Housekeeping
Oct 31, 2014

How to: Clean tarnished silverware

By: Mary Levitski
How to: Clean tarnished silverware

Learn how to properly clean your tarnished silverware. Author: iStockphoto

Housekeeping
Oct 31, 2014

How to: Clean tarnished silverware

By: Mary Levitski

Shabby isn't always chic. Our resourceful research editor, Mary Levitski, explains how to polish worn silver to a mirror-like sheen.

 

Whether it be a family heirloom, or a purchase for a new home, we love our silverware set, but over time food, sunlight, smoke and bands can tarnish even the best. Follow these three simple steps to keep any set beautiful and last longer.

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Photography courtesy of iStockphoto.com


Cleaning tarnished silverware
1 Wash the silverware with warm water and mild dish soap to rid it of any dirt or dust, which can scuff the surface as you polish.

2 Wear white cloth gloves to protect both your hands and the pieces you’re polishing. Using a soft cloth, apply a small amount of silver polish following the shape of the piece (use a vertical motion for flatware, for example). Continuously rotate the cloth so that no tarnish is redeposited on the surface. Rinse the polished pieces in warm water. Using another soft dry cloth, buff them to a shine.

3 To prevent future tarnishing, always wash silverware right after using it. Acidic foods will significantly stain it if left overnight. Rarely used silverware is more prone to tarnishing, so proper storage is key. The best option is flannel pre-treated with a tarnish inhibitor; sulfur-containing rubber bands and moisture-trapping plastic bags should be avoided.

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Stylish storage solution
Stop silver flatware from getting scratched in a drawer by using a specialty storage tray that keeps each piece firmly in place, like this one from Knork. Bed Bath & Beyond, $70.

Silver savers
Here are some polishing products we’ve taken a shine to, and we promise your silverware will, too!

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Wipes: preloaded cloths make it easy to apply polish to silverware of any shape or size. Weimen Silver Wipes polish, $5.

 

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Liquid: a go-to for many, Silvo is known for its effectiveness in cleaning silver and other metals. Silvo Metal Liquid polish, $5.

 
 

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Dip: shaped to fit any piece of flatware, this cylindrical canister contains a quick polish solution. Dip, rinse, rub dry and voila – the tarnish is gone. Think of it as a magic wand. Hagerty Flatware Silver Dip polish, $19.

Tip: to ensure all pieces in a set maintain consistent appearance, rotate them so they all get the same amount of use.

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How to: Clean tarnished silverware