Cleaning Silver & Plated Silver
Firstly, it must be said that silver and silver plated items are very simple to clean and keep clean. Silver and silver plated items should always be cleaned separately. Sterling silver is an alloy of 92 .5 % silver and 7 .5 % copper. Its attractiveness increases with use and age, this causes a patina or soft creamy sheen to form. Plated silver is silver that has been electroplated over various other metals. Silver tarnishes when exposed to air. Store in treated cloth, or sealed plastic film.
Rubbing by hand with a clean dry cloth develops patina on silver which adds to its beauty. Polishing silver while wearing rubber gloves promotes tarnish. Instead, use plastic or cotton gloves.
Rubber harshly affects silver. Rubber can decay silver, and it can become so deeply etched that only a skilled silversmith can repair the damage. Raised designs can be lost permanently. Avoid using storage cabinets or chests with rubber seals, rubber floor coverings, rubber bands, etc.
Silver is harshly affected by salt, olives, salad dressing, eggs, vinegar and fruit juices. Although flowers and fruit look lovely in silver containers, the acid produced as they decay can etch the containers and cause serious damage. When using silver containers, always use plastic or glass liners.
Good quality ( thick ) aluminum Foil and soda crystals: Place a sheet of good quality aluminum oven foil in the bottom of a suitable Pyrex bowl; add 3-5 inches, as required, of boiling water and 2 tablespoons of soda crystals. Add silver pieces, making sure the water covers the silver pieces. Remove silver, rinse, dry, and buff with a soft cloth. This technique cleans the design and crevices of silver items.
Silver dips Silver dips purchased from supermarkets and hardware shops should be used in moderation, and silver and silver plated items should be dipped for only a few seconds, always separately. Silver dips perform an excellent job of removing tarnish, particularly from silver and silver plated cutlery. We would recommend Connoisseurs Silver jewellery cleaner, as we get excellent results with this product
Silver foaming polish: one of the most effective and gentle methods of cleaning silver. Simply soak the sponge supplied in hot water and squeeze out. Then apply the foaming polish to the silver with the sponge, rub up to a cleaning lather, sponge off and dry straight away. Lightly polish with a soft dry cloth for a gleaming finish. We would recommend Goddard's "Silver Pad Foaming Polish", as we get excellent results with this product.
Silver cleaning plates
Electrolytic silver cleaning plates are a thorough way to clean silver, safely and swiftly. This is an effective silver tarnish remover. The silver cleaning plate cleans under water, removing tarnish from the pieces placed on it. Used in your sink, there is no mess or fuss, just the draining away of the water after each cleaning session. Its effectiveness as a silver cleaner is excellent.
Ultra sound machines:
We do not recommend ultra sound machines for cleaning silver. We use an expensive ultra sound machine for other applications but have had no success whatsoever in cleaning silver with it.
Silver Cutlery Care
Silver is tarnished by salt and salt air, sulfur and sulfur-containing foods, and rubber. Do not let silver stand with food on it; salty or acid foods can stain it. Rinse in soapy water if it will not be washed promptly.
Store silverware in a container lined with tarnish- resistant flannel or air-tight plastic bag when not in use. Do not put rubber bands on silver as they cause tarnish. Handle silver with care to avoid nicks and scratches.
Cleaning Flatware: Wash in hot soapy water. Rinse well and dry thoroughly straight away. Do not let hollow handled silverware or hollow ware stand in water as a combination of heat, water, and detergent may loosen soldering.
Washing in a Dishwasher Most silver cutlery can be washed in a dishwasher, at a low temperature, but the patina on fine silver is improved by the hand rubbing that occurs when washing and drying by hand. Hollow handles may be loosened with exposure to heat and detergent in the dishwasher.
Electrolytic methods of cleaning Aluminum, salt, soda and hot water are not recommended for cleaning silver with an oxidized finish. Do not spill dry dishwasher detergent on flatware; it may cause dark spots. If washing both silverware and stainless steel flatware in the dishwasher, do not put in the same basket section or let one metal touch the other, or the silver may be permanently damaged. New sterling silverware sometimes gets brown spots after washing in the dishwasher. In automatic dish washing, a reaction can occur between water droplets and the small portion of copper at the surface to cause brown spots on some pieces. After the silverware has been washed several times, the copper on the surface is gone and the surface is pure silver. Avoid such spotting on new silverware by washing and drying new silverware by hand for the first ten washes. If you want to use the dishwasher, follow these precautions: Use the automatic rinse dispenser feature of a dishwasher. The rinse agent lowers the surface tension of the rinse water so it skims off the surfaces and droplets don't form. Or use a rinse agent in solid form that hangs on the dishwasher rack, if your dishwasher does not have an automatic rinse dispenser. Remove new silverware from the dishwasher at once after the last rinse cycle and dry thoroughly for the first ten times. When using a dishwasher always err on the side of caution, a little care and all will be well.
Silver cleaning clothes are an excellent and quick way to clean and polish light tarnish and dirt from silver items. We would recommend Connoisseurs polishing cloth as we get excellent results with this product.