Monday, July 1, 2013
If your favorite silverware is looking a little worn and tarnished, it’s better to clean it straight away rather than leave it to develop overtime. You can clean silver using many methods, from natural to shop-bought. To clean silver the simple way, follow this easy how-to guide.
The most common thing to look out for on silver is when the surface starts to darken. The reason this needs inspecting on a regular basis is that tarnish could actually corrode your silver from the surface within so it’s important maintenance is carried out as often as it naturally needs it. Fingerprints are also very common on silver so look out for grime, dirt and dust as well as tarnish.
Firstly, the easiest method is to try using a clean sponge with a little toothpaste and gently rub away any tarnish; rinse off with water. You can also use toothpaste to clean a tarnished cloth or sponge. Another easy way to clean silver is by using a specially formulated silver polish, available in most supermarkets and online. This is a great method for those more expensive or antique silvers you might own. Always follow the instructions on the product before you begin. It’s also an idea to spot-test any silver you are cleaning to ensure you aren’t staining it or promoting even more tarnish.
When cleaning silver in the sink, funnily enough using rubber gloves can damage silver and create tarnish. Instead of wearing rubber gloves, careful rub your silverware with a soft cloth and dry afterwards using a dry towel. Another tip is to avoid cleaning silver with any sponges that have the potential to scratch. When rubbing silver, rub in a straight line rather than in circles.
Watch out for toothpaste or silver cleaning products containing baking soda, as these are very abrasive and will promote damage and tarnish. You can also purchase specially formulated silver cleaning solutions whereby you dip your silver in them rather than rub them. The solution therefore does its job without you having to rub or scrub it clean. This will again help you to avoid damaging your silver any further.
You could also try dabbing the surface of your silver with a little white spirit – this will effectively remove any dirt and grime. This might not remove tarnish but it will help to lift any grease collected over time. Also try to clean the corners of silverware using a soft cotton bud rather than something sharp.
It’s important to note that not all silver is designed to be polished; some antique silverware is supposed to look slightly darker, especially silver that is engraved. Some matte surfaces will always look a little tarnished, so ensure you avoid scrubbing these clean as it is part of the silver’s natural appearance. Before you start cleaning, inspect your object to see whether it really needs tarnish-removing.
If your silver is naturally tarnished or antique, a good old-fashioned dusting will keep it looking it’s best. Avoid scrubbing or rubbing the object, as this will potentially damage it. Promote it’s natural vintage appearance by cleaning away any collected dust and debris using a dustpan and brush.
If you keep on top of cleaning your silverware not only will this reduce the likelihood of tarnish developing, but it will also keep it looking shiny, smooth and as good as new.