Acids from your hands, sulfur from foods such as eggs and Brussels sprouts, sunlight, smoke from fireplace, and even compounds released by cupboards and drawer liners all conspire to dull silver’s glow. But keeping tarnish at bay i sn’t really so difficult. Regular use is one of the best solutions. When a good polishing is called for, just follow these simple steps. Keep in mind, however, that silver should be polished only occasionally – before a holiday gathering, for example. Although silver is sturdy, it scratches easily and is worn away a bit with every polishing.
1. Work in a well-lighted area on a nonporous surface, To prevent dents and scratches, pad your work area with an old towel.
2. Protect your hands( and the silver you’re polishing from the oils and acids on your skin) by wearing white cotton gloves.
3. Before applying polish, inspect the piece for a previous polishing pattern. This is wise on flatware. Polish in that pattern ish’s label instructions and avoiding areas where different materials meet.
4. Start with a polish – imbued cloth or liquid polish designed specifically for silver. If this proves inadequate, move on to a paste flannel cloth or a cellulose sponge. Use a soft toothbrush or wooden cuticle stick wrapped in cotton on monograms and ornate designs. Don’t worry about removing every bit of tarnish in the crevices of an intricate or ornate pattern – the darkness is what allows the pattern to really stand out.
Don’t be tempted to use acid baths, called silver dips, which are far too harsh.
5. Rinse the piece when you’re finished, being sure to remove all the polishing compound, then dry with a soft cotton cloth.