Tips for Cleaning Silver
This section of the Silver Bullion website contains tips that silver investors and other interested parties may want to take to heart when it comes to cleaning and storing silver, safely and correctly, especially silver jewelry and silverware (tableware). Please note that silver coins must never be cleaned, especially silver coins with collector’s value (numismatic value). In the rare event that a silver coin needs to be cleaned, it is always best to make use of an expert in the field to cause as less damage to the silver coin in question as possible.
Ok, so you have decided to clean your silver jewelry and silverware (tableware) today…
Now the first thing you want to take to heart is to take extreme care that you don’t use any substances or methods that can cause irreversibly damage to your silver. Thus, it is important to understand exactly how silver will react when brought into contact with a certain substance or method. To stress the tips or points, to perhaps make it visually better on the eye, we have decided to share the various tips when it comes to cleaning silver in the following format (in no specific order):
Tip 1 – Avoid rubber gloves when cleaning silver: It is important not to wear rubber gloves when cleaning silver. Believe it or not, but rubber corrodes silver. It is best to wear alternative gloves such as cotton gloves.
Tip 2 – Always ask if you are not sure: If you are not sure how to clean a specific form or type of silver, or not sure which type or form of silver you’re dealing with, then it will surely not hurt to seek expert advice.
Tip 3 – Avoid abrasive materials: It is best to avoid using abrasive materials when cleaning silver, because abrasive materials can easily scratch the silver, especially when scrubbing too hard.
Tip 4 – Use very little polish at a time: It is always best to use only a little bit of polish at a time when polishing silver. The reason being is because excessive polish can be hard to remove.
Tip 5 – Avoid salt and sulfur: Salt and sulfur are no friends of silver since it can cause silver to tarnish and corrode. This is why it is best to always wash or clean silverware (tableware), used to serve foods or liquids containing high levels of salt or sulfur (eggs, mustard, mayonnaise, salad dressings, etc.), as soon as possible afterwards.
Tip 6 – Use only silver safe cleaners or polishers: It is best to use cleaners or polishers that are specifically designed to clean or polish silver, and more specifically, that can be used to clean or polish specific forms or types of silver. E.g. silver jewelry cleaners or polishers are specifically formulated only to clean or polish silver jewelry and not other forms or types of silver (and vice versa!).
Tip 7 – Toothpaste can be used to clean or polish silver: If you run out of silver cleaners or polishers (or baking soda!), you might want to give toothpaste a try. This is how it works: Firstly, cover the silver in toothpaste. Secondly, use a soft-bristled (nonabrasive) brush and a little water to gently scrub until it forms foam (froth). Thirdly, rinse thoroughly.
Tip 8 – Avoid vinegar and other acidic juices: It is advocated elsewhere on the internet, but it is best not to use vinegar and other liquids containing acid (acidic liquids) when it comes to the cleaning of silver. In fact, if possible, avoid serving acidic liquids and foods in silverware (tableware) that contains silver. It is best to serve such liquids and foods in materials that are made of china, glass, steel or wood.
Tip 9 – Always use a good polish and a soft cloth: When you polish silver, it is always best to use a good polish and a soft cloth made of cotton or another soft material.
Tip 10 – Keep silver in an airtight environment: The best way to keep silver clean is to keep it in an airtight environment by storing it in a chest lined with fabric designed to withstand tarnish. Airtight plastic bags can also be used, but plastic cling wrap must be avoided, since it may permanently cling to the silver in question. In fact, there are various other aids (paper strips, treated gloves, etc.) available on the mark that can be used to help keep silver tarnish free as far as possible.
Tip 11 – Avoid using dishwashers: It is best to avoid using dishwashers when cleaning silverware (tableware), especially rare or old pieces, since dishwashers can remove oxidation from patterns, turn silver into an odd color and the heat can even loosen knife blades!
Tip 12 – Baking soda can be used to clean or polish silver: If you run out of silver cleaners or polishers (or toothpaste!), you might want to give baking soda a try. This is how it works: Firstly, use baking soda-blend water and baking soda to create a paste. Secondly, apply the paste to the silver. Thirdly, rub carefully and rinse.