The best kept secret of people who deal in and care for silver is: that its really not hard to do. The natural color of silver is white. It”s the tarnish that, if highly polished, gives something that “silver shine” that we value. This is why products like TarnX and other chemical reactives do not work. They will never allow you to get the shine that we covet. But we don’t want too much tarnish either. So keeping silver clean is the first step to keeping it polished as well. Silver does not need to be polished every time. A warm water, soapy cleaning will usually last with a polish every year.
We recommend using Town Talk anti-tarnish silver polishing cloths or NeverDull, both available through www.goredean.com. Goddard’s makes a good silver polish available in most grocery and hardware stores, though the polishing part will be a bit harder to do. Always use a smooth cloth, not a terry towel.
NeverDull is used by the military for brass buttons and it really shines up well. It works on heavily tarnished silver as well.
Town Talk is the easiest to use for everyday maintenance. It is made of high quality cotton impregnated with a sliver cleaner and antitarnish agent. These cloths also work well on silver plate.
For very dirty silver, soak in warm soapy water. Then either apply NeverDull and let sit or use ultrafine OOOO steel wool. Please do not use any other steel wool or scrubber as it will destroy the silver. If streaks or scratches are a problem, a professional metal polisher will be able to buff them out.
Candlesticks and tazzas require extra care when polishing. Anything with a stem must be polished very carefully, especially if it has been weighted in the base. During polishing, many people twist the stem and it collapses or bends irretrievably. Always polish the stem up and down and not with a twisting motion. Delicate arms on candlesticks are the same.
If, like me, you have the occassional silver spoon in the dishwaher – take it to a professional metal art person who can usually restore it for you in short order.
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