Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Season of Silver and Gold - Shining Silver

The Holiday Season is the time of year when your favorite silver pieces appear after a long year in storage.  You may have Sterling, or you may have silver plated.  Regardless, you are now faced with the task that so many have before them this time of year - shining the silver.  Of course, if you use the silver all the time, the shining is much easier.  Using silver frequently does not allow the tarnish to build up.  But, for the sake of today, let's assume you do not use your silver all the time and treasure it for once-a-year-use - like the Holidays!

The first and strongest tip is to keep rubber away from your silver.  ALL RUBBER.  Don't use rubber gloves, no rubber bands, and whatever you do, do NOT place the items on a rubber mat when drying.  Rubber causes tarnish that is almost impossible to get off. 

OK, that warning aside, let's move on.  You can buy expensive and caustic cleaners that shine well.  But why?  Just get a pair of plastic gloves, open your fridge and take out the baking soda.  Yes, baking soda.  You use baking soda for so many other things, is it any wonder that you can use it to shine silver as well?  Make a paste of the soda and water and work it gently into the silver.  You can use a soft toothbrush to get into the cracks if you wish to take away all of the patena.  Wash gently with soap and water, and allow to dry.  Buffing with a soft cotton cloth is all that is left to do!

Have you seen those electrolyte trays you can buy to clean silver?  If you have had  a sleepless night this time of year, you have seen those magic trays that take all tarnish off.  You can spend the money, or just go into your pantry and pull out the aluminum foil and, you regular table salt.  Lay a sheet of aluminum foil in a glass pan (shiny side up works best).  Place your silver items on the foil.  Add a quart of very hot to near boiling water and a 2 tablespoon of salt.  You will see the tarnish lifting off.  Note:  if you have raised items on your silver and you love the black lines highlighting the decoration, this method will remove all tarnish...ALL TARNISH. 

There you have it!  No chemicals and as the perfect host or hostess, your silver will be shined and beautiful to match your napery and table settings.  Now that you ahve saved all this extra time and don't have to spend hours and hours hand shining your silver, get out there and PARTY!   Happy Holidays Everyone!  :)