How to Clean Silver Cutlery

Product shot of silver cutlery set on marble benchtop

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Cleaning and Maintaining That Silvery Shine

No matter how well you care for your silverware, it will naturally tarnish over time.  In fact, the better quality your silverware, the more likely it is to tarnish because real silver reacts with air and light exposure (that’s how you know you’re getting the real deal!)

Cleaning and maintaining your silver cutlery is a fairly simple process, once you know what to do.  All that’s required are a few pantry items and a little bit of time side aside for the job.   

For me, cleaning silver cutlery can be a wonderfully mindful experience to engage in.  

It may sound a little contrived, but there’s something extremely rewarding about seeing blackened and tarnished cutlery restore with shine.  There’s beauty and magic in maintaining and looking after our everyday things, and what better way to enjoy “new” silver cutlery without the price tag?  

Here is the process I use to clean and maintain my silver cutlery. 

I like this approach because it’s a gentle process which will remove the unwanted tarnish, but maintain some of the patina which gives it character.  If you’re someone who prefers extra shiny silverware, use a store-bought silver polish and give it an extra buff at the end of the process.  

  1. Choose a well ventilated area to work in (this method relies on a chemical reaction, which may produce an unpleasant smell).
  2. Place your silver cutlery in a single layer in a disposable aluminum tray.  
  3. Sprinkle a layer of baking soda over your silver cutlery (a thick dusting will work best).  
  4. Pour boiling water into the tray until the silver pieces are completely submerged.
  5. Leave to soak for 5 minutes (or longer if your pieces are heavily tarnished).
  6. Using tongs, gently remove the silver to a soft cotton dishcloth to drain.  
  7. Put on gloves (use plastic or cotton gloves, but not rubber which can corrode silver). 
  8. Use an additional dishcloth to dry each piece. 
  9. As you dry, use the cotton dishcloth to buff it by vigorously rubbing all over with a light pressure.  With cutlery, up and down the handle will work best.  
  10. Assess your silverware, if it is underdone, repeat the process.
  11. To maintain your silverware, wash it with a non-abrasive dish soap (which does not contain lemon) and dry it as soon as possible.  
  12. Wrap your silver cutlery in a silver cloth wrap or storage bag and keep it away from moisture.

As the saying goes, don’t save things for a special occasion, instead use them every day. This is especially true for using your silver cutlery because silver that’s used often is less likely to tarnish.  So, lay out your favourite tablecloth, set out your cherished silver cutlery, and create the perfect table setting to enjoy a meal with your family and friends. 

With Happy Food Vibes,

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