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Jul 18, 2010 05:45 PM

How to retard silver tarnish?

I have a number of silver items: trays, ice buckets, wine buckets and the like, that live on a display wall and frankly they have become a nuisance to polish with appropriate regularity. Anyone know of a lacquer / polymer / spray or anything that can be applied to abate silver tarnish after a good polishing? Not my sterling flatware and Revere bowls that do come in contact with food, just the items on display. Thanks.

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  1. Gold electroplate is nonreactive and quite stunning. Failing that, Renaissance Wax Polish is supposed to do a good job of isolating silver from the air.

    But since your stuff is in a display case, it may be easier just to retard polish by reducing humidity (they have that in Florida, right?) and oxidants. A 450g silica gel pack is overkill, but will certainly take care of the former; 3M anti-tarnish strips will help with the latter.

    2 Replies
    1. re: alanbarnes

      All of the items are of far less golf importance than winning the Claret Jug, so gilding, however stunning the result would be, is not an option. I have tried to seal off the exchange of air and oxidation within the display case, with some but not much effect. Other items are on open shelves. I'll be on alert for the Renaissance Wax Polish. In my perfect world I envision a clear microthin polymer spray, if it exists. Does Tiffany's have a magic compound I wonder?

      1. re: Veggo

        No, but Tiffany's employs ample staff. Given the recession, don't you think you owe it to your fellow Americans to do the same?

        Seriously, try the 3M strips.

    2. You don't want a micro-thin anti-tarnish film on your silver. Trust me. A small scratch that breaks through the film and voila! Tarnish lines every place there is a crack, and those buggers are a bitch to polish!

      There is nothing that works as well as old fashioned elbow grease. Sorry. Tarn-X works great on absolutely plain silver with no chasing. Or on the bowls of spoons, tines of forks, and the like. But NOT on the handles! The very BEST silver polish I've ever found is Twinkle. I used to be able to buy it in supermarkets, but for reasons unclear to me, I can only get it now by ordering off the net. So I order a bunch at a time. Least amount of elbow grease required of any sliver polish I've ever used or heard of. Comes with a sponge packed in the lid, and resist the temptation to wash out the sponge when it starts looking dark gray and ugly. The more tarnish in the sponge, the better it polishes is my experience.

      But if you don't want to use your silver any more but just want to look at it, then you might consider sealing the display cabinet so it is air tight, then pumping all of the oxygen out so the silver won't tarnish any more. I'm just not convinced I would find the same joy in gazing fondly at my silver while sipping tea from a paper cup. On the other hand, I've never tried it. '-)

      1. Bob has one silverplate golf trophy that sits open on a shelf and tarnishes really badly (and we have sometimes single digit humidity). I like Alan's idea of minions a lot. But what about checking with a trophy company and seeing if that have any recs. Keep that flatware polished to go with the Chinet when we visit.

        2 Replies
        1. re: c oliver

          I've been thinking about maybe pulverizing a bunch of red beans in a blender, then rubbing the silver with that. Red beans are supposed to be loaded with antioxidents. Whaddaya think? Worth a try? '-)

          1. re: Caroline1

            Porque no? Like the idea. Report back please :)

        2. Today I was advised to wipe polished silver with WD40 to stop oxidation. Does anyone have experience with this method?

          2 Replies
          1. re: Veggo

            Don't use WD40, Veggo... But do use the sterling often. That alone retards oxidation. Also, every now and then a wipe with Pacific cloth helps.

            1. re: Gio

              Thanks, Gio. Do you have any reference as to why WD40 is either bad chemistry, or simply doesn't work?
              The sterling flatware and Revere bowls I use and I have no problem with them. I'm looking for a more permanent way to minimize maintenance on (this is awkward for me to say) a lot of silver trophies. But they are gifts that deserve to be maintained respectfully, and I get lazy.

          2. Along with nice stuff goes the responsibility for its upkeep. I have my mom's silver punchbowl, tray, ladle, and 84 cups, as well as her two huge brass lamps. I set aside 2 days, twice a year to deal with it all, and spend the time thinking of her. There are no shortcuts on this one, my friend.

            2 Replies
            1. re: pikawicca

              My grandfather who was a far greater golfer than me, used to say that the shortcut is the long way home. I will count myself fortunate to have the task ,and I'll tend to it on the next rainy day. Thanks for the renewed perspective, pika.

              1. re: Veggo

                You're welcome, Veggo, and props to your grandfather, who sounds like he had his stuff together.