Whether it’s a special occasion or you’re setting a holiday table, few things make the meal as special as real silver. Sparkling silver is a joy to behold on the table and lets everyone know that the meal to come will be beyond the ordinary. One of the drawbacks to silver, though, is its care. Many people are becoming increasingly more informal in their dining because of the lack of time to devote to the care and cleaning of real silver. However, like special meals, taking the time to create an elegant table is more special – and more memorable and magical – when it’s set with silver.
Take the time this holiday season to dress up your table with silver. Having silver cleaned and ready in advance of your meal is the best way to make sure you don’t skip using it. Observe some care guidelines when getting silver ready to use for your special meal. Following these guidelines will keep your silver not only looking wonderful for the occasion, but will also preserve it as an heirloom for years and generations to come.
Silver care guidelines
Don’t wash silver in the dishwasher. This is rule No. 1. As tempting as it is to wash silver in a dishwasher, resist this. Dishwasher detergents are harmful to silver finishes, etch them, and can permanently damage your silver. Don’t risk it.
Use respected silver products. Some people do everything from cleaning silver in the dishwasher to dunking it in muriatic acid. It’s best to use products meant only for use on silver. Silver polish is meant for silver and uses special abrasives that are safe for silver.
Silver polishing cloths. Sometimes a quick buff is all your silver needs to come back to life. Specialized silver cleaning cloths won’t scratch and are specially designed to polish silver. Find them at your home, linen or department stores.
Wash your silver as soon as possible. Foods such as salt, eggs, and acids from vinegars are harsh to silver. To keep these from harming your silver, be sure to collect all the flatware after the meal and place it in a plastic tub or bowl of warm soapy (not hot) water. Hot water can loosen solders from old knives or other pieces. Empty out and rinse any silver containers or bowls, being sure to remove the salt from silver shakers immediately.
Let the food soften, but not for too long and then remove the silver and begin washing. Line the sink with a soft towel for washing. Afterwards, place the silver onto a soft dry towel and dry immediately to avoid spots. Avoid soaking any piece, such as candlesticks that aren’t solid or other pieces that are soldered or made up of more than one piece because water, as well as detergent or cleaners, can get into the silver and be difficult to get out and could cause damage.
Preserving your silver
One of the keys to preserving your silver and keeping it looking good for a long time is to store it properly. Storing silver in special silversmith’s cloth will keep the surface from being scratched or damaged. If you’re serious about preserving and protecting your silver, store it in the silversmith cloth bags and then place those into plastic zipper bags, removing the air before sealing. Silver’s biggest enemy is air. Removing the air around your silver will keep it shiny and clean and ready to use for your next occasion.
Make your table gleam this Thanksgiving and for many meals and holidays to come by adding that special sparkle that can only come from silver.