Polishing Silver and Pewter Utensils with Diatomaceous Earth


Silver is a popular lustrous material used in the creation of luxurious goods, especially fine dinnerware sets. While silver is exceptionally shiny and aesthetically appealing, it is prone to tarnishing.

Silver tarnish is typically caused by a chemical reaction between the outermost layer of the silver of an item and the oxygen in the air over a long period of time, or by direct contact with hydrogen sulfide.

Hydrogen sulfide is an extremely common gas caused by the decomposition of food. Exposure to hydrogen sulfide will cause silver to tarnish almost immediately, so keeping silverware clean from leftover food particles almost immediately after use is essential in keeping it free from tarnish.

Unlike rust, tarnish is self-limiting and rarely destroys more than a few molecules worth of silver from the outer layer of the utensil, but can cause a fine, filmy layer to cover the item and reduce the luster.

Abrasive polishing agents designed for silverware may actually damage both your silverware and your health. It’s possible to severely diminish the definition of silverware through overzealous polishing with caustic polishing agents.

Additionally, many of the silver polishing products available on the market today contain polishing agents that can present a severe health risk. Metal polish poisoning can cause breathing difficulty from inhalation, throat swelling, vision loss, severe abdominal pain, convulsions, and even collapsed lungs.

The safest and most effective method of removing tarnish from silverware or silver utensils is with diatomaceous earth. Diatomaceous earth is composed primarily of fine, abrasive silica particles.

These silica particles scrape away any tarnish without damaging the silver. Diatomaceous earth is completely chemical free and food safe, as well as highly economical and low-cost. In this article, we’ll provide a basic instructional guide on how to use diatomaceous earth to remove tarnish from your silverware.

What You’ll Need

  • Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth
  • Cotton Balls
  • A Soft, Clean Cloth
  • A Container

Step 1: Check Your Diatomaceous Earth

The most important factor to be aware of when using diatomaceous earth to polish your silverware is the grade of DE you’re using. Some grades of diatomaceous earth, such as pest control grade, are mixed with toxic chemicals to increase their efficacy.

Other grades, such as pool grade diatomaceous earth, are altered through processes that transform the silica particles into silica crystals, which are harmful if ingested.

Always use only 100% food grade diatomaceous earth for polishing cutlery or silverware, or any application involving the application of diatomaceous earth on any surface that may encounter food.

Step 2: Prepare Diatomaceous Earth

Pour a small amount less that ¼ cup of diatomaceous earth into your container. Dip a cotton ball into the diatomaceous earth and gather diatomaceous earth on the outside of the ball.

Step 3: Polish Silverware

Rub each piece of cutlery with the diatomaceous earth coated cotton ball until the patina of tarnish is gone. Repeat this process of all pieces of silverware, changing cotton balls and adding more diatomaceous earth where necessary.

Step 4: Remove Diatomaceous Earth

Using a soft cloth, gently wipe away all traces of diatomaceous earth from the silverware. While this method is highly effective and gentler on your silverware than most abrasive cleaning agents, be sure to perform this treatment only occasionally to prevent the diatomaceous earth from destroying the definition of your silverware.

Diatomaceous Earth Information Guide:

We have a wide variety of food grade diatomaceous earth resources for you look through to make your life a little easier and chemical-free. Please check out the other valuable resources and versatile application uses for silica-rich diatomaceous earth below:

Please reach out regarding any information above. In the future, more share-worthy useful enhancements, experiences and effects of diatomaceous earth will be added as the benefits continue to pile up. Always welcome for more insight and awareness, click the button to see the most recommended beautifully blended product that combines both high quality food grade diatomaceous earth powder and pure organic silica together in one formula.

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