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There are a number of do's and dont's when it comes to looking after sterling silver pieces. The following is not an exhaustive set of recommendations, but we will try to assist you to avoid some of the pitfalls.
You will want to try to avoid your silver developing a tarnish. Instead, it should develop a "patina" - the name for a warm tone in appearance.
The first step is to avoid excessive tarnish build-up in the first place. This makes occasional cleaning easier.
Excessive polishing silver can wear down the finish, so take care not to over-do it.
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 (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.
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 knives will have stainless steel blades due to silver not being a strong enough material.
Please see our section offering a range of products and cleaners that will help to keep your silver looking good for as long as possible.
Click here for Silver Cleaners & Silver Care Products.
Polishing - 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 are 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.
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 / silver plated knives which are stainless steel) or, say, onto your sink's draining board.
We prefer not to advise upon nor to take responsibility for recommending silver dip usage because of the risks of mis-use. Therefore, if you do elect to use this cleaning agent, then please check with the suppliers for advice as to how best to use silver dip.
After your pieces are clean and completely dry, wrap each of them individually in acid-free buffered tissue, or washed cotton, linen, or polyester
to store. Wrapping pieces in specially made bags or silver cloths designed to deter tarnish make good storage choices as well.
We can supply Cloth Roll Storage Bags which offer good protection of silver/silver plated cutlery. They have a capacity of 12 pieces and each item is inserted individually into the roll which can be tied up before putting them away, ideally in a non-humid location. The cloth rolls are impregnated to help your silver cutlery stay brighter for longer.
Alternatively, you may wish to make use of a canteen which will help to maintain a safer more air-tight environment for the cutlery.
Please see our Showroom page for Cloth Rolls and Canteens where these items can be found.
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.
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.
Here is a book called "Caring For Your Cherished Possessions: The Experts Guide To Cleaning, Preserving And Protecting Your China, Silver,
Furniture, Clothes, Paintings".
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