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The Dos and Don'ts of Caring For Your Silver: Part I

The Dos and Don'ts of Caring For Your Silver: Part I

The holidays may be one of the few times of year when you pull out your fancy silverware and serving platters. So I thought it's about time I give you the lowdown on how to care for your silver. I consulted the experts, the Society of American Silversmiths, for their tips and precautions on silver care. From how to clean your silver to how to remove tarnish, I've got it all. I'll start with the dos — stay tuned for the don'ts!


  • Do use polishes created specifically for silver if your silver is very tarnished.
  • Do hand-wash with warm water.
  • Do use a phosphate-free detergent that's not lemon-scented.
  • Do dry immediately using a soft cotton towel.
  • Do empty silver salt shakers immediately; salt is very corrosive.
  • Do ask questions. If you have someone else clean your silver for you, make sure you know their methods and solutions.

See a few more "dos" for silver care.

  • Do support the arms of your candlesticks and candelabras when placing candles in them.
  • Do wash your silver frequently.
  • Do line your sink with a towel when washing.
  • Do apply an unscented, aloe-free, liquid hand-sanitizer (like Purell) at first sign of tarnish with a cotton ball; this is the least abrasive.
  • Do consult a silversmith (before cleaning or polishing!) if you see a purplish stain on your silver.
  • Do use Weiman Silver Polish or Goddard’s Long Shine Silver Polish for items with non-porous attachments, like wooden handles.
  • Do remove wax from silver candleholders by placing them in the freezer, and gently chipping the wax off with your fingers once frozen.
  • Do remove sticky labels by loosening the adhesive with a hairdryer.

Check back soon for the don'ts of silver care!

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Join The Conversation
dootsie dootsie 6 years
If your pieces are silver PLATED stainless steel, you should definitely consult someone before cleaning. Many compounds made for cleaning silver should not be used on stainless steel, and vice versa.
kscincotta kscincotta 6 years
You can remove tarnish from silver using Purell?? Who knew?
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