Caring for Silver
As I was going through some of my silverware this week, I noticed that a few of my cream soup spoons had a bit of tarnish on them. It's always a good idea to wash and buff the pieces in question just to make sure. After doing so, you may not even need to polish them at all. Realizing that these pieces weren't going to get any better, I decided to polish them gently and effectively. I didn't need to use a cream or compound agent for these spoons. Let me show you what I did.
The lip underneath this spoon shows some tarnish. Although this isn't harmful in the least, it is a bit unsightly and not suitable for the table.
These poor spoons were indeed ready to be taken care of. If your silverware is forged from a single piece, you can employ this method.
Place the silver in an aluminum pan (this is a square cake pan) and settle it at the bottom of your sink. Don't overcrowd your pieces and don't overlap them.
Note: the pan has to be aluminum for this to work.
Sprinkle between 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup of baking soda all over the silver. Bring a kettle of water to a boil.
Just to illustrate, this fork & knife have a shoulder that connects the mother-of-pearl handle to the silver tines & blade. If you have silver pieces with several components to them, it's best to use a cream polish such as Maas.
Using this method that I'm showing you will damage them.
Carefully pour the boiling water into the pan to completely cover the pieces. I strongly recommentd that you do this in the sink to minimize splashing. You may detect a bit of an odor.
Note: this may discolor the pan a bit.
In less than a minute or so, you will begin to see the tarnish completely disappear. Pour cold water into the pan. When they're cool enough to handle, remove the silverware and rinse off any remaining baking soda that didn't dissolve. Buff dry with a clean, white cotton towel.
This is what you'll end up with. Don't these look much nicer than what I started with? A very good thing indeed.
The next time you look at your silverware, determine whether or not it needs to be cleaned. As I've stated above, if your pieces require a cream polish, do it gently and follow the established pattern of your silverware. Make sure you remove all of the compound in soapy water before buffing dry. Do this ahead of time so that you're prepared and not rushed. One way I have found of keeping tarnish to a minimum, is by using my silver on a regular basis. There is no need to wait for the holidays to bring out those heirloom pieces. Start enjoying them now!