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Silverkeeping: The Use and Cleaning of Silver

September 8th, 2008

silverware-clean.jpgMost of us who have “silverware” for use as culinary utensils or serving food probably don’t have actual silver, as it is more common to use the less expensive stainless steel. However, if you do happen to keep a collection of the real thing, this article by Lorraine Syratt provides some tips for keeping it properly cleaned and free of annoying tarnish.


If you want your silver trays, cutlery, and tea service to remain bright and shiny, you can expect to take a lot of care with them. Tarnished silver is as unattractive as a chip in china. Silver has lots of enemies. Eggs, salad dressing, olives, vinegar, and perfumes all cause tarnish on silver. Don’t let these stay on silver for long. Clean immediately after use.

Here are five more tips for cleaning and maintaining your favorite silverware collection:

  • Wash your silver after use with hot sudsy water and a soft cloth. Rinse in hot water and wipe dry with a soft cotton towel. If you use your silver regularly and follow this rule, you won’t have to polish it so often.
  • Keep silverware in a lined drawer and rotate the use of different pieces and sets. This way the finish will mellow uniformly.
  • Dust ornaments regularily and wash them occasionally to keep them bright.
  • There are many methods of cleaning or polishing silver, but hand rubbing with a silver polish is best. Hand rubbing with a soft cloth and polish gives the piece that desirable luster.
  • Take your time when polishing silver. Wash in hot sudsy water, rinse, and dry before you begin. Rub each piece briskly, but not too hard. Polish in straight lines, not in circles or sideways. Lastly, wash again in warm water and polish dry with a clean soft cloth. This will remove any trace of polish, especially in those raised patterns and hard to reach areas. Leftover polish can cause tarnish.

Keep your silver clean and polished and you’ll always have that bright luster.



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