You’ll never guess my accidental discovery for cleaning the tarnish off silver.


A surprising way to clean silver fast - Life Hack How to Clean Silver


It all started after a trip to a thrift store.

This particular thrift store is notorious for using wide packaging tape to tape sets of things together… glass, pottery, metal, plastic… they use it on everything.

Have you ever tried to get that tape gunk off from items?  It can be a real challenge.  On plastic… you can just about forget it.

This week I picked up a set of tiny bowls, the kind you use to hold pre-measured spices and such for baking and cooking, for a dollar.  I also picked up a tarnished silver bowl with lid for just a few more dollars at this infamous thrift store.  Both the glass and the silver items were taped to survive any unforeseen disaster.


Pretty purple tulip centerpiece set in a silver bowl unexpectedly polished by WD-40 - Check out this fabulous Life Hack

This post contains affiliate links.


Before popping the glass bowls in the dishwasher, I tried to get the sticky gunk off and then I remembered that my husband has a bottle of something he uses for painting mistakes. It wasn’t on his shelf, which meant it was still in the trunk of his car from one of his painting projects.

But, there was something there that caught my eye.

It was a can of WD-40.  So I thought I would try that. The tape gunk came off fairly easily. Great! I was hopeful that it would clean the sticky gunk off my silver find, too.  Much to my surprise!  Not only did the gunk come off… so did the tarnish.  


Thrifted Silver Bowl and Lid Gets a Cleaning with this Amazing Life Hack


The best part?  I don’t think the whole process took 15 minutes!

I hadn’t planned on removing the tarnish from the silver… I sort of like the tarnished look… especially for what I had planned.  BUT… there is always room for Plan B isn’t there?


Very Quick & Easy Life Hack - How to Clean & Polish Silver with this Everyday Household Item


LIFE HACK How to Clean Silver with WD-40

Disclaimer: be sure to wash items well after removing tarnish – WD-40 is not food safe.

  • Soft clean cloths like old t-shirts
  • Disposable gloves
  • Paper towel to cover work surface
  • WD-40
  • Tarnished Silver


  • Clean your tarnished silver in a well-ventilated area.
  • Begin by laying paper toweling on your work surface to protect it.
  • Be sure to put on disposable gloves… your fingers can get very dirty otherwise.
    Who knew you could remove tarnish and polish silver with WD-40?

  • Spray a small amount of WD-40 directly on the tarnished silver.  Using your soft cloth, begin cleaning the tarnish off your silver piece with a small amount of pressure.
  • Reapply WD-40 as needed and continue cleaning, turning your cloth as it gets blackened.
    Clean Silver Tarnish with WD-40


  • All the tarnish may not be removed if you have vintage pieces.  Some, like mine, have deep pits in the silver, but that adds to the character. (You may note that the embossed top has a coppery look.  I am guessing that it came in contact with a heat source at some time and was permanently discolored.  It’s not tarnished and gives the piece an interesting look.)
  • Once all the tarnish has been removed, use another clean cloth to buff and remove any residue from your silver piece and give it a polish.
    Putting the shine back on a tarnished piece of silver - Life Hack

  • Finally, use slightly diluted dish soap and with your hand, rub it all over the silver, rinse well, and dry well.  Your silver should sparkle.
  • Use and display your silver proudly.


Who knew WD-40 would make such a great silver tarnish remover?


This little vignette I put together to show off my pretty purple tulips may be Plan B, but it’s the perfect centerpiece for my breakfast table.

Are you in love with the color of my tulips, too? I picked those up on a recent stop at Wal-mart… $4.98.  The pussy willows were free… I love all the gifts available to us from Mother Nature if we take the time to see what we can find and become a student of the seasons.  This simple glass vase came from a thrift store.  When I saw it I KNEW it would be perfect for holding tulips. You might remember the tray.  Originally I decorated it with the lovely items I was given for a sponsored post but wanted to use it as a tray, rather than wall art, so I scraped off the pretty birds and paper and painted it with some Revere Pewter paint I was given. The placemat is from Pier 1 and made its first appearance on the blog, showcasing this delicious recipe.

I’m working on a few other spring and Easter decorating ideas I think you’ll really like.  Be sure to watch for those in a few days.

Pin It to remember for Later because it's so good -

QUICK & EASY Life Hack How to Clean Silver


I’m pretty excited to share my first LIFE HACK How to Clean Silver.  

What tarnished silver lurks in your cupboards wanting to be given a new life of freedom and beauty?

Whatever it is… give your silver a WD-40 makeover.  It’ll only take a few minutes! 


Thanks so much for popping by today!

If you enjoyed this post would you please share it with your friends and “pin it,” too?

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  1. This is such a great tip, Diane! I never ever thought to use WD-40 to clean my silver. I can’t wait to try it.

    p.s. Your new silver is gorgeous!

    • I know… crazy!!!! I love accidental discoveries!! Thanks for the kind words, Mary Beth. This little set was just $4 and now looks like $$. 🙂 Such a sweet and unexpected blessing.

  2. Gwen says

    I guess there’s now 41 uses for WD40!! How simple!! Thank you for sharing. And I think I’ve even seen WD-40 at the Dollar Tree?! Love how you used a placemat as an

    • Hahaha!!! I have a hunch that there are countless uses, generally, I just use it for squeaks. 😉
      Thanks enjoying my centerpiece with me. It puts a smile on my face. 🙂

    • Darlene says

      Actually, the “40” in WD40 means that it is the 40th formula the inventor tried before he came up with the perfect one.

  3. Shirlene Weber says

    very good tip! Love the new item as well. Blessings to you.

  4. Laurie says

    What a beautiful arrangement. I love pussy willows but hadn’t thought of putting with tulips. Very pretty! Great tip also. Can’t wait to try it this weekend. Have a blessed week.

    • Thanks Laurie! My tulips looked like they could use another element to complement them, so I looked around and voila! …pussy willows. Have fun “playing.”
      All the best for an extraordinary weekend! XO

  5. PatinCal says

    Thought you might be interested in this Snopes article on WD-40. It does seem to be a miracle cure-all. I have 3 tools that I find indispensable–WD-40, duct tape, and my oyster knife. If one of those won’t fix the problem, it might as well go in the trash.

  6. Thanks for sharing on the Pleasures of the NW’s DIY Party! You’re featured at this weeks party!

  7. Cindy says

    Who knew?!?! Great tip!
    Thanks so much for sharing at AMAZE ME MONDAY!

    • Thanks, Cindy! It really was a happy discovery!
      Hope your week is off to an extraordinary start!

  8. Jann Olson says

    What a great accidental discovery! My hubby always has W D40 on hand. I’ll keep this in mind. Thanks for sharing with SYC.

    • It was so funny as it dawned on me that “I” made a discovery!!! LOL
      Take care sweet friend!

  9. Diane, I cannot believe this! Isn’t it fun to stumble upon a great new use for a common household item? Thank you so much for sharing your discovery. I’ve pinned this for future reference.

    And thanks for joining the Grace at Home party. I’m featuring you this week!

    • This is not the kind of thing that usually happens to me. It was really exciting, Richella! Thanks so much for enjoying the discovery with me (and the feature!). Hope it works well for you, too! {hugs}

  10. Joy says

    Pinning, will be trying WD 40 to polish silver.

  11. Who knew? I must try this! The Sunday Showcase will be back tonight at 8pm and you are one of the fan favorites from the last Make it Pretty Monday party! Stop by tonight to have a look at your feature. Hope to see you again tomorrow at the Make it Pretty Monday shindig! Happy Sunday! Toodles, Kathryn @TheDedicatedHouse

    • I was totally blown away with my accidental discovery and couldn’t wait to share it with the world. 😉
      Thanks again, Kathyrn for the lovely feature. You’re the best! [[hugs]]

  12. Gertrude says

    Did not work on my tray. Took a little off, but really smelly! I don’t. Recommend this method. ?

    • I’m so sorry, Gertrude. It worked super fast for me, which is why I wrote the post on it.
      I do know that some tarnish is hard to remove if it’s been there for a while, but this worked like a charm for me.
      WD40 does have an aroma like so many cleaners. Hope you were able to find a way to clean your silver.

  13. Sharon Clay says


    • Oh NO!! You can see what a beautiful job it did for my silver pieces. I wonder why it didn’t work for you?

  14. Sue Tolly says

    It worked for me! It didn’t take off the really heavy tarnish so much, so I would call it more of a polish than a cleaner, but it did shine up my silver, quite well!

  15. Michele says

    That’s a lovely dish you’ve purchased! But the copper colour of the lid is not discolouration by heat but an indication that your item is of “plated silver”. It is made of copper and finished with a fine layer of silver. Wear and cleaning cause the silver finish to be eroded and exposes the copper. Many silver items are of “silver plate” and there is usually a mark indicating this. Silver plating provides the beauty of silver at a reduced production and purchase cost.

    • Thank you for sharing that Michele. I knew my piece was silverplate… but had no idea about the discoloration. Thanks so much for taking the time to let me know! All the best!

  16. Tara Lucchese says

    Thank you so much for that suggestion. I tried it this weekend and it worked beautifully on some heavily tarnished antique Sterling and plated pieces that I’ve had for many years. Diane, you are my home guru hero. Thank you so much.?

    • Tara, you just made my day! I’m so happy for you! Nothing feels better than when we can make our homes more beautiful… even if it’s removing tarnish!
      All the best for an extraordinary day!

  17. Jeff says

    Great find. Many silver pieces were originally sold with a glass liner. When finding silver serving pieces in a thrift store or estate sale, many times you can find the original glass insert. For some reason I have found that thrift stores price the inserts separately and put them in the area that has the all of the glass. I have seen your piece and it originally came with a clear glass insert that was divided, as to hold two different sides.

    • Jeff, I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your insight! I had no idea. For sure I’ll be on the outlook now for the inserts!
      Thanks again!

  18. Diana says

    Can you use on silverware utilities for decorate only

    • Diana, I am no expert and I’m just sharing my experience. But, why not try it?

  19. Daphne H. says

    Oh my goodness! Who knew? I have a bunch of silver plated trays, plates, etc. that I’ve been buying from thrift atores/yardsales to hang on my walls! I am definitely going to try this! Thanks so much!

    • How did it work for you? Hopefully, it helped make your cleaning efforts fast and with less elbow grease. 😉
      All the best for an extraordinary day!

  20. Leta says

    Does WD40 work on copper or brace as well?

    • Leta, I have no idea. I would suggest trying it on an inconspicuous portion of your copper or brass to test out. Please come back and let us know how it worked for you!
      Thanks for popping by! Have an extraordinary day!

  21. Susan says

    It does seem like an easy way to clean silver but I would be concerned of some of the silver breaking down with WD40. The best way to clean silver is take it to a silversmith to buff it to restore its original shine.

    • Susan, if you have fine silver, I would totally agree that you would want to be extra careful. That being said, most of us don’t have a silversmith in our areas and are DIYers, so for that group of us, this is a good option. My understanding is that WD40 is a fish oil, despite the fact that it doesn’t smell fishy. 😉 I believe that it takes some kind of an agent to remove tarnish, even if it’s just a buffing cloth, and in the process, some silver does come off. That is the nature of tarnish removal.
      Thanks for popping by and sharing your thoughts!! Enjoy your silver!! And have a blessed day!!

  22. clara says

    Wonder if this would work on copper? Any thoughts?

    • Clara, I really don’t know since I don’t own anything copper. However, If I were you, I would probably test it on the bottom of an object to see if it takes the discoloration away. Please let me know if you try it!
      All the best for an extraordinary day!

  23. Rita Duffus says

    Another Meath of of cleaning silver is cigar or tobacco ash. Learned this from old Dutch woman years ago. Works well

  24. Rita says

    My daughter uses WD-40 to clean her Stainless steel appliances. My husband uses it to clean the Rust & Grime off his power tools etc. Give it a try.

    • Thanks so much for the stainless steel tip, Rita!!
      I use it on my garden tools for sure!!

  25. Bj says

    Your arrangement is beautiful.
    Peanut butter is the easiest way to remove sticky stickers. Cover the area with peanut butter and massage the area to remove the residue.
    WD40 is too smelly to use for anything.

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