10Feb 2013
How to Clean your Silverware Effectively

How to Clean your Silverware Effectively

We all have special silverware which we have kept for those special occasions such as Christmas or for guests when we are throwing a fancy tea party. This silverware does not come cheap, so we all want to keep it looking brand spanking new for as long as possible, so that we can use them for as long as possible and get our money’s worth.

Unfortunately, silverware is very delicate and needs to be taken care of more so than other items that are usually made out of glass or porcelain. But how exactly are you supposed to clean and care for your silverware? Well, this article should answer these questions and leave you less confused about the dos and don’ts of silverware.

Silver can easily become stained and tarnished. This process is speeded up by materials that contain sulphur such as wool, felt, rubber, latex and even certain foods. So to say that tarnishing silverware is inevitable would be a correct statement.

In order to make sure that this is minimised, always ensure that your hands are clean when you are handling silverware. Oil from your hands can deposit onto the silverware and leave marks which can be permanent if they are not cleaned straight away. Our hands also contain salts, which will also leave marks and tarnishes on your beloved silverware.

Special care should be taken when washing your silverware. Do not use a dishwasher as silverware should always be cleaned by hand. If your silverware does not contain any marks or stains, simply using a phosphate free washing up detergent will do the trick. Do not allow to air dry, since this will further tarnish your silverware. Instead, dry immediately and save yourself the hassle of having to having to re-wash your silverware.

If you are washing your dishes in a silver sink, be careful and make sure that your silverware does not come into contact with the sink since this could scratch your silverware.

You can notice early signs of tarnishing on your silverware by colour changes. If your silverware starts to have hints of yellow regions on them, it suggests that tarnishing has commenced. The darker the colour gets, the worse the damage will be and the harder it will be to remove the stains. If you do not take immediate action, and leave your silverware as it is, it will eventually become black.

Specialist silverware cleaning products are available at department stores and hardware stores. These cleaners contain abrasives, which can also harm your silverware. Therefore, it is always wise to purchase silverware cleaner which contain as little abrasive chemicals as possible. You may also find silverware cleaners which have special chemicals in them which will act as a barrier to prevent further staining and damage to your silverware.

If you have silver polish in your cupboard, always ensure that it has not dried up before using it. Polishes which have become dried up will harm your silver because over time they have become more concentrated.

When polishing the silverware, always ensure that you use a soft cloth. Using a scrubber or a steel wool scrubber will be too abrasive for your silverware, and will scratch it further. Additionally, the wool may stick to the silverware, which can then rust over a period of time.
Once you have cleaned and polished your silverware and restored it to a good as new condition, store it in a dust free place where humidity levels are low.

Silver should never be wrapped up in newspaper since they will react with the silver and cause discolouration.

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