How to Take Care of the Silver in Your Life
Jan 18, 2023
If you have silver jewelry, decorative sterling, and silver-plated wares, you want to ensure they look their best for entertaining and other occasions. Follow these tips from a writer from the essay writing service to keep your silver looking great.
When storing silver, the environment is as important as the piece itself. Metals can react with each other to cause tarnish, so it's best to separate them. Silver jewelry should never be stored in a container that contains other metals or other types of jewelry. Keeping your jewelry in an airtight container is also a good idea to prevent oxidation and corrosion.
Special jewelry boxes and containers designed specifically for silver storage help with this process. These are usually made of cloth or a plastic material that helps protect your investment. You can also purchase anti-tarnish bags that are a quick and easy solution. These bags also help to keep your silver pieces from clinking together, which could damage them. It's also a good idea for any collector or investor to diversify their storage locations to help ensure that a burglary or natural disaster doesn't wipe out all of their bullion at once.
There are a variety of silver cleaners on the market, ranging from liquid chemical silver dips to nonabrasive polishing cloths. But if you're in a pinch and you have nothing else, Herman suggests using items you may already have in your home:
First, put on some rubber gloves (nitrile) and wash the silver item with soap and water to remove dirt or grime. Next, line a pan or baking dish with aluminum foil and pour in hot water and baking soda. Add the silver and allow the piece to soak for a few minutes. This causes a chemical reaction that loosens the tarnish and releases sulfur gas.
The silver will then oxidize back into its original form. The baking soda can be wiped away with a damp cloth and polished dry. You can also use vinegar, ketchup, or lemon juice to eliminate light tarnish. Just rinse the silver well to avoid damaging it with acidic chemicals.
Depending on the way you store it and how much exposure to humidity it has, silver may need a deep cleaning only a few times a year. But if it's heavily tarnished, Herman suggests starting with an essential soap and water wash, followed by an at-home polishing agent and a lint-free cloth.
Start by putting on nitrile gloves to protect your hands from the harsh acids and sulfurs found in most household cleaners, including the foam sponges that come with some silver cleaners, which can scratch. Wet a cellulose sponge or a soft, natural brush (like a white horsehair or a toothbrush) with citrus-free and phosphate-free dish soap. Use the sponge or brush to scrub tarnished areas, turning it over as needed to prevent scratching. Rinse thoroughly and dry with a soft cloth.
If you have a lot of tarnish, Herman says you can also try ketchup, which has a good amount of alcohol and should dissolve it quickly. Or, try toothpaste—regular, non-whitening paste should work just fine. Squirt a small dab of toothpaste on a cloth or sponge and rub in straight, back-and-forth strokes.
Silver, like many precious metals, scratches and abrasions as it is used. While these nicks can be unattractive, they also add to the charm of vintage pieces. The best way to prevent further damage is to keep your silver clean.
For regular silver jewelry, cleaning is simple if done promptly after wearing. Herman suggests washing them daily in warm water with a cellulose sponge or hand sanitizer for flatware and other items. This helps remove tarnish before it becomes more severe.
Heavily tarnished silver, however, requires a bit more vigorous solution. A mixture of vinegar and baking soda should do the trick. A toothbrush may be helpful to get into any hard-to-reach spots.
Once cleaned, rinse and dry your silver well. You can also coat your silver with a clear protective wax to help prevent further tarnishing.