for removing mild stains and tarnishes. 

Clean nickel silver utensils

Method #8: Use Acetone

Acetone is another common organic compound that is used to clean nickel silver items.

Though nail polish removers contain some acetone, you should opt for pure acetone for cleaning purposes, they are also pretty effective in cleaning rubber watch bands.

Acetone can react with dried glue and help remove stains from the nickel silver surface. 

Apply acetone and glue to nickel silver surfaces that are tarnished or stained. You will notice the glue losing its adhesive strength and come off within a few minutes. Rinse it off with lukewarm soapy water and let it dry.

Method #9: Use Strong Chemical Re-Agents

The methods stated above should be sufficient to remove stains from nickel silver. However, sometimes the stains can become very stiff.

In this case, use stronger chemical re-agents. These are available in the market by the name of the chemical polish. Follow the instructions on the bottle.

Note: They are different from metal cleaners mentioned earlier and can corrode the nickel silver surface if used in excess amounts.

Wear gloves while using these cleaners, and make sure your skin doesn’t come in contact with these chemicals.

Frequently Asked Questions

How To Prevent Nickel Silver From Tarnishing?

Nickel silver, like any other alloy, loses its shine over time. There are no methods to prevent it from tarnishing. But you can maintain the glint by cleaning it regularly.

Can Baking Soda Damage Nickel Silver? 

Although baking soda is very effective in cleaning nickel silver, you should use it in the right proportions to prevent eroding the nickel silver surface.


A large number of our household materials are made out of nickel silver. With little maintenance and cleaning, they can last for a long time with a great shine.