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5 Tips on Cleaning and Caring for Silverplate Flatware or Silverware

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I like maintaining my silverware and enjoy giving tips on how to keep their shine.

Pistol in silverplate by Alain Saint-Joanis

Pistol in silverplate by Alain Saint-Joanis

Tips for Caring for Silverplate Flatware

Silverware is tough to care for and keep clean—here are five tips that will help you maintain your silver-plated flatware or silverware.

1. Hand Wash

Silverware is expensive and tricky to care for. It is important that you follow the manufacturer's washing instructions for silverplate flatware. The normal advice is to avoid washing silverware in the dishwasher, but recently, some high-end manufacturers of silverplate are offering items that are dishwasher-friendly.

2. Don't Overpolish

Surprisingly, silver flatware does not need regular polishing and should not be cleaned more than absolutely necessary. Regularly clean your silverware in warm soapy water with a soft cloth (or a brush with very soft bristles for crevices), then rinse and dry with a dry, clean towel to further reduce the need to polish.

3. Rinse Quickly

Wash silver plated flatware as soon as possible, and at the very least remove food from the items after use and don't let them sit. Acidic foods (egg yolks, brussels sprouts, table salt, olives, salad dressing, vinegar, fruit juices, etc.) can be corrosive to silver if left in contact with it for too long.

4. Wash and Polish Carefully

On the occasions when you do need to polish your silverplate flatware, only use a good quality silver polish or cream, not a standard metal polish. Rinse afterward in clean water and dry with a clean tea towel. A soft brush can be used to remove polish from crevices on patterned silverware or within the bolster.

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Do not, under any circumstance, use wire wool or abrasive cloth to remove stains; they will scratch the surface of the silver. As mentioned above, use polish as seldom as possible since a small amount of metal will be removed over time. If you wear gloves, make sure that they are cotton or plastic because rubber gloves are corrosive.

Remember that your flatware knife blades will most likely be stainless steel, and they should be cleaned with that in mind.

5. Store Properly

It is important to store your silver flatware effectively to prevent scratching and corrosion. Wrap your flatware in acid-free tissue paper or undyed cotton or linen and keep it in airtight conditions in specialist airtight boxes or chests. Do not use storage boxes or chests with rubber seals.

Use and enjoy your silverplate flatware; the more it is used, the better. Buy well, treat it well, and it will last a lifetime.


BeckonsAttore on August 29, 2013:

My dad is nuts when it comes to handling of kitchenware. I swear. He'll get the strongest brush he can find to clean dishes with, buy very nice silverware, pots, and pans and he will just scratch everything like no tomorrow and complain about the product. Especially with flatware. That's why I just wash his flatware for him whenever I get the chance. Ha ha! My favorite is the Couzon flatware. URL:

Nick on February 10, 2012:

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