How To Make Your Silver Shine

Give those heirloom pieces the love they deserve, just in time for holiday entertaining.

Sterling Silver Flatware
Photo: Robbie Caponetto

1. Polish It
Remove tarnish from even the most intricate pieces: Place silver on aluminum foil in your sink, sprinkle with baking soda, and pour boiling water over it. The tarnish will literally fall off. Rinse and pat dry to avoid water spots. If you prefer store-bought polish, be sure to apply in a circular motion, wash, and dry.

2. Use It
Silver isn't just for special occasions. Frequent use brings out that rich patina. Rinse right after using to prevent tarnishing—sulfides from foods like eggs and mayonnaise can stain. Use a gentle dish detergent. (Avoid anything with citrus.) Silver made after 1939 is dishwasher-safe. Just remove before the drying cycle!

3. Store It
Properly storing silver reduces tarnish and upkeep. If displaying in a cabinet, place a piece of chalk nearby—it absorbs chemicals that cause discoloration. Or store in sealed plastic bags. If you have a silver drawer or chest, line it with Pacific Silvercloth, an acid- and sulfer-free material that keeps your treasures spotless.

TIP: Think twice about monogramming your silver pieces. You might enjoy them customized forever, but if you ever want to sell them, know that dealers won't pay full value.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles