How to polish silverware

Now that you know the name of your cutlery pattern it is time to make it look shiny and beautiful again. If your silver is very black and heavily discolored start from step 1, otherwise skip ahead to step 3.

Step 1.

Grease residue left on the flatware will retard the tarnish removal process in the next step so be sure to complete these instructions. Degrease by wiping your silverware with methyl alcohol, rubbing alcohol (isopropyl), acetone or wash very well with hot soapy water. If you opt to use solvents do so in a well-ventilated area, away from open flames.

Step 2.

Remove the knives as well as any pieces where the silver plate is worn off. A mixture of different metals may produce undesired effects in the bath. Prepare a tarnish removal bath by filling a large plastic vessel with hot water and approximately 1/2 cup/gallon of washing soda. I use Calgon T brand available in my grocery store. Line the bottom of the bath with sheets of aluminum foil, and then put your silverware on top of the foil. I usually cover to retain the heat of the bath. Small bubbles will begin to effervesce off the cutlery. There may be a slight rotten egg odour as the bubbles formed are hydrogen sulfide gas.

This process is really cool because it reverses the tarnish reaction and silver is not lost as much as it would be with vigorous polishing. Silver tarnishes through the presence of hydrogen sulfide gas in the home. This reaction with your silver forms the black coating of silver sulfide which is very insoluble, thus difficult to remove.

Remove the silver when the tarnish disappears – this takes between 10 minutes to 1 hour.

Step 3.

In your laundry or utility sink, polish your silver with a foam polish – the type with a sponge applicator. Wet the sponge under warm water then dip it into the polishing paste and rub the silverware until all tarnish is gone. When finished place each piece in the bottom of the sink. Once all the silver is done, rinse well with very hot water and then hand dry with a clean terry-cotton cloth.

Step 4.

If there are any stubborn stains remaining on the cutlery, use a product called AutosolT or another automotive metal polish. This is an abrasive paste and when applied with a clean cotton cloth, it will remove most stains. Warning: Be very careful with silver plated flatware because too much rubbing can create a wear spot – although this is very hard to do, it is not impossible.

Your silver cutlery looks all shiny and beautiful now. Go ahead and set the table and make a roast for your family to enjoy tonight. If you’re missing any pieces visit and place an order today.

Spoons & Forks

The Silverware Guy

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