Sterling Advice

It is a myth that silver is difficult to care for.  If you use your silver regularly, washing it after use with a phosphate-free detergent is usually enough to keep tarnish at bay.  You can enjoy living with silver with a minimum of maintenance. 


SILVER CLEANING  Rinse the piece (removes pollution and dirt – you do not want to rub this into the surface of your silver and scratch it). Apply silver polish with a moist sponge.  Polish silver in an up and down motion turning the piece regularly.  Do not rub the silver in a circular motion as the abrasive particles in your tarnish remover will leave a circular pattern.


Use only a little polish with each application.  When finished, rinse the piece in warm water.


Dry and gently buff the piece immediately with a soft, lint-free cloth.   If the surface is still dull, buff again with a cloth impregnated with rouge.  


To clean silver which includes a wood, bone or felt, use a cream polish on these pieces, then buff the cream off with a soft lint-free cloth.  Do not subject to water at any time in the cleaning process.  Goddard’s Long Shine Slver Polish is perfect for this as it is meant to be buffed.


O’MEARA STERLING’S ESSENTIAL TIPS  Do not use a polish that is very old or has dried up – the dry abrasives will damage your silver.  


It is not a good idea to put silver in the dishwasher.  Dishwashers are too hot, and dishwasher soap too abrasive.  Also, when silver touches stainless steel items in the dishwasher environment, black spots are produced which have to be professionally cleaned.  Use only a very mild silver polish on gold plated areas, as more abrasive cleaners can remove the plating over time.


Certain foods left on flatware and serving pieces after a meal can cause stains, tarnish and even corrosion.  Always wash your flatware and serving pieces as soon as you can after finishing the meal.  Put it in warm soapy water to soak until you can wash it properly. 


For very stubborn tea and coffee stains, you may need to try filling the interior with warm water and adding five-minute denture cleaning tablet.  Let this soak for ten minutes, then rinse.  You’ll need one tablet per two cups of water to do a proper job.  The stain will now be completely removed by finishing with a wet brush along the sides and bottom and giving it a final rinse.   


Salt is very corrosive to silver, which is why many pinch salts and shakers are either lined or gold-plated.  If your shaker has silver directly exposed to salt, it is best to empty and clean it after every use, and store empty, to avoid unsightly black corrosion spots which occur


Removing black corrosion spots can be done in three simple steps.  Fill a container with ammonia, and place your empty salt shaker in the ammonia.  Put a lid on and check the progress of the stain removal every ten minutes.  If the corrosion still remains after thirty minutes, your shaker will have to be professionally cleaned.



Purchase of the following items will keep you stocked for any silver care eventuality for the next few years.

For Cleaning

Wrights Silver Cream 

A package of soft lint-free cloths (to buff silver and remove cream)

Toothbrush (used wet to remove dried cream in intricate areas)

Wooden spoon for tea and coffee pot interiors.  Tie sponge to wooden spoon with string.

Cotton swabs – short and long (for hard to reach areas and coffee spouts)

Silver polishing cloth impregnated with rouge (for buffing and great for miniatures)

Ammonia (for getting corrosion stains off salt cellars)

Rubber Gloves

For Storage:

Ziploc bags

Roll of anti-tarnish tissue paper

Individual anti-tarnish cloth bags in varying sizes (optional)


Following these simple steps will prolong the life and beauty of your wonderful silver pieces.


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