Silver used in home decorations and dining ware, whether sterling or plated silver, must be given special care to keep it in good condition. Some silver pieces, such as decorative antique silver, are considered more attractive if they have a certain amount of discoloration or tarnish. Tarnish develops on silver when it is exposed to air. Certain environments, such as areas with high humidity, will cause silver pieces to tarnish more quickly than those pieces stored in a dry environment. Some foods and chemicals, particularly salty or acidic foods, can rapidly pit and corrode silver. Extremely salty foods should never be served in silver.
Things You'll Need
- Ammonia Silver wash or baking soda Soft polishing cloth Silver polish Nitrile gloves
Soak any silver that has been damaged by salt or salt water in ammonia for 10 minutes. Wear nitrile protective gloves while cleaning the silver. Perform the cleaning in a well-ventilated area.
Remove the silver piece from the ammonia bath and examine it. If the piece still has signs of corrosion, repeat the soaking process for another 10 minutes. Soak the piece no more than 30 minutes overall.
Rinse the silver piece being cleaned in cool water.
Clean the silver with a mild cleanser, such as a baking soda/water paste or a commercially available silver wash, to remove any gray discoloration from the ammonia cleaning.
Use silver polish and a soft cloth to restore the silver pieces' luster and prevent future tarnish.
Tips & Warnings
- If the above process is not effective in cleaning the silver satins, take the piece to a professional silversmith for repair and cleaning. Wear nitrile gloves when handling cleaning products used on silver or cotton gloves when polishing silver. Never wear rubber gloves as rubber will seriously damage silver.
- Never wash silver in the dishwasher or allow silver pieces to come in contact with stainless steel. Both of these actions could badly damage or ruin a silver piece. Do not use harsh abrasives or scouring pads to clean silver as they will scratch and damage silver. Never use ammonia in a closed room. Concentrated ammonia frames are dangerous and could cause illness.
- Photo Credit stock_xchng - Silver Tea Pot (stock photo by crisderaud) [id 733539]
Jewelry & Skin Discoloration
Just because your finger turns green after wearing a certain ring, it doesn't mean that it comes from cheap material. Several reasons...
Why Does Sterling Silver Tarnish?
Sterling silver is a silver alloy containing 92.5 percent silver and 7.5 percent copper. Pure silver is too soft for functional objects,...
How to Clean Silver With Water Softener & Salt
Silver sulfide develops on silver through oxidation and discolors the metal over time. Silver cleaners are available to polish silver items, but...
How to Clean Silver That Has Been in a Fire
Cleaning the blackened surface of silver that has been in a fire requires patience, persistence, and a gentle touch. Tempting though it...
How to Clean and Polish Silver
Extended exposure to air can tarnish your precious silver. Luckily there are ways to get rid of the stains and it's not...