Home treatments to keep silver shining

June 30, 2015

Cleaning silver place settings, silverware and decorative silver and storing them properly are key to refurbishing and maintaining treasured belongings.Thankfully, removing it requires only a bit of tender loving care.

Home treatments to keep silver shining

Silverware, silver place settings and decorative items made from this precious metal have been treasured over generations — but with age comes tarnish.

First aid for tarnished silverware

  • When silver shows the first traces of tarnish, immerse it in either sour milk (milk with a couple dashes of vinegar) or buttermilk for 30 minutes; then wash it off and polish with a soft cloth.
  • Treat minor spots of tarnish with a paste of cornstarch or baking soda and water. Let the paste work for a few minutes, then rinse it off and wipe dry with a soft cloth.

Silver place settings and silverware

  • Silver tarnishes upon contact with egg, broccoli and fish; wash it immediately after use.
  • Egg spots on silver vanish quickly when you rub them with damp salt. Then rinse the silverware thoroughly with tap water.
  • Remove spots on silver coffeepots with very fine steel wool and a little vinegar.
  • To clean the interior of your silver teapot, fill it with boiling water and add a little baking soda. Let it work overnight and rinse thoroughly.

Decorative items

  • Clean embossed or punch-marked silver pieces with lukewarm, soapy water and a soft brush.
  • For verdigris on copper, brass or bronze, gently rub on a mixture of salt and lemon juice, then buff off.
  • Wipe silver pieces with intentionally-darkened decorative areas with a cloth for polishing silver — that way the darkened indentations remain dark.

How to make your own silver dip

  1. Half-fill a sink with warm water.
  2. Insert a piece of aluminum foil in the sink, along with 30 millilitres (two tablespoons) of salt and 45 millilitres (three tablespoons) of baking soda.
  3. Dip your silver in the solution. Most tarnish will simply slide off, but you may have to soak some stains for five minutes at a time.
  4. If stains remain, remove silver from dip, clean with soap and a rag and insert again.
  5. Remove the silver and wipe with a soft cloth until shiny.
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