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R P Day & Co
15 Tunwell Greave
Sheffield
S5 9GB
UK

A Division Of Sheffield On The Internet


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CARING FOR YOUR CUTLERY/FLATWARE

There are a number of do's and dont's when it comes to looking after your cutlery. The following is not an exhaustive set of recommendations, but we will try to assist you to avoid some of the pitfalls.

Stainless Steel

stainless steel cutleryThe highest quality of stainless steel cutlery is 18/10, meaning it contains 18% chrome for durability and protection against corrosion, and 10% nickel for lustre and resistance to high temperatures.

All Arthur Price and Elkington stainless steel cutlery is dishwasher safe. Follow manufacturers' instructions.
Avoid mixing stainless steel cutlery with silver/silver plated cutlery in the dishwasher basket as this will corrode the steel. Take special care with knives - the higher percentage of chrome makes them more prone to corrosion.
The damp atmosphere of a dishwasher can cause damage over time so try to remove and dry your cutlery as soon as the cycle has finished.
Keep dishwasher rinse agent topped up to prevent smearing.
Restore shine with a stainless steel polish.
When hand-washing, avoid using liquid bleach and ensure that detergents are dissolved otherwise staining may occur.
Prolonged contact with water should be avoided as this also has a corrosive effect.
Once your cutlery is washed, try to dry as quickly as possible using a soft cloth.
Do not use scouring pads or abrasive sponges when washing as they can scratch.
Avoid detergents containing lemon.
Do not clean stainless steel items with silver polish as it is too acidic.
If staining does occur, a good stainless steel cleaner can be used to remove marks.
Please remember that over time small surface scuffs and scratches will develop and this is only natural.
Remember stainless steel means it stains less not that it doesn't stain at all.

silver plate cutlery

Silver-Plated Cutlery

Silver coating is applied to cutlery made from a mixture of copper, zinc and nickel. Both silver-plated and sterling silver cutlery are corrosion-resistant, but can be tarnished by sulphides in the atmosphere and in certain foods, such as eggs.
Cleaning silver plated cutlery
Wash separately from stainless steel - Any contact while wet can result in a chemical reaction that can damage the silver.
Restore the shine with a soft dry cloth, and store in an anti-tarnish roll or canteen.

Silver Cutlery

argentumSilver is a soft metal, which scratches easily, but with proper care, over time it develops a beautiful sheen ("Patina") the name for a warm tone in appearance.
You will want to try to avoid your silver tarnishing.
The first step is to avoid excessive tarnish build-up in the first place. This makes occasional cleaning easier.
Cleaning Silver/Silver-Plated Cutlery
Wash separately from stainless steel items to avoid damage.
Use a silver polish to clean tarnished silver, following manufacturers' instructions, and use a silver cloth.
If you have been using silver flatware, it should be cleaned as soon as possible after use, using a mild detergent. Some foods can react by virtue of the acids or chemicals contained in them (apples, eggs, vinegar, salt, condiments).
We would recommend careful hand washing in warm soapy water with gentle dishwashing soap followed by a quick drying with a soft cloth. We do not recommend the use of dishwashers for silver surfaces (see below).
Even a long soak in water can have an adverse effect so we recommend doing the washing up after your meal rather than leaving the cutlery to soak overnight.
Do not use silver dips, abrasives, all-puropse metal cleaners, toothpaste or anything that does not come with a maker's guarantee and recommendation. You won't be able to complain to Colgate if use of their toothpaste does not give your cutlery a ring of confidence around it.
Try to avoid scratching of pieces if they are being washed together.
Remember that silver/silverplated knives will have stainless steel blades due to silver not being a strong enough material.
Dishwasher Use
We advise against the use of dishwashers for any cutlery.
No material is truly stainless and it is easy to spoil the condition and appearance of cutlery, particularly silver/silverplated cutlery, by inappropriate use of dishwashers and/or detergents.
Here's a reader's letter taken from The Times that goes some way to explaining how things can go wrong if dishwashers are used, and how it's not always a fault with the cutlery itself -
Q: How can I remove the blue tarnish from stainless steel cutlery? I've reduced the rinse aid setting in the dishwasher, which helped a little. The cutlery manufacturer said to use a stainless steel cleaner, but the bloom persists.
A: Sounds like "detergent bloom", caused by a build-up of dried-on detergent. The likely cause is your dishwasher not rinsing properly, rather than the detergent. The same can happen if you overdose with rinse aid. So keep tweaking to see if it improves; if not, get an engineer to check the machine.
I'm surprised the stainless steel cleaners haven't worked. Try soaking the cutlery in vinegar for 5-10 minutes, then rinsing. Do the same with crockery and glasses as these will be affected as well; it's just not as visible on white ceramic, while glassware goes all colours, eventually turning white, before you are likely to notice.
Polishing
Excessive polishing silver can wear down the finish, so take care not to over-do it.
With plastic gloves rather than rubber, place the pieces onto a work surface with a towel underneath. Use a soft cotton cloth and non-abrasive silver cleaner or polish. Some people prefer foams and liquids easier to work with compared with pastes. Apply the polish in a circular motion. If you have intricate areas on the piece, use a swab to apply. You need to be sure that all of the polish is removed when you have finished. Once the items look clean and shiny, cease polishing even if you are still seeing dark residue on your cloth. The items should be washed again after polishing.
We do have access to a re-polishing service.
Silver Dip
Silver dip is a tricky substance to work with and can ruin your cutlery if you do not follow the makers' instructions precisely. For example, do not allow the dip to spill onto steel surfaces (this includes blades of "silver" knives which are stainless steel) or, say, onto your sink's draining board.
You should check with the suppliers
for advice as to how best to use silver dip.   
Storage
cutlery storageAfter your pieces are clean and completely dry, wrap each item individually in acid-free buffered tissue, or washed cotton, linen, or polyester to store. Wrapping pieces in specially made bags or silver cloths (rolls) designed to deter tarnish make good storage choices as well.
The rolls can be tied up before putting them away, ideally in a non-humid location. Cloth Rolls are impregnated to help your silver cutlery stay brighter for longer. Or, make use of a canteen which will help to maintain a safer more air-tight environment for the cutlery. Do not use wool, felt, chamois leather or newspaper, which can cause excessive tarnishing that will be difficult to clean, or even worse, remove plating.
 
Displaying Cutlery
If you are displaying your silver pieces, be sure to avoid unvarnished wooden shelves as they can emit harmful vapors. Avoid displaying or storing silver near cotton felt, wool or velvet.
If possible, avoid direct sunlight as this can accelerate the progression of the unattractive film, so place the display case away from sunny windows for best results.
Many experts recommend that the best way to keep silver cutlery looking good, is to use it frequently. This will help to develop the patina.
If these steps are followed you can look forward to many years of good service from your cutlery.