How to care for silver.

How to care for silver.

All SILVER should be treated as important to preserve and protect. To keep your silver looking it’s finest; here are a few tips and techniques to follow. Silver should be washed and dried by hand; it is definitely not a dishwasher friendly item. Do not leave silver on a rubber mat to dry. Rubber contains sulfur which can cause corrosion to silver. It is important to use a soft cloth when drying the silver to prevent scratching.

With frequent use your silver should stay tarnish free; however, occasional polishing is necessary. Apply the silver polish according to the manufacturer’s directions. Be sure and rub the polish in thoroughly. With a dry polishing cloth, buff the surface of the polished silver to a bright sheen. There are several methods, techniques, and products for silver cleaning.

For years people made their own silver dip to remove tarnish with a mixture of 2 tablespoons salt to 2 tablespoons baking soda. Add mixture to a sink full of steaming, hot water. Put a sheet of aluminum foil in the bottom of the sink. Dip the silver objects into the sink, making sure the silver rests on the aluminum foil. You should be able to see the tarnish disappear. For heavily tarnished silver pieces, you may need to leave it in the solution for about five minutes. Rinse the silver and dry thoroughly.

When storing silver, it is necessary to pre-treat the silver with a tarnish-retardant polish. Wrap the silver carefully in two layers of cotton flannel treated with anti-tarnish compound, and plastic wrap to keep it air free. This will keep the silver airtight and prevent oxidation which causes silver to tarnish. Store your silver objects on a piece of eco-friendly wood such as a bamboo dish or tray. Add desiccated silica gel and a few capsules or small dish of activated charcoal to the storage area to help keep down humidity levels and keep the area free of gases known to cause tarnish.

Avoid over exposure of foods such as eggs, mayonnaise and mustard. These are high in sulfur and can cause the silver to corrode. Keep your silver away from all rubber items which contain sulfur. Be careful to remove all the silver polish from the object as it will leave a nasty taste. Do not wear latex gloves when handling, cleaning or polishing silver. Use white reusable cloth gloves available in most hardware stores. Silver-coated or silver-plated items may wear down with frequent polishing. Avoid polishing with a silver polish more than once or twice a year. If washed and dried properly and used frequently, tarnish should not become a problem.

White chalkboard chalk placed in the storage area with your silver can help prevent tarnish. Ash is a gentle polishing agent. We’re not encouraging smoking, but you can recycle your firewood ash if you have a fireplace. Ash is also terrific to recycle into your garden soil. Wipe a damp cloth in ash and polish your silver. The soft ash is gentle on the surface and will give a nice, soft luster to your silver.

Toothpaste makes a cheap alternative to silver polish. Simply apply a drop of toothpaste to a clean, damp cloth and rub on the silver in an up and down motion. Rinse and dry thoroughly. Avoid placing silver flatware in the same container as stainless steel flatware. Contact of the two different metals can cause the silver to become damaged and stained.

Remove corrosion caused by salt or food by placing the silver object in a mixture of two cups hot vinegar to one tablespoon of salt. Allow the silver to soak for up to five minutes, rinse and dry well. Remember: Using silver prevents tarnish. The more you handle it, the less chance of tarnish buildup.

This advice brought to you by