How You Should Clean Your Sterling Silver Flatware

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Silver should be cleaned immediately after use, especially after contact with food that may cause corrosion or contain acids such as eggs, tomatoes, mayonnaise or salt. Wash in hot soapy water using a mild soap and rinse in clean hot water. Dry immediately to avoid spotting. Avoid lemon scented detergents and those containing chloride. They can be harmful to the silver.

Do not soak your silver overnight. Prolonged immersion in water may damage the metal. Washing in a dishwasher is not recommended, as the extreme temperatures may loosen hollow-handled pieces. If you do use a dishwasher, remove the pieces before the drying cycle.

How should I store my sterling silver flatware?

Your silver should be stored in an airtight silverware chest, in Tupperware, or in bags made of tarnish resistant cloth as exposure to air will accelerate tarnishing. Storing loose in drawers will cause scratching, and some woods contain acids that will stain the silver. Keep silver away from dampness and direct sunlight. Do not wrap in plastic, newspaper or foil or bind with rubber bands.

What is the best way to polish my sterling silver?

Polish with a soft cloth with any brand name silver polish, following directions. Dips are not recommended; they will remove the oxidation from intricate designs in the patterns. Never use toothpaste.

The universal fineness mark for sterling silver is ".925" which is stamped inside the item for identification as sterling silver. Sterling silver is a beautiful metal that will last for generations with proper care.

What causes sterling silver flatware to tarnish?

Tarnish is usually caused by the contact of the sterling silver to gasses in the air and food particles.

Many people are concerned about their sterling silver tarnishing, but if you use it every day, it will actually tarnish less. Frequent use removes the need for polishing. Over time, your sterling items will develop a warm, rich tone called a "patina". A slightly darker shading (oxidation) in the design will develop and enhance the definition of the pattern.

Caring for your flatware will take some work but it is well worth it since you have paid so much for it and its value will increase overtime should it remain in excellent condition.

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Source by Rod Low

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