Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Polishing Silver

Gentle Friends I had a few questions about how I polish my silver and keep it shiny...  Let me say up front that if you use your silver pieces, that the tarnish will not build up (tarnish is the sulfur dioxide in the air reacting with the metal) - not only will it stay cleaner and be easier to polish, but you are building up that lovely warm patina that will make it move valuable.  The difference between "tarnish:" and "Patina" is that tarnish is over all discolored silver and "Patina" can only occur on a piece of silver after lots of use and handling.  Some silver pieces even come from the factory with an applied oxidation which is a darkening of the decoration or design, so be careful when you polish to not remove that which makes your silver lovely and valuable.

In the mail yesterday I received a small Sterling bowl (Towle "Normandy" pattern) that I had won on the Bay of evil, and it arrived, as most silver does, tarnished and filthy, notice the really black oxidized spots.....

Here's some of my silver with the "new" piece in front

So I pulled out a few smaller pieces to show the difference in "clean" and not so clean silver.  For the most part there is only one way to get silver beautifully clean, good old fashioned "elbow grease."  In addition to "EG" I like to use a nice paste cleaner...

I grew up using Wrights and have cleaned tons of silver, my Granny's, my mom's and mine over the years, there are other pastes out there but I always seem to come back to Wrights.  There are also some very abrasive "dips" that instantly "clean silver", and although they do get the tarnish off, they also strip a piece of all its warmth, turning silver into something that looks like chrome.  Yes, I do keep a bottle of Tarnex, but use it infrequently and when I do I use it, I use it sparingly to dab out black spots that I can not rub out.

I start off by getting my silver towels out, old bath towels I use for silver.  I clean my silver in the kitchen sink with running clean water...


...put a little of the paste on the sponge then rub any tarnish off, next rinse off and repeat as necessary until clean..... move on the next piece.  I do a few piece at a time...

... and let the clean pieces sit under running water until I am ready to switch to drying mode.  You have to either dry as you go or let a few pieces build up, if you sit a piece of silver to the side without drying it off you run the risk of water marks and that defeats your cleaning the silver to a lustrous shine.

When all the silver is clean and dried off you will have some lovely things to use and look at.......


... you can see that all the tarnish came off the bowl, even the black spots inside came off with a little extra rubbing and attention.  I love to clean my silver and usually haul out some of it weekly in rotation, if I have not used it in a while... I find it very therapeutic.  Let me know if you have any questions.

That's about it for today sports fans.  Thanks for stopping by, do stop again!!

Take care,
edgar



PS I have not been compensated for this commercial by Wrights Silver Cream, I just love the Stuff!!

18 comments:

Parsley said...

I find it calming just to look at the silver. Something refined and peaceful about it.

Carmen Sutton said...

Beautiful! Thanks for the tips no longer worried about buying the preaty silver when I see it!

Margaret said...

Thanks for this how to. I will bookmark it for future reference.

Vera said...

Hi Edgar! We use the same silver polish!! I, too, find polishing silver somewhat therapeutic and you are right -- the more you use it the more beautiful it becomes and the less often you need to polish it. You have some gorgeous pieces.

Melody said...

Thanks for the tips. I have a couple of pieces languishing the cupboard that are in desperate need of polishing. I best get to it!

Kielrain said...

I have always loved polishing silver. Glad to know I am not the only one.

Great pieces you have too.

wranglerkate said...

edgar - You have some lovely pieces! So beautiful - thanks for sharing.

ginnyt said...

I also use Wright's cleaner and polish for my ceramic top stove; love it!!!

NanaPeggy said...

Thank you so very much Edgar. I have a coffee/tea set that belonged to my g-grandmother that I've been afraid to touch. Still not sure if what I'm seeing is patina or tarnish. Could be it's silverplate which may be different. Will test on the bottom first. I love your blog!!

Lizzy said...

I like Wright's too! Everything looks very elegant and lovely.

Barb said...

We have a silver souvenir spoon collection. You are right , it takes elbow grease to keep them clean.

Janet said...

I could earn spending money as a child by "polishing the silver". Now that I own some silver of my own I am a terrible polisher. It usually only happens when I want to use a piece. Yours looks so lovely though, I might have to do some polishing tomorrow.

Julie said...

Some very pretty pieces there Edgar and all sparkling beautifully

Synthia said...

Very helpful 'tutorial' on silver polishing!! I never thought about cleaning under running water. My mother always used Wrights silver polish so I always have as well. We're talking at least 75 years of using Wrights. You have inspired me to do some polishing real soon because my silver doesn't look as good as yours!!! (smile)

Ralee said...

I agree. There is something relaxing about polishing silver. I feel the same about ironing fine linens. Must be the "southern" in me.

Karen S. said...

Thank you so much for the tips on how to clean silver. I inherited a tea service and cutlery set from an aunt and when her sister, my other aunt, learned I really wanted it I received all of her silver. Kind of in silver overload here and had no idea how to care for it. I will be making a trip to the store for some of that polish. All of my relatives are laughing that I wanted it, guess I will be the one laughing at them when it is all shiny and pretty :) Thanks again ! Karen

Sherri said...

So glad you posted about cleaning silver. Nice info read this morning. Beautiful pieces BTW.

Gabriele said...

Thanks Edgar, this cleaning paste is the best I ever had. I found it years ago in an antique shop, now its going out. Only a little piece is there.
Greetings from Germany