Removing Tarnish from Silverware

Have you inherited or purchased fine silverware and are wondering about removing and preventing tarnish? Do you want to keep your fine silverware in the best possible condition so you can pass it down to the next generation? You can keep it looking great with minimal effort, and chances are you’ll be surprised at how easy it is to keep your silver flatware clean, shiny, and looking good.

Put it to Use!

Don’t be afraid to use your silverware. Contrary to popular belief, using fine silver flatware on a regular basis enhances the beauty. Many people only use their silver flatware for special occasions, and many more never use it at all. Get out your silverware, clean it properly, and use it regularly. It will develop a rich patina that could never be achieved while packed away in a box.

Washing and Drying

Immediately upon clearing the table, wash your silver flatware in hot soapy water, and rinse it thoroughly. It’s especially important to wash silverware as soon as possible if it has come in contact with cooked vegetables, eggs, vinegar, salt, juice, or mustard. Dry it with a lint-free towel immediately thereafter to avoid spotting.

Silverware can be washed in the dishwasher if it isn’t oxidized or antique. Very old silver flatware sometimes has hollow handles that could loosen when washed in the dishwasher. The pattern of oxidized silverware can be dissolved in the dishwasher and should be washed gently by hand.

Silver Dip or Cream?

We’ve all seen commercials for silver dip that demonstrates how easy it is to remove years of tarnish. With one single dip, tarnish appears to melt away within seconds. Silver dips do in fact work very well, but they should never be used for removing tarnish from oxidized silver flatware. Besides removing tarnish, silver dip will also remove decorative oxidization. Cream polish is best for removing tarnish from oxidized pieces.

Easy Homemade Tarnish Remover

Baking soda, aluminum foil, a shallow glass pan, and boiling water are all you need to begin removing tarnish from your silverware. The tarnish will magically transfer from the silver to the aluminum foil in a matter of minutes.

Simply line a glass pan with aluminum foil. Make sure the shiny side of the foil is facing upwards. Place the tarnished silverware in the pan, and sprinkle a rounded tablespoon of baking soda on top. Cover them with boiling water. The tarnish will fade from the silverware and attach to the foil.

Rinse the silverware in lukewarm water, and polish it to a brilliant shine with a lint-free soft cloth. Continue this process until all tarnished pieces of silverware look like new.

Preventing Tarnish

Removing tarnish on a regular basis is a chore, no matter how easy the method. Sulfur compounds in the air are what cause the unsightly stains, so it’s important to store silver flatware properly when not in use.

When storing silverware, keep it wrapped in tissue paper or in fabric designed to inhibit tarnish, and don’t secure the paper with rubber bands. Rubber oxidizes and stains silverware. In addition, don’t cover silverware with plastic wrap. It too will oxidize and stain silverware.

Keep your wrapped silverware in a closed cabinet until ready to use. If properly wrapped and stored, your silver flatware will look as brilliant as it did the day you put it away.

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