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cleaning Silver Plate

  • j

Another cleaning question, sorry all!

I have a collection of silverplate utensils I use for everyday eating (oneida community plate in case this makes a difference). I polished them about 2-3 months ago, but now the tarnish has come back!
I'm relatively new at the cleaning and care of silverplate, so I don't know how often this should be done or which polisher is the best.
I use a dishwasher to clean the pieces, but I have recently heard that putting silver plate in the dishwasher is a bad idea, could this really be causing tons of tarnish?

ideas/suggestions?
thanks!

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  1. You never put any type of silver in the dishwasher. It will dull and spot the silver. Use wrights silver polish. The tarnish will always come back. That is what silver does. The more you use it the less it will tarnish, and the silver gets a lovely sheen that is better than the "new" silver look. Silver plate wears off after time and will need to be re silvered. That will be years from now. But don't rub real hard when you clean it, clean when it starts to tarnish, or you will have hard work ahead. You can store it in silver cloth.

    1. You never put any type of silver in the dishwasher. It will dull and spot the silver. Use wrights silver polish. The tarnish will always come back. That is what silver does. The more you use it the less it will tarnish, and the silver gets a lovely sheen that is better than the "new" silver look. Silver plate wears off after time and will need to be re silvered. That will be years from now. But don't rub real hard when you clean it, clean when it starts to tarnish, or you will have hard work ahead. You can store it in silver cloth.

      1. I polish my silverplate and silver flatware and serving pieces with Wright's Silver Creme, readily available in major grocery store chains in the cleaning product aisle. Don't buy the product where you dip your flatware. It will remove silver every time you use it. I just ordered a new product called *MAAS*, which I have seen featured in several cooking and women's magazines (i.e. Martha Steward Living, Cook's Illustrated, etc.) It claims to clean silver and leave a film to prevent future tarnishing. That would be wonderful! I have two large, heated, silver chaffing dishes from the old s.s. Montery, which sailed for many years from Oakland to the Hawaiian Islands, and they are nasty to clean. Hopefully this product will reduce my cleaning task to a once-a-year event.

        1. Dishwashers are hard on silver because the process and detergents are harsh. In essence-- they clean too much. They cause pieces to tarnish faster and can spot. If you combine silver with stainless in your washer basket the silver can spot permanently.

          The best way to clean silver to wash it quickly after a meal. The more frequently you use and hand wash silver the less tarnish will develop.

          We use our silver at least once a week and only polish it um er well I need to polish it and I am pretty sure it has been almost two years since I have done so.

          1 Reply
          1. re: JudiAU

            BTW- I use Wrights on my silver as well.

            Silverplate or large or cheap items get the tin foil quick soak but I would never do that to sterling or anything I really cared about.

            We have one huge heirloom sterling piece that my MIL cleans at Christmas. =)

          2. Don't use the dishwasher on plate, sterling, vermeil (gilt sterling), gold, hollow-handled knives and serving pieces (typical for precious metal flatware), nor for crystal or gold- or silver-rimmed china, porcelain, et cet. The risks of damage and excessive wear are too great.

            While plate flatware can wear out over decades, depending on its plating thickness, sterling flatware is enhanced by regular, normal use instead of being reserved for a handful of occasions a year: it is more easily and better maintained and patinized when used regularly.

            Also, for precious metal flatware that has dark antiqueing, you don't want to clean that out of it. Another reason never to use the dishwasher for it.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Karl S

              Of course, now that you know this, you can simply inform your housekeeper to make sure your staff follows suit ;<)

            2. I prefer Haggerty's Silver Foam for my once a year polish. And yes, shudder, I do put sterling in the dishwasher and bone china and crystal. It is not like it is an everyday event, more like once every few months and I use that newer Cascade that has softeners in it. Though, I will not put my sterling knives in the dishwasher and never put sterling in with stainless. I remove it immediately when the dishwasher is done and buff it dry, not using the heated drying cycle. If I see a piece needs a little attention I take care of it then. Some foods react with silver, sterling or plate, like eggs and mayo. I keep a bottle of Haggerty's Fork Dip for that because it is so hard to clean tarnish from between the tines of a fork. I am a silver junkie and have been for years and own a lot of it from a pure .999 fine coffee and tea service down to some plate holloware and some of everything in between.

              When I was a sales person and later a buyer in table top a lot of the better china companies actually suggested washing your china in the dishwasher again not using the heated dry cycle and not touching metalic bands until the china has come to room temperature. They said you had less chance of chiping or breaking it than washing by hand. My platnum banded Royal Doulton has been through the dishwasher countless times in over 30 years and the platinum is just fine.

              1. Please excuse my total ignorance on this subject.

                So I'm confused. Do you wash the silver regularly first (with Dawn or Palmolive or whatnot) and then polish it? Do you wash it again afterwards? If not, is it safe to eat directly from silver that has been polished? How often do you polish? Every time you use it? Only when it starts looking like it needs it? (And what does looking like it needs it mean, anyway?) What if you use your silver everyday? Is it bad to come in contact with silver polish on a daily basis? For this reason, should you only use silver occasionally?

                I don't own silver. But I have my eye on a gorgeous pattern. All this talk about polishing and such though; I don't mind the work, but I don't want to buy it if the chemicals might harm my family.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Jujubee

                  NEVER eat from silver that has been polished without washing it first. polishing it alone gives me a headache sometimes, I can't imagine ingesting it!
                  the look of tarnished silver is basically dingy, blackish looking. Silver should be, well, silver!
                  good luck with your purchase!

                  1. re: Jujubee

                    Yes you want to wash off the polish. There is some polish that is made to be buffed off and the residue adds some protection but it is made for holloware pieces that will not come intact with food. Using and washing your flat ware on a regular basis should keep it pretty tarnish free. If you see some tarnish then polish that piece then and there. You really won't have to polish very often