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Polishing, Cleaning & Care of Silver & Flatware

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CARE & LOVE for YOUR STERLING or SILVERPLATE FLATWARE

 

CELEBRATE and CHERISH the ownership of your fine sterling, Silverplate flatware or holloware.  Fine silver is a lifetime and generational investment.  Nothing graces a table lovelier than fine silver and china. The patina and glow of your silverware cannot be matched by stainless.  It won’t wear out, so use it daily, as well as for those special occasions. When I was a young woman with small children, I purchased my favorite patterns of silver a piece at a time at antique shows, on the Internet, and garage sales to build up my set. For me, it was any grape pattern. I love & cherish all the wonderful grape patterns made by many different companies.

Over my lifetime I have been able to give each of my married children a complete set of sterling silver. And know that many patterns in Silverplate are just as lovely and desirable as sterling. A fine set of silver in today's economy doesn't have to be sterling.

THE MOST SERIOUS DANGERS to your silver are salt, eggs, mayonnaise, acid foods such as tomatoes, onions, vinegar and citrus.  Silver does not like rubber so don't use a rubber band to keep groups of silver together for storage.

DO NOT leave your silver in contact with these foods for long periods (like overnight), although usually it will just discolor your silver that you can polish out. If these foods are left in contact for long periods, it can cause pitting of your silver.  So be aware.  If you are running late, after a party, at least rinse your silver off with warm, sudsy water shortly after use. Don’t let food sit on your fine silver overnight and don't let it soak in water overnight either. Proper care of your silver will ensure a long life of your precious flatware. Soaking some types of silver, ones that have parts that are glued or resined together, like some knives or some types of hollow handled silverware can loosen and come apart.   

NEVER, NEVER put your silver in the dishwasher!!  It will pit badly over time. This also applies to hand decorated china ware. Especially that gold rim that graces your plates and cups or fine hand painted china. There are professionals who say it is OK to put your silver in the dishwasher if you use certain 'rules' or conditions to do so. I, personally, would never wash my silver in a dishwasher under any circumstances; especially if you intend it to be generational, to pass on for years and years. 

TARNISH & POLISHING

Sterling or Silverplate will tarnish over time if not used and washed frequently.  It is of great value to store your silver in a flatware box or chest lined with anti-tarnish felt.

Should you need to polish your silver, use a cream polish and a soft rag.  (I recommend Wright’s silver cream & an old terry cloth and even a soft toothbrush for hard to reach places). Whatever protection you can provide, whether a silver chest, a silver flatware lined box, a drawer or even a handmade soft drawstring bag will go a long way towards protecting the silver from tarnishing and the need to polish. 

NEVER USE the ‘dip it’ liquids or other ‘home’ remedies to polish your silver.  These products or recipes actually remove some of the silver. That’s how it ‘cleans’!! It is bad news.  Gently clean your silver with a cream polish and when the desired luster is reached, wash in warm, soapy water, and dry with a soft cotton cloth.  I like to use a 100% soft cotton flour sack dish towel for the final drying & polish. Even the old cotton diapers work well for drying.

STORAGE -- I usually polish a piece or two of silver almost every week so that I don’t end up having to polish a whole set the day before I need it.  The pieces we use every day just go in a separate kitchen drawer much like the stainless except I have put ant-tarnish felt lined silver boxes, the divided kind, in the drawer instead of the plastic divided ones like we buy for other types of flatware. Most of these inserts have a large felt flap to go over the top so the silver rarely gets tarnished. I pick up these anti tarnish drawer boxes at garage sales, antique shows, or they can be purchased on the Internet. They look like the insides of a silver chest, but are freestanding.

Silver also tends to tarnish easier/faster in the winter months when exposed to the forces of furnaces and wood stoves; perhaps due to more air movement. I don't really know why this occurs but it does. I don't live in a humid climate but I would imagine humidity also results in faster tarnishing of our pretty silver.

DON'T BE AFRAID to use and enjoy your silver.  It was designed for those very things, and life is too short not to enjoy the things we love most. Lots of use is what gives silver the lovely patina that older silver attains. 

If your Silverplate does wear thin, or through to the base metal, it can be replated or restored.  But it takes a lot of hard use to get that much wear and it is still safe to eat with if it is worn.  Sterling is silver all the way through, so it should last forever with proper care.

RESTORATION:

If you need to have Silverplate resilvered or restored, Google or search for 'foundries' or 'restoring silver' for a reliable, professional company. These companies can also put more modern blades on your silver if yours are the early, old fashion kind. You can even have them put steak or serrated blades on your knives. I had smaller, 'luncheon blades' put on some of the silver knives I own. A good foundry can restore dings, dents and many other imperfections for all of your silver pieces. 

DO TAKE CARE to count your silver pieces after a large party.  Sometimes a piece gets into the trash or disposal unbeknownst to the unsuspecting host.  

CELEBRATE, CHERISH, & ENJOY USING YOUR SILVER !!! 

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