Sparkling, shining, scintillating – these are the adjectives used to describe silver. Silver is a lustrous metal that adorns the table at many a home in royal fashion. Thought of a symbol of high society and rich patronage, silver found its way into household use in the form of silver cutlery, tableware, tea sets and even candelabra. Buying silver is easy when compared to maintaining its sheen and luster. We have to rack our brains on how to clean the silver without causing any lasting scratches, dents or bents to our estate items.
Silver in sterling from, is an alloy 0f 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper and is often used in estate items. With use, silver develops a soft sheen or patina which adds to its beauty.
This beauty should not be marred by tarnishing, mishandling or misuse. Silver has the unique tendency of getting tarnished on oxidation or exposure to air and hence turns black quickly. This is due to the formation of silver sulfide on absorbing th moisture in the air. We have to find a way on how to clean the silver easily as it gets tarnished quite frequently.
When one asks how to clean silver jewellery, one may easily say – take it to a polish shop. But just imagine running to the shop every now and then and that too at what expense. Also added to this is the problem of safeguarding your silver treasures and trinkets while you move about. Instead one can contemplate on how to clean silver at home.
How to Clean Silver at Home
Home is the best place to clean your silver as you have a variety of items ready in hand to choose from for this purpose. Since the objects used are of daily use, one does not need to spend extra for them. Here are some tips on how to clean silver easily.
Mild soapy water:
The easiest way to clean silver quickly is to soak it in lukewarm soapy water and buffing it with a soft cloth.
For starters, one can start with a dab of white toothpaste. Toothpaste works wonders in cleaning silver easily with its foam and fluoride. Read our article on how to clean silver with toothpaste which will give you more insights on cleaning silver easily. Use a soft brush for the crevices and corners.
Baking soda :
Next on the how to clean silver plate list is a pinch of baking soda and a wet sponge. First mix baking soda in a little water to form a paste. Now dip the sponge in the paste and start rubbing the tarnished item with this paste. Finally rinse with hot water and dry the item immediately with a soft and dry cloth. For highly blackened or heavily tarnished silver leave the baking soda paste on the item for an hour or so.
The Aluminum Foil and Soda treatment:
For maximum effectiveness, take a pan and line it with aluminum foil. Now add water, and one teaspoonful of baking soda and salt. Bring the water to a boil and immerse all your silver trinket s in it. Now pat dry and polish with a soft dry cloth. Here the aluminum foil issued to retain the heat of the water which removes the impurities from silver easily.
Corrosion caused by salt or food is removed by soaking silver in a mixture of hot vinegar and salt in the ratio 2:1 for 5 min. Rinse and dry immediately.
Silver Cleaning Tips
Silver comes in many a form for home use – as table ware, cutlery, candelabra, ornamental show pieces, idols, jewelry and so on. Depending on the intricate work, finish, size nature and use of the silver , the cleaning technique differs.
- Deeply carved ornamental pieces must be hand rubbed using a creamy polish. The patina or sheen on the silver is enhanced by hand-rubbing
- Silver idols or decorative pieces coated with French gray polish must be polished with a high quality cream and patted using a soft cloth.
- Silver flatware must be cleaned in lukewarm warm soapy water and patted dry immediately.
Dos and Don’ts of silver-cleaning:
1. Never use rubber for storing or cleaning silver. Rubber is silver’s arch enemy. It contains sulfur which corrodes the intricate works of silver on prolonged contact.
2. so do not allow silver to come into contact with any rubber items like rubber bands, rubber placemats, or rubber silver holders
3. Always use cotton or plastic gloves while cleaning silver. Never use rubber ones.
4. Do not store your silver in rubber-lined or rubber-walled or rubber- floored wooden chests. Even valises made of rubber are taboo for silver.
5. Store silver in a cloth-lined wooden box for best results. Even cloth bags or plastic pouches will do. Wrapping silver in cloth ensures its dryness and keeps it tarnish free
6. Put a few pieces of white chalk in your wooden cabinet while storing silver. This absorbs all the moisture and keeps away tarnish.
7. Pre-treat silver with a tarnish retardant polish before storing for a long time.
8. Never let food get caked up in silver utensils. Wash away the food or beverages instantly from the silver items. The salt in the food is the main corrosive agent.
9. Olives, eggs and fruit juices too have a corrosive effect on silver. So avoid serving foods with these ingredients in silver utensils.
10. Do not use very hot soapy water for cleaning or soaking silver flatware as the soap and hot water combination may remove the soldering off these items.
11. Do not use harsh abrasives like steel wool for cleaning silver. Use a sponge and a soft cloth.
12. Do not use sulfur-based cleaning agents for silver.
13. Keep silver away from tarnish agents like moisture, wool, felt, rubber and latex.
Now that you have learned how to clean silver quickly and easily at home, start off right way to shine your silver. Good luck!