Regular cleaning is the only way to prevent antique silver from taking on an unflattering tarnished effect, but lots of people don’t like the idea of cleaning their own silver. Maintaining silver seems like a difficult task from the outset, and many people are so concerned that they may ruin a treasured valuable by cleaning it incorrectly that they don’t dare take on the task at all. If this sounds familiar to you – don’t worry - this guide will demonstrate the best way to clean your silver, leaving it glistening and gorgeous.
Some guides recommend using a wide – and surprising – variety of ingredients to clean silverware. Everything from baking soda, to lemon juice, to smothering your silver with ketchup has been suggested in the past. Today’s method is more traditional and much less taxing on the pantry, thankfully.
Firstly, you need to lay out some newspaper or old cloth; you’ll want to have a layer between the surface you use to clean on and the silver itself to avoid making mess and damaging anything. Something you need to be cautious of are the hallmarks on your silverware. Cleaning can have an effect on the hallmarks, making them less distinguished and legible, so it’s best to cover them with some sticky tape while you’re cleaning to prevent any wearing – just don’t forget to take it off when you’re finished. Products specifically designed for cleaning silver – like Silvo – are recommended when you’re looking to add luster and shine to your valuables. That way you can ensure that you’re giving your silver the best treatment, and you can rest easy, knowing that you won’t damage it by using products that are not designed for bringing a gleam to your goods. Being sparing with your cleaning product is a sensible idea; however, as too much can leave your silver looking streaky. Start with a small amount, and build up to the glisten you desire to avoid overusing the product.
An essential stage in the silver-cleaning process is gloves. You need to make sure your hands are covered with soft cotton gloves. This is less important with smaller silver items, but when you’re cleaning something larger like a serving tray or a tea set, cotton gloves are the only way you can make sure you don’t leave fingerprints on your silver goods when cleaning. Be careful, though, the gloves will reduce your grip, so make sure you don’t drop your silverware whilst cleaning – no amount of Silvo will fix what might happen if you do drop it. As well as cotton gloves, you’ll need a cotton cloth or feather duster [something nice and soft] to clean the silverware with. Soft cleaning cloths are ideal because they will prevent your silverware from getting scratched while you clean. The best method for cleaning your silverware is to be gentle but thorough. Something close to a firm dusting is a great way to ensure your silver is shiny and clean without it suffering the effects of harsh scrubbing or streaking. Glasses-wearers have a distinct advantage, as they can use the method usually reserved for their lenses when they tackle their silver, as the firm buffing needed to clean a pair of glasses is about right for polishing silver.
If your Silvo did the bulk of the work, but you find that there are still flaws in your silver, the solution is right under your nose. Your breath is the next best thing for cleaning silverware, as the condensation makes it easy to lift the effects of tarnishing from your items. This is another method where glasses-wearers are ahead of the game. Simply exhale on the silver until it clouds on the surface – a technique sometimes referred to as ‘harring’ because of the sound one makes whilst forcefully exhaling – and then use a cotton cloth to wipe away the remaining marks and discolorations.
Now that you’re clued up on how best to clean and maintain the beauty of your silver goods, it’s time to bear one last thing in mind: there is such a thing as over-cleaning when it comes to silver. If you clean your silver too frequently, your efforts can actually promote tarnishing and wearing, the perfect excuse when you’re looking for reasons to put off cleaning for another day. Cleaning your silver once or twice a month is probably the best way to keep it maintained and shining, so don’t be overzealous with your Silvo and cotton cloths. With this guide at your disposal, and Silvo at your fingertips, may your valuables glisten and sparkle with pristine splendor.
This Blog has been Provided by AC Silver for LoveAntiques.com