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Tips on Special Treatment of Silverware

Aug 17, 2007
Silverware also needs some special treatment. But what is the best way to use them and to clean them?

USE YOUR SILVERWARE. We have suggested that you cherish your finest china while your children are small and bungling, but the advice for your silver is to use it every day. Jewelers say that constant use keeps it in good condition and gives the finish the soft patina so admired in antique pieces. Regular washing in hot suds and a rub when you dry it keeps it in quite good condition. Occasionally it will need special polishing.

SILVER HAS ITS ECCENTRICITIES. If you value it and what woman does not there are a few facts you should know about it in order to avoid trouble. Acids, which brighten copper, brass, and aluminum, are very bad for silver. They not only turn it black but etch into the metal if they remain in contact very long. Ammonia, an alkali, brightens it. Household gas in the air, even in small amounts, causes silver to tarnish quickly. So does salt in the air, near the sea. Sulfur is inimical to silver and rubber a deadly enemy.

TO AVOID TROUBLE from sulfur, salts, and acids, never let foods containing them remain long in contact with your silver. Such foods include table salt, eggs, olives, salad dressings, vinegar, and fruit juices. Wash your silver promptly after use, in hot suds made with soap or a detergent. Rinse it in hot water and wipe it dry. Never let food stand in silver dishes. Watch your flower and fruit bowls, too. Decaying fruits, flowers, and leaves generate acids that make ugly little pit marks. If your silver seems to tarnish too quickly you might check your gas installations for leaks.

KEEP RUBBER AWAY FROM SILVER. A story will illustrate this point. Not long ago a young reserve officer, who had just been married, was called into service. Against better days he and his bride stored their wedding silver. They made sure that each piece was clean and shining, and wrapped it carefully in tissue paper. So far, so good. Clean silver wrapped in paper will stay bright for a long time because air is excluded. But to keep the tissue snug, they used rubber bands. Months passed and the officer completed his service and came home. When the silver was unpacked it was found to be marked with heavy black lines that would not be polished away. A jeweler was consulted but the damage was so severe that nothing could be done. The silver had been ruined because its owners, though careful, did not know that rubber corrodes silver in a matter of weeks.

CORROSION FROM RUBBER begins within a few days of contact and can occur even when the silver is well wrapped. The time required for the destructive action to take place depends upon the thickness of the paper or cloth and upon atmospheric conditions. Damp salt air accelerates the action and so does heat. Under normal conditions the silver will corrode within three or four weeks. By corrosion, to make matters perfectly clear, it is meant that the silver beneath the rubber is eaten away by microscopic particles emanating from the rubber and passing through the covering to the metal beneath. Once silver is corroded it is difficult or impossible to restore it, especially if the lines of corrosion have crossed an etched or stamped pattern.

If you have silverware, you can use your silverware everyday, as regular washing will put them in good condition. Avoid acids as it is very bad for silver. Wash your silver promptly after use to avoid trouble with sulfur, salts and acid from the food. Keep the silver away from the rubber, as it can corrode the silver.
About the Author
Mitch Johnson is a regular writer for http://www.kitchen-plans-n-designs.com/ , http://www.collectablesmadeez.info/ , http://www.mycollectablestips.info/
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