Cleaning Your Silver

by Emily McBride
(last updated February 15, 2010)

Whether your silver is a family heirloom or a new purchase, you want to keep it looking shiny and spotless.

  • Clean it often: The best way to clean anything is to clean it consistently. That way, it is easier to clean it and it stays looking nice longer. This principle is true of silver. Check for stains or tarnishing whenever you get your silver out, and if possible, clean it immediately. Also, clean your silver as soon as possible after each usage.
  • Wash separately: Silver can get scratched easily and will sink to the bottom of the water since it is heavy, so keep your silver away from other dishes and utensils..
  • Do not use rubber gloves: As much as you may enjoy preventing your hands from becoming pruny or smelly from cleaning, avoid using rubber gloves while cleaning your silver. Rubber corrodes silver—you do not want to risk doing damage to your silver instead of improving it!
  • Handwash: After you use your silver or if it does not appear clean, try washing it by hand. Use a gentle detergent (phosphate-free) and warm (not hot) water.
  • Polishing: Washing your silver by hand will keep it clean, but it will not get rid of tarnish. Use a silver polish, and follow the directions on the container. Take the sponge or silver-polishing cloth that usually comes with your detergent and dip a small amount in the silver polisher. Then, gently rub the sponge or cloth carefully on the silver. Use a back and forth motion, not a circular motion. You do not want to scrub—just gently rub, and the polish should be able to work its magic without harming your silver. Once you have finished polishing, rinse your silver under running water. Then, use a dry, soft cloth to carefully dry your silver.
  • Other options: Other home-formulated silver cleaners and polishers exist, but be careful before using them. One of these is toothpaste for small tarnishes. If you desire to do this, test it on a small, hidden part of your silver so that you can see if it will cause any damage or not. Baking soda is also another commonly used product. However, both toothpaste and baking soda are slightly abrasive, so it might be a good idea to only use them for spots that will not come off any other way.

Keep your silver clean and polished and it will make a great addition to any dinner table!

Author Bio

Emily McBride

A senior majoring in English and editing at BYU, Emily hopes to enter the field of professional editing upon graduation. Emily has done humanitarian work in Africa and studied in London. She enjoys blogging, foreign films, and playing the piano. ...

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