Caring For Your Sterling Silver Flatware

Set your table with sterling flatware. Frequent use actually reduces tarnish and helps to develop a glow called patina, which enhances its beauty. Remember to rotate pieces so the patina develops evenly over your entire flatware collection.

Silverware should be rinsed immediately after use, especially after contact with any acidic or corrosive foods such as salt, mayonnaise or eggs.

Don’t soak silverware in water overnight. Extended immersion can damage the metal.

Always wash flatware pieces separately to avoid bumping and scratching. Wash silverware in hot, sudsy water, then rinse in clear, hot water. Clean crevices with a worn toothbrush or fine natural-bristle brush. To avoid spotting, immediately dry the pieces with a chamois or soft cloth.

Avoid lemon-scented detergents and those that contain chlorides. Both contain acids harmful to silver.

Always wash sterling silver separately from stainless steel.

Polish silverware with a soft, cotton or flannel cloth and a brand name liquid or paste silver polish to remove tarnish. Rub each piece lengthwise; never polish your silverware regularly, expect to polish it just once or twice a year. Dip polishes are not recommended for intricately detailed pieces. Dips can damage an oxidized pattern.

Avoid wrapping silverware away from dampness and direct sunlight. Even a light bulb that shines directly on silverware will accelerate tarnishing. Choose a dark, dry storage place for your flatware.

Exposure to air promotes tarnishing. Store silverware in an airtight silver chest or protective bags made of tarnish-proof cloth. To prevent scratching, do not store silverware in loose drawers. Do not use a drawer that is opened frequently. Avoid storing silverware directly on wood surfaces (especially oak), as wood often contains acids that car mar your flatware’s finish.

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