Cleaning Silver Guide

Purchase some good silver cream. We would recommend silver polish that has a 'Long Term' formulation to inhibit retarnishing.

1. Read the instructions on your particular container of silver cream and follow them if they vary from this tutorial.

2. Gather all of your silver to be polished and set the pieces near the kitchen sink. Spread some paper towels nearby to provide an area to set the pieces once the cream is applied.

3. Wash or rinse each silver item in hot water to remove dust. Then, while the silver is still warm, dip into the cream with a moistened foam sponge or soft rag. Spread the cream quickly over the entire silver piece. Try to cover an area completely with a thin layer of silver cream. Then go back and rub each area just until the tarnish disappears. Small items will take 15-30 seconds, while larger pieces may take up to 2 minutes to finish.

4. On large pieces such as bowls, cover the entire inside area first, so the cream covers the whole surface. Then go back and rub it in where tarnish is evident. Next, go on to put cream on the outside surfaces and repeat. Rinse right away, or set each piece on paper toweling. Proceed to the next piece. Work quickly. You can apply cream to 10 serving bowls or to flatware for six in less than 10 minutes. When you feel like taking a break, rinse out the sponge and wash your hands.

5. Next, pick up each silver creamed piece and gently rinse it under warm or cool running water, rubbing away all traces of the silver cream with a very clean soft sponge (like the foam sponge used to apply the cream) or a soft cotton rag. As you wash, be careful of felt covered bottoms (often found on candlesticks) and try not to get them wet. If necessary, dry the item for several hours on its side so the felt bottom can dry out completely.

6. Set the clean rinsed silver on a clean dry towel and use that to dry the silver thoroughly and avoid water marks. (Plain cotton flour sack towels are good at absorbing water without leaving lint.)

7. Dry intricate crevices with a Q-tip if desired, then air dry the silver for several hours so all joints and crevices dry completely. Return the silver to its display or storage area.

8. Keeping stored silver in special flannel silvercloth bags will keep it shiny longer, however you won't be able to enjoy the beauty of the pieces.

9. Washing silver frequently may help avoid frequent polishing. Or, polishing silver 2-6 times a year is generally sufficient to keep it in good shape.

Quick Tips

1. Avoid the use of tarnish "rinses" or "dips" as they tend to yellow the silver and won't give it that wonderful rich silver glow.

2. Salt is one of the worst foods to touch silver and tarnishes it quickly. Keep salt away from silver whenever possible, or wash salt residues away immediately after use.

3. Polish silver flatware up to 3 weeks before a special occasion, and polish it in early November to use all through the holidays.

4. Using paste cream, rather than thinner runny solutions in bottles, is often easier to handle.

5. For the look of aged silver, leave some of the tarnish in crevices.