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How to clean silver?

In this article, we will discuss the best way to clean silver. It is one of the most beautiful and versatile metals on the planet. It’s soft luster adds a touch of grace to flatware, dishes, and jewelry. Despite all major advantageous it is also pretty delicate compared to other metals and it also quickly develops tarnish, stains, and scratches. People usually afraid of cleaning silver items as they are often special to us and we don’t want to damage them. However, you do not need to be a silversmith to clean silver, just follow the instruction provided in this article.

How to clean silver

Best Ways to Clean Silver:

1.) Toothpaste to Clean Silver

Do not attempt to use any toothpaste to clean silver as some of them contain baking soda or other harmful abrasive chemicals that can cause serious damage to your silver piece. You need to the polishes that are specifically formulated to remove tarnish from the silver.

You need to select plain white toothpaste without any special whitening options. Then, take a soft, dampened clean cloth or a damp sponge, put some toothpaste on it. Now, gently rub the paste over the silver in back-and-forth motions. You can also wet the silver piece and gently apply the paste directly to the silver item surface, which you can easily wet again and proceed to polish.  Be careful while using toothpaste in case you notice any even minor scratching at any point, stop immediately and rinse the toothpaste off.

The cloth or sponge can become dark with the tarnish so you need to add more paste to a clean part of the dampened cloth/sponge and continue your gently polishing. Wash it thoroughly with warm water and dry with using a soft towel.

2.) Silver Dip to Clean Silver

The silver dip is used for heavily tarnished silver pieces. There are several commercial silver “dips” are available which can easily dissolve stains without rubbing and harming the silver. They work by dissolving the tarnish on the silver at an accelerated rate. Dips are basically used by silver restorers when they get heavy black tarnish that cannot be removed with paste polishes. They contain an ingredient called thiourea that is the active ingredient to remove the tarnishing.  You need to take proper precaution as this can be extremely damaging to your silver.

The process of using this method is quite easy, pour the liquid into a container and place the piece in the container and cover it with a lid. Now, allow it to soak for the time specified on the dip packaging. After that, rinse the piece well immediately as traces of dip can eat away the silver and can cause pitting.

Here dipping the silver items means that you just dip and remove the piece as submerging for longer periods will remove the factory-applied patinas and will cause pitting of the object’s surface. Later on, these surface defects will act like a sponge and absorb the tarnish-producing gasses and moisture. The piece then requires professional polishing to restore its original finish.

3.) Soap and Water to Clean Silver

Warm water and a mild dishwashing (free from ammonia and phosphate) soap can be really effective in removing tarnish from silver items and jewelry. This method should be your first preference if the polishing cloth fails to remove tarnish. This is a kind of preliminary method to remove tarnish and you should use this method followed by any other.

4.) Baking Soda and Water to Clean Silver

Baking soda is a brilliant cleaning agent nowadays due to unavailability of non-whitening, non-gel toothpaste which used as commercial silver cleaners. However, you can make a paste of baking soda and water that can work to the same extent like non-gel toothpaste. After making the paste you need to use a clean cloth to apply a pea-sized amount to the silver and then polish. Now, place the silver piece under running warm water, and dry with a clean cloth.

5.) Olive Oil and Lemon Juice to Clean Silver

The natural properties of olive oil and lemon juice can help you clean silver jewelry fast.  You need to mix half cup lemon juice with one tsp. olive oil in a bowl. The bowl should be large enough to hold the cleaning solution and a microfiber cloth. Now, dip the cloth in the solution and squeeze out so that it doesn’t drip. After that simply polish the silver, rinse, and dry.

Additional Tips to Clean Silver:

  • Tarnish can be easily removed if it is noticed earlier as it will become increasingly difficult to deal as it turns to light brown and eventually black. To observe very light tarnish you have to view the silver object against a piece of glossy white paper. If you see that silver has started to develop tarnish, use vinegar or Purell to remove the tarnish. Use a cotton ball or swab and rotate it regularly to expose the unused surfaces. Dry the object with a Selvyt cloth or any cotton dish towel. This is the method you should go for first as it is the least abrasive of all silver cleaning methods.
  • You can try a vacuum sealer to pack the pieces of cleaned silver. Food savers work really well.
  • Remove all the silver jewelry before going in the swimming pools. They contain a certain amount of chlorine that can damage the silver in a short time.
  • Always remove pepper and salt from shakers to avoid pitting and corrosion while in the storage.
  • Rinse the Silverware with a microfiber cloth to avoid scratching and to remove newly tarnished layers.
  • Use a wet horsehair or white natural boar bristle brush to polish silver with intricate etchings. You should not use a toothbrush as the plastic bristles can possibly scratch the silver.

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