How to Clean Solid Silver Cutlery

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How to Clean Solid Silver Cutlery

Nothing conveys privilege and luxury like shiny silver cutlery set, which is why the care of solid silver cutlery is very important. In the 18th century, wealthier households often employed experts known as silvermen or silver butlers for the sole purpose of cleaning, polishing and storing silverware in homes. This guide will help to identify different types of solid silver cutlery and how to clean and polish pieces to ensure that they maintain their quality and shine use after use.

History of Solid Silver Cutlery

Silver is an element that has been known and used in history since ancient times. Its use has been so ingrained in human history that it is actually unclear when it was first discovered. Silver has been used for a variety of purposes, such as currency, homeware, and even in medicine. In terms of its use as cutlery, the earliest pieces of silver that can be found on the market are spoons that date back as far as the 14th century, although pieces made even in the 16th century are considered rare and valuable. Given that silver is a precious metal, silver spoons are still a popular christening presents to imply that a child should be lucky enough to be born with a silver spoon in his or her mouth.

Discover Solid Silver Cutlery

A quality, 92.5 percent silver cutlery set can cost hundreds of pounds or even thousands of pounds depending on its condition, age, and style. The highly reflective ability of silver tends to give silver items a sense of opulence and beauty, contributing to their popularity as collectors’ items. There are a wide range of types and styles of solid silver cutlery, with patterns that reflect the eras in which they were crafted. Unfortunately, solid silver cutlery will tarnish over time. Proper care and cleaning of solid silver cutlery can help to maintain its value and keep it looking its best.

Parts of a Solid Silver Canteen

Depending on the number of people in a household or the number of people to be served dinner, the number of silver pieces required in a set can vary. Typically, there are six items per place setting and 12 place settings per canteen. The following table gives an indication of the items that can be found in a typical canteen



Table Knife

Used to cut items during the main courses.

Table Fork

Used to spear, hold, and cut items in main courses.

Soup Spoon

Used during the soup course.

Dessert Spoon

Used with dessert courses.

Dessert Fork

Used with dessert courses.


Helps stir and remove teabags from a teacup.

How to Care for Solid Silver Cutlery

Depending on the state of the silver cutlery, there are different ways and products to use to clean and polish solid silver cutlery items.

Cleaning Solid Silver Cutlery That Has Just Been Used

  • The best way to minimise corrosion of silver cutlery is to rinse it immediately after use with warm water and then wash it with normal washing liquid. This will remove any chemicals that could interact with the silver and tarnish it. In a cutlery set, forks are likely to become more tarnished than other pieces because they normally come into contact most with foods.
  • Different foods can have a corrosive effect on silver. For example, eggs and cheese are said to contain high levels of sulphur and thus, are particularly damaging for silver. Contact with these foods could cause silver to corrode if cutlery is left unwashed.
  • After washing and rinsing with soapy warm water using a non-abrasive sponge or cloth, dry the silver pieces completely with another soft, lint-free cloth. Do not rub hard or scrub as silver is a malleable metal that can easily be dented or scratched. For this reason, it is recommended that pieces of silver cutlery be washed separately to ensure that they do not clash against each other and cause damage.
  • Ensure that the cloths to be used have not come into contact with any abrasive materials that could scratch the silver cutlery. Scourers and brushes must not be used on silver. It must be remembered that silver is such a soft metal that it needs to be combined with harder substances like copper for it to have any practical use. If straight-line scratches or circular marks can be seen on the silver, then polishing has been too vigorous.
  • Although silver cutlery can be cleaned in a dishwasher, hand-washing is preferable. If a dishwasher must be used, ensure that the silver pieces are separated from each other to minimise damage. In particular, silver must be separated from stainless steel. A chemical reaction between the two could cause silver to tarnish. Once the cycle in the dishwasher is complete, remove the silver cutlery and dry it thoroughly.
  • Silver should not be left wet for long periods and should never be left overnight without drying.

Cleaning Tarnished Solid Silver Cutlery

  • Chemicals in the environment can and will cause silverware to lose its lustre. In addition, silver is also likely to tarnish faster in highly humid environments than in dryer climates. When sulphur comes into contact with silver, silver sulphide is formed on the surface. This is usually first noticed when silver takes on a yellowish hue, which if left untreated will turn brown and in severe cases of oxidisation, the metal can bear dark brown or blue or black patches.
  • To remove the tarnish is in effect to change the silver sulphide back to silver, so that the former lustre of the cutlery can be restored. Cleaning with a special-purpose silver cloth can restore the shine of the cutlery that is lightly tarnished. Use the cloth to wipe and polish the piece of silver, firmly but without excessive rubbing, and its original brilliance can be regained.
  • If a piece of silver is heavily tarnished, industrial cleaning products can be used. There are several types of cleaning products on the market. The first kind comes in the form of a paste or foam. Apply the paste or foam onto a dry, soft cloth and rub it over the tarnished areas until the shine on the cutlery is restored. This form of cleaning product is particularly useful for pieces that are especially expensive as cleaning requires careful handling of individual pieces.
  • The second type of cleaning product comes in the form of liquids into which silver pieces can be dipped. The main thing to remember is that the liquid must not come into contact with human eyes, and if it comes into contact with skin, affected areas must be washed immediately. The room in which the dipping is taking place should also be well-ventilated. Silver pieces should not be dipped in such liquids for more than 10 seconds, although different products will have different requirements. It is important to follow the instructions for each brand. These polish dips could be practical for pieces that are intricately designed and have hard-to-reach curves and indentations. By immersing the silver cutlery in the liquid dips, the tarnished hard-to-reach areas could easily become shiny again. Remove the silver once the required immersion time is up. Then crucially, rinse the chemicals off with warm water. This will ensure that the silver is not overly-treated, which could cause abrasion. This is why it is important not to immerse the silver in the dips any longer than the time specified in the product’s instructions for use. Once the cutlery has been rinsed off, dry it completely with a soft cloth and remove all trace of chemicals. For silver pieces that contain or are formed together with other materials, ensure that the liquid dips do not come into contact with these other materials.
  • For large silver pieces that may not fit into the containers of the liquid dips, there is a third option. Some silver polishes come in the form of granules that can be dissolved in water. Follow the instructions that accompany the product and use an appropriately-sized container that will allow the silver pieces to be immersed. Again, once the tarnish has been removed, rinse the silver pieces under warm water and dry thoroughly.
  • To treat specific areas of tarnish, a fourth kind of cleaning product in the form of a spray can be used. Typically, leave the spray on the silver for 20-30 seconds, depending on the product specifications. Then, using a soft cloth, polish the silver until the tarnish is removed.

Popular Solid Silver Polish Manufacturers

  • Hagerty
  • Goddard’s
  • Silvo
  • Town Talk
  • Arthur Price

Finding Solid Silver Polish on eBay

Once you determine the type of solid silver cutlery cleaner you want to purchase, visit the Home, Furniture and DIY portal on eBay, click on `Cleaning, Laundry and Vacuuming´, then `Cleaning Products and Supplies´ and start searching item listings. The Categories list on the left-hand side of the eBay page helps to narrow the search.

Searching for Solid Silver Polish on eBay

Search eBay listing titles for specific words when shopping for silver polish. For example, to find Goddard’s Silver Pad, type `Goddard’s Silver Pad´ into the search box, and then click the Advanced button to customise the results. Also visit eBay’s Search Tips ppage for more advice on searching for silver cutlery polish and cleaners with keywords. If you can’t find the exact silver cutlery polish you want, try shopping eBay Stores<.


Cleaning and maintaining the shine on silver is not a difficult job, but certainly one worth taking seriously. Be familiar with the products on the market and how they can be used. Once you have collected this information, you can buy a solid silver cutlery polish safely and securely on eBay..

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