With the recent passing of what is known as "engagement season" – the time around Christmas and Valentine's Day when people tend to propose to their significant others – many of you have probably gotten started on a gift registry or received some lovely anniversary gifts. If you received silver dinnerware, of course you want to keep it looking shiny and new.
Silver tarnishes because of oxidization. Due to the presence of hydrogen sulfide and chlorine in our air, it's essentially inevitable, no matter how expensive your silver may have been. While tarnishing is not only harmful to your silver, it's also an eyesore. This is why proper care and maintenance of your silver dinnerware is important and will help keep it looking like the day you got it.
First and foremost, when you're not using your silverware, you should be storing it properly. It's a good idea to put some anti-tarnish strips in the container which you store your silver in order to neutralize the gases that can cause tarnish. It's also important to keep the environment dry when dealing with extremely humid locations, so a stick of chalk or a silica gel packet will help absorb excessive moisture.
You can purchase pouches made of anti-tarnish material as well; they will also help keep your cutlery looking good for years. Avoid wrapping your silver in anything that contains rubber, latex, stainless steel, or aluminum as well.
There are a few different ways to clean your sliver. One way is to line a dish with aluminum foil, place your silverware on top, and then pour boiling water and a few tablespoons of baking soda into the dish. You'll see that the tarnish moves from the utensils to the foil. Then, all you have to do is buff them dry with a cloth. It's easy and inexpensive, but not a good solution for any materials that would be sensitive to boiling water.
Another method is to dip a sponge in hot water, sprinkle some baking soda on top, and then rub the tarnished pieces gently, adding more baking soda as necessary. However, with this method, it might be difficult to get out tough stains and some sponges may scratch your silver.
Any time you are done using your silver and get ready to store it in an anti-tarnish bag or container, you should wipe it with a silver polishing cloth. These cloths can be inexpensive, but be sure to use ones that are non-abrasive, and safe for all metals. Micro fiber cloths are a good choice since they are usually vey soft and non-abrasive. A quick wipe down with one of these cloths can leave your good silverware looking bright and shiny.
When someone gets you real silver as a gift, whether it's cutlery, jewelry, or décor, naturally, you want to make sure it stays eye-catching, shiny, and as beautiful as the day you got it. A bit of proper storage and cleaning will help you to remember that special day every time you look at your gift.