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Nov 10, 2013 08:58 AM

Flatware alternatives continued and other table top items. Holiday Tips.

This is more of a response to the "silver in the dishwasher" comments.

I have dealt with table top for about 40 years. I don't know what posters mean by "patina". With very old silver flatware a desired finish is Butler's Grey. This happens when silver is polished frequently (those who had butlers who polished daily). Anything is tarnish. I have some sterling pieces that are very old, George III that have that smooth buffed surface and not shiny bright.

Silver may be washed in the dishwasher with some caveats. No knives in the dishwasher. I am talking about knives that have silver handles and stainless blades, also to cut some costs many silver mfgs. are making some other serving pieces as 2 part. Flat handles spreaders are fine, they are solid one piece spreaders. The reason for this is that the parts are cemented together and knocking around in the dishwasher can loosen the handles. They can be repaired, but why risk it when it takes moments to wash knives by hand. Another reason not to put knives in the dishwasher ( and other 2 part items). The dishwasher detergent (not just citrus) is corrosive to the blades. You can get away with it a few times but it will happen.

Fine/Bone china in the dishwasher. Yes you can do it. Use warm water, not hot. Do not use heated dry and do not touch the china until it cools to room temp. The gold and platinum trim actually softens a bit in the dishwasher. China producers do recommend washing in the dishwasher with a mild detergent. Wet slippery hands can inflict a lot of damage.

Glassware. Plain glass, everyday stuff go ahead and wash in the DW. If you are using lead crystal, fine glassware, the lead softens the glass. Depending on where you live this can be very deleterious to your glass. The minerals in the water can etch the glass. Your first indicator is a rainbow like sheen to the surface. Following that the glassware will start to become cloudy. That is permanent. It cannot be buffed or polished out, the only thing you can do is buy new and keep the etched stuff for every day drinking.

More questions? Just post and I'll answer as best I can.

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  1. I'll just add one comment. I have Mother's gold rimmed water glasses that she got when they married in 1937. They've only been washed by hand and I've no doubt that's why the gold is still in place.

    I also use one of those silicone mats in my sink for ALL hand washing. Sometimes to protect what I'm washing and sometimes to protect the sink. A must-have in my kitchen.