No matter the occasion, a sterling silver or silver plated piece makes a wonderful gift that can be passed on from generation to generation.
Without proper care, silver, whether solid or plated, can tarnish due to oxidization, reducing the luster and aging your heirloom. To keep your sterling and silver plated possessions bright and shiny, a little regular care and cleaning goes a long way. The following cleaning tips will easily restore your tarnished valuables into gleaming silver.
Using a soft-bristled brush or clean cloth, dust your piece before washing and waxing as dust can easily turn into an abrasive and scratch the finish.
Wash & Dry
Wash and dry your piece by hand with warm water and gentle soap, never in the dishwasher. And don’t soak silver in water for any length of time. Rinse clean with distilled water and dry immediately with a soft, lint-free cloth to avoid water spots. You can use a hair dryer set to warm to dry harder to reach places.
Lay your item on a soft towel work surface, and, wearing latex gloves (rubber can react with the silver) use a soft cotton cloth or sponge, apply a non-abrasive commercial silver cleaner or polish in a gentle circular motion. For intricate designs or hard-to-reach places, use a cotton swab. Take care to remove all polish when finished. Once the piece looks clean and shiny, stop polishing.
Do not use a toothbrush or any other tool that may be rough on the silver, including wash cloths, paper towels and napkins.
Be very gentle with silver plated items, as silver plating is thin and easy to wear away. You can salvage a piece that has been worn down to the metal beneath by having it plated again.
Sterling silver is more resilient, but intricate patterns can be worn away if not handled and cleaned with care.
Wash the piece again to remove access reside and dry with a lint free cloth. If your piece is not intended for food consumption, you can apply a thin coat of microcrystaline wax to further protect against tarnish.
To save your silver for years to come, don’t do the following:
1. Don’t use DIY recipes or liquid dips to remove tarnish or precious heirlooms
2. Don’t use a silver dip of any kind to remove tarnish, except on fork tines
3. Don’t use aluminum foil ‘recipes’
If you take care and follow these tips, your sterling silver and silver plated pieces will stay bright and like new for years to come.