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Sunday, April 14, 2024

Tips for Cleaning Silver

By the RestorationSOS Educational Staff

Silver tea sets and other silver items in your home are beautiful, but they can also become quite the eyesore if they are allowed to become tarnished or dull. The saving grace is that silver items may be effectively cleaned and restored to their original beauty with just a little elbow grease and proper treatment.

Firstly, and most importantly, silver should always be washed and dried by hand. Do not run them through a dishwasher. Nor should they be allowed to dry on rubber mats since the rubber contains sulfuric elements that may cause corrosion to the silver. Always use a soft lint-free cloth when drying and wiping down silver in order to prevent scratching.

Most silver may remain free of tarnishing if used frequently; however, blemishes do tend to happen, so occasional polishing will be required. If you use a commercially available silver polish, be sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions. The polish should be rubbed in thoroughly and then buffed off using a dry polishing cloth. Continue buffing until a bright sheen is achieved.

Homemade Cleaning Tips

You can also make your own silver dip using two tablespoons of salt mixed with two tablespoons of baking soda. Add this mix to a sink of steaming hot water. Place a sheet of aluminum foil in the bottom of the sink and then place the silver item in the water. The tarnish will visibly disappear in this solution. If the item is heavily tarnished, allow it to sit in the solution for a longer period of time.

How to Store Silver

When storing your silver, be sure to treat it with a tarnish-retardant polish. Then wrap the silver in two or more layers of plastic wrap to reduce exposure to the air. This prevents oxidation which can damage silver. The item should be stored on a piece of polyurethane wood. Add some activated charcoal to the storage area to reduce humidity and moisture levels and free the area of gases and fumes known to cause tarnish.

Refrain from using steel wool pads or any other abrasive materials on silver as they may easily scratch the surface. Dry silver as thoroughly as possible since water spots may eventually turn into black spots which are almost impossible to polish off by hand. Do not allow silver to remain dirty following its use. Get it promptly into a cleaning agent and remove any food or other material. Do not store unwrapped silver in plastic bags or wrap, and be sure that no rubber bands come into contact with the silver. Rubber bands are petroleum based and may stain the silver surface.

Silver is easily cleaned, but also easily marred. Do your homework ahead of time and determine the best schedule for cleaning and polishing your silver.

Recommended Reading
Tips for Cleaning Gold

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