5 Tips on Cleaning and Caring for Silver Plate Flatware or Silverware
Hand Wash. Silverware is expensive and tricky to care for. It is important that you follow the manufacturer's washing instructions for silver plate flatware. The normal advice is to not wash silverware in the dishwasher, but recently some high-end manufacturers of silver plate are offering items that are dishwasher-friendly.
Don't Overpolish. Surprisingly, silver flatware does not need regular polishing and should not be cleaned more than absolutely necessary. Regular cleaning of your silverware with a soft cloth, using a brush with very soft bristles for crevices, and washing in warm soapy water, rinsing well, and drying with a dry clean towel will reduce the need to polish even more.
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 soak them for any length of time. 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.
Wash and Polish Carefully. On the occasions when you do need to polish your silver plate flatware, only use a good quality silver polish or cream, not a standard metal polish. Rinse afterwards 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. Do not, under any circumstance, use wire wool or an abrasive cloth to remove stains as they will scratch the surface of the silver and as mentioned above use polish as seldom as possible as a small amount of metal will be removed over time. If you wear gloves make sure that they are cotton or plastic as rubber gloves are corrosive.
Remember that your flatware knife blades will most likely by stainless steel and they should be cleaned with that in mind.
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 in airtight conditions in specialist airtight boxes or chests. Do not use storage boxes or chests with rubber seals.
Use and enjoy your silver plate flatware, the more it is used the better. Buy well, treat it well, and it will last a lifetime.