help with silver

okie_redhead

I know this is not a cooking question but since we use it to eat with I thought I could post it here. I inherited my grandmothers silver table set. It has not been used in seveal years. It is in a wood box and does not look to be very tarnished at all but I am wanting to use it for Thanksgiving and am not sure how to clean it. I looked at some silver cleaner but it seemed toxic. Can someone help me please. (I am hosting the inlaws for the 1st time and want it to be special)

Melissa

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caliloo

I hand wash all my silver with warm soapy (palmolive) water, rinse and dry to prevent any spots. If it is tarnished, then clean the tarnish before you wash as above.

Alexa

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Ideefixe

Wrights Silver Cream and a lot of elbow grease. Don;t use those dip formulas--they'll destroy the silver.

Here is a link that might be useful: Wrights

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pkramer60

Hagerty also make a very nice line of silver polishing products that you could use.

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chase_gw

Hopefully Lindac will chime in she is the silver queen....LOL

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Fori

I'd (hand) wash it before polishing and see if it really needs polishing. Those silver boxes can do a good job keeping the tarnish at bay.

I've used the baking soda/salt/aluminum foil/hot water method for polishing but don't recommend it if you have a pattern that needs tarnish in the grooves to look good.

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lindac

2 questions? Is it sterling or plate?
Are the knife blades silverplate or stainless?
My advise is like fori's...wash it before assessing the tarnish....then using a silver polish like Wrights, or International,wet a sponge (Wrights comes with one) put some silver polish on the sponge and simply wash the silver with that polish....no need to rub hard unless it's really badly tarnished.
Rinse in very hot water and dry.
I use my sterling every day....have for over 50 years. It sits in a drawer in my kitchen and some seldom used pieces ( like a cucumber server!!) get the icky yellows.
What I do is dump all that needs it into the sink. squirt in a little Palmolive, rub the silver with my fingers and drain the sink. Then I get out the Wrights and put some on a sponge and give a quick once over to each piece and put it back into the sink...
When all are done I run some very hot water over all....drain....take it all out and wrap in a towel and then dry the individual pieces with another towel.
I estimate I can do 40 pieces in easily half an hour.
And please please don't ever use that toxic nasty dip stuff....nor the salt and soda and foil method....especially if you have plated ware or plated knives. The chemicals are really corrosive to any base metal that may be showing.

Lucky LUCKY you to have your grandmother's silverware!! What's the pattern? Don't you love it!!
Linda C

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busylizzy

I agree with the Wrights Silver Cream, that' what I use.
You didn't say if it is plated or sterling, but I have seen the dips take off plating, down to the copper or other base material.
I always wrap my pieces in cloth or saran wrap when storing,cuts down on the tarnish.

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lindac

I have seen at auctions, silver that had saran pretty well stuck on....maybe they got hot? Don't know....but if I need to really keep tarnish free, I use a zip lock plastic bag.

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Fori

New, improved suggestion: hire Linda!

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teresa_nc7

Yep, we don't call her the silver queen for nothin'! What would we do without you, LindaC?

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mustangs81

I've been waiting for LindaC to chime in; she must have been busy this morning.

Thanks

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lindac

GEE whiz ! I don't know!! LOL!
Thinking I better do some polishing here before the holidays...
But I'm going to my son's who will be having a mob!!

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teresa_nc7

Be sure and take your wine glass charms with you -- AND we want PICTURES!!!

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okie_redhead

wow, I will have to go home and investigate to see if it is sterling or plate. My grandmother died pretty young so I am guessing the set is only about 50-55 years old. Thanks so much for all of your input. I am excited to use it, I remember polishing it when I was little but don't remember what she used on it.

Melissa

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lindac

Thinking.....
My grandmothers didn't have the proverbial pot to...well you know.
My mother left her silver to my daughter...because I had silver....and I have completed a set for my grand daughter, beginning with a few pieces that my MIL got as a wedding present....so my grand daughter will have a set that her grandmother finished out beginning with a set started for her GREAT grandmother.
I love it!

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Marigene

I use Wright's Silver Cream, works better than anything else I have tried. I was told by a jeweler to never put your sterling or silver plate directly into a plastic bag or wrap it in newspaper...both can cause a chemical reaction with silver and damage it. Wrap the silver in flannel or get anti-tarnish cloth (can buy it in most fabric stores) and then place it in a plastic storage box. Don't use a cardboard box, either.

Thrift store silverplate coffee pot sugar/creamer before Wright's

After Wright's

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lindac

Newspaper is bad....rubber bands are worse! But I really don't think there is any harm in putting silver in a food safe plastic bag.
I have a friend who was raised without some of the nicer things, but married someone who's family did have nice stuff. She got a service for 8 of sterling for a wedding gift....and when they moved she threw it in the trash....because it was all icky black...ruined...no good!
AARGH!
Good find Marigene.
Linda C

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annie1971

Use a paste made with a little water and cream of tartar. It's works wonders on silver and is non toxic. It's what the Victorians used when they had butlers and house cleaners and kitchen help. I use it today on my combination gold/silver jewelry because it works on both and adds a great patina. Make a paste with water and cream of tartar; rinse the piece in water; put a cloth into the solution; rub onto the piece until you're happy with the results; rinse and dry.
Annie1971

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mustangs81

Marigene, That is inspirational!

Years ago my mother and I took turns making monthly payments on a service for 8, Francis Ist sterling silver flatware thinking we would enjoy it then hand the set down to my daughter. Unfortunately, she couldn't care less about it. I guess I should let her know the current value so she doesn't trash it.

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laceyvail 6A, WV

I use Wrights, and I store the serving pieces in non tarnish cloth, which you can purchase from catalogs. It's not cheap, but it does prevent tarnishing.

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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

I wrap all my large pieces in old towels then store in plastic bags. I save and use the zippered bags that things like blankets come in. I have tons of those kind of bags.

I've been toying with the idea of lining my buffet shelves with Pacific Silvercloth, eventually will probably do it.
I only use Wrights too, but sometimes I dip using baking soda and foil. Never salt.

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cloudy_christine

Nice work, Marigene!

Does anyone have any advice about getting the tips of fork tines really polished? They often look a little tarnished even after I polish the silver. I don't want to use a dip.

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lindac

Silver polish on a Q-tip....the tarnish is between the tines.
That's the one time I do use that dip stuff....just the 1/4 inch of the tip of the tines if they are really tarnished like from egg salad that didn't get rinsed promptly.

Cathy tell your daughter to treat that silver well...because it really belongs to Lily!

Annie71...AKA "new Annie!" LOL!
Using cream of tartar to clean silver is pretty well like using a dip...it cleans by chemical action not by rubbing away the tarnish.
The Victorians used whiting to polish silver...powdered chalk. it acted as a very fine abrasive....much like the jewelers rouge in some of the pink silver polish, like Wrights.
Linda C

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mustangs81

Great point Linda! That will get her attention.

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Fori

I recently picked up several yards of silvercloth at what passes as a fabric store around here (JoAnn) with the intention of doing some nice storage bags and drawer liners and whatnot. It's fairly inexpensive compared to the Pacific Silvercloth (~$6/yd) but not as thick and probably not as good for shelf lining.

Of course I haven't DONE anything with it except blop it in and around some silver.

I had a hard time finding Wright's lately--not at BB&B, Target, the hardware store. Eventually found it at the grocery store. Maybe the rubbing concept is out of fashion, but I think the creme works better than runnier polishes I've used.

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antiquesilver

My favorite silver polish is Seeds' Merit polish. Restoration Hardware used to sell it but lately I've bought it direct from the manufacturer.

Hancock Fabrics in my area sells Pacific Cloth. Just don't go in & ask for 'silver cloth' - they'll direct you to the lame'!

Here is a link that might be useful: Merit Silver Polish

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okie_redhead

Ok Linda, I checked the silverware last night and most pcs just say Brothers? But some of the spoons said double plating. So I will look for the Wrights silver polish. If I can figure out how I will try to post a picture of it after I clean it up.

Thanks again to all who posted here. Ive lost both of my Grandmothers and my Mom and it may sound silly but you guys are great stand ins.

Melissa

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lindac

Awwww...!
We love you too, sweetie

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aliceinmd

I don't believe I read this in the posts above, which include a lot of good information:
NEVER let silver (plate or sterling) sit in water and touch stainless steel! You'll get a black spot wherever they make contact, and not even a jeweler can remove the black completely. It's very easy to let stainless-bladed silver table knives soak in a stainless pan after dinner only to return and find black spots. I believe it involves an electrolytic reaction, but it's a nasty chemical reaction no matter its name.

I cringe when I see people buy silver-dips, sometimes by the gallon! Those products really do eat silver. Stick with the creams and a little rubbing. Coat tarnished tines in the cream and set them aside while you polish other pieces, then go back and give them a good rubbing. Your silver will shine!

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lindac

Alice, I know what you are saying about letting silver and stainless soak together....years ago I ruined a couple of knives....
But in these past, maybe 20 years I haven't found a problem....and I routinely put the silver after a big meal into a dish to soak.
I wonder if the detergents are different lately?...Less alkaline?

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okie_redhead

ack, glad I checked this. I have a stainless steel sink will that be a problem?

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lindac

It isn't for me.....I soak silver in my sink often.

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gellchom

I am with Lindac on all points. The only thing I do differently (and I doubt it matters) is that I use rags instead of a sponge. I put a movie on the TV, put some newspapers down on the table, and do the whole jingbang lot at once, once or twice a year. Other pieces that are out all the time get more. Silver wipes and gloves are good for in-between touch ups, but you can't beat a good thick polish.

I like International, but Wright's is good, too.

My mom taught me a good trick: take one piece (like the sugar bowl) and pour polish in it and dip your rag as you go; just do that piece last. Then you don't need to keep messing with the bottle for each piece.

Many years ago I bought zip-top silverware cases made out of silver cloth from the Lillian Vernon catalog. Boy, do they ever work! I rarely need to polish the silverware anymore, even though I use it often. I got rid of the wood cases. I just put the flatware right in the drawer and always keep them zipped. I don't know if they are still available, but I love them. I keep some other items that I don't use often in plastic bags, and that works well, too. So I guess it is the airproofing more than the special cloth.

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dcarch7 d c f l a s h 7 @ y a h o o . c o m

Regarding stainless steel and sterling silver:

There is more than one kind of sterling silver composition, and there are many different types of stainless steel. Whenever two dissimilar metals are in an electrolytic solution (acidic /basic) solution, galvanic/corrosion/plating action can occur.

To be safe, it is best to have just one metal at a time in a solution.

Regarding silver plated items:

There are ways you can do your own electro-silver plating at home to cover worn spots. However, it is best to have it done professionally to get the proper thickness and adhesion. You can also ask for rhodium coating to retard tarnish.

Other considerations:
1. Some natural gas contains sulfide, Try not to cook with silver items on gas stove.

2. Some water sources, (well water and tap water) contain compounds which will tarnish silver. Best to use filtered water.

3. Ozone attacks silver, in a polluted environment, it is best to keep your silver items in an airtight container.

dcarch

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lindac

Hmm...."there is more than one kind of sterling silver composition"...
Sterling by definition is 92 1/2 percent silver and 5% copper...but perhaps the composition of that remaining 2 1/2 %makes a huge difference in how it reacts with my sink?

My sterling flatware has stainless steel blades. Why doesn't the galvanic action occur when I wash them? Perhaps because detergents are not basic enough to cause an action?

What you say has a bit of truth to it but practically speaking no applications. No one would use a silver chafing dish on a gas stove, and besides I have gas forced air heat, it is beyond impractical to use filtered water in the dishwasher, rhodium plated silver looks like chrome and I have never seen it offered but for certain items of cheap jewelry, and ozone attacks my nose worse than my silver.
Things that will tarnish your silver quickly are leaving a bit of egg on it, spilling salt and not promptly wiping it off of your silver tray or out of the spoon and certain paints contains sulfur compounds and until they cure any silver left out will tarnish more quickly.

I am lucky enough (or smart enough!...because I saw it in an ad and knew what it was!) to own an antique English hanging cupboard with a very tightly fitted door and a lining of what was at one time silver retardant cloth but now needs relining as I think it has absorbed all the tarnishing agents it can. Silver hollow ware kept in there stays polished for a long time...but I have some champagne flutes in there....I need to re arrange my storage!

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dcarch7 d c f l a s h 7 @ y a h o o . c o m

"-----Sterling by definition is 92 1/2 percent silver and 5% copper...but perhaps the composition of that remaining 2 1/2 %makes a huge difference in how it reacts with my sink? "

Never said the difference is going to be huge. Action of tarnishing is cumulative.

"My sterling flatware has stainless steel blades. Why doesn't the galvanic action occur when I wash them? Perhaps because detergents are not basic enough to cause an action? "

It depends on the composition of each metal, on which is more "noble" more "reactive" on the Periodic chart. Also some metal forms oxides quickly which prevents galvanic action. Galvanic action is the bases for "sacrificial" metal to protect ships, for all building codes to require separation of dissimilar metals and the fundamentals for all common batteries.

"What you say has a bit of truth to it but practically speaking no applications. "

I would not disagree with you in most situations.

"No one would use a silver chafing dish on a gas stove, "

Unfortunately not true in my household.

" it is beyond impractical to use filtered water in the dishwasher, "

didnÂt mean Perrier. I should have said treated water. Water in certain areas where water is very hard, and water actually have so much sulfide that it smells like rotten eggs.

"rhodium plated silver looks like chrome and I have never seen it offered but for certain items of cheap jewelry, "

Rhodium plating on silver is an option, I am not making an aesthetic recommendation.
"and ozone attacks my nose worse than my silver. "

Sorry to hear about that. For the old timers, have you noticed that rubber bands donÂt last long any more? Ozone kills rubber.

"Things that will tarnish your silver quickly are leaving a bit of egg on it, spilling ----- "

No disagreement from me on any of what you said.

dcarch

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lindac

Also galvanic action is the basis for the principal of removing tarnish by putting silver in a very basic solution with hot water ( hastens the action) with a "sacrificial metal" often a sheet of foil....but I have a magnesium rod meant to be used in an enamel roaster with washing soda to clean your silver.
I keep it as a curiosity...
I understand the basis of "sacrificial metals" but not sure what metals on the far end of noble might be included in today's stainless or certainly sterling.
the theory of corrosion when a stainless knife and sterling are washed together or when you might wash sterling in a stainless steel sink is just, but I can't think of what solution might be included to encourage that happening.
As far as I know rhodium plating is not an option in dinnerware.
And if my drinking water contains enough sulfides to tarnish my silver, I think I would have lots of other concerns.
As a matter of fact, here in the midwest in a spring when we get a lot of runoff, a shower in a place that gets water from a lake ro river can be a stinky thing!! What it does to your flatware is inconsequental!!

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dcarch7 d c f l a s h 7 @ y a h o o . c o m

Ohio State University Extension Fact Sheet
Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering
590 Woody Hayes Dr., Columbus, OH 43210
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Hydrogen Sulfide in Drinking Water
AEX-319-97
Mike Miller
Karen Mancl
Water containing hydrogen sulfide usually does not pose a health risk, but does give water a nuisance "rotten egg" smell and taste. Water supplies with as little as 1.0 ppm (part per million) hydrogen sulfide are corrosive, may tarnish copper and silverware, and occasionally release a black material that stains laundry and porcelain.

----------------------------------------

The point is, use clean water if possible. Keep silver in a nice clean environment. Don't take unecessary chances if you don't have to.

Unless you enjoy polishing as an activity.

Rhodium (very thin) plating on silver is a common silver plating technique to retard tarnishing. Due to it's high cost, it is not commonly used on cheap jewelries. No. It is not used on new dinnerware. It is an option if you have to repair and replate silver items.

dcarch

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carol_in_california

I have some sterling silverware.. long ago, on Thanksgiving I used tooth paste to clean it up nicely.
Now I have it in a Foodsaver bag so it doesn't tarnish.

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dcarch7 d c f l a s h 7 @ y a h o o . c o m

carol_in_california,

Tooth paste has some cleaning power, but it is really an abrasive polishing compound. It can give you a nice polish, You may want to try out some of the above recommended compounds formulated for silver, which also has the ability to prevent tarnish.

dcarch

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loves2cook4six

DCarch, won't you please shoot over tho the introduction thread and tell us a little about yourself

http://ths.gardenweb.com/forums/load/cooking/msg1115535227244.html?149

Thanks

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dcarch7 d c f l a s h 7 @ y a h o o . c o m

May be. But I am afraid to.
I will think about it.

:-)

dcarch

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lindac

Dcarch...on the rhodium plating thing. I have somev ery very nice silver jewelery and none of it is rhodium plated...but I also have a couple of chains and a pair of earrings bought from a department store hanging rack...and they are rhodium plated.
Can you show me an ad for rhodium plated flatware or holloware?
Also can you explain the difference between the chemical action of corrosion and tarnish? And which occurs by galvanic action?
I think I know but you seem to have some sort of chemical engineering background, so would like to hear it from someone who seems to know.
Linda C

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dcarch7 d c f l a s h 7 @ y a h o o . c o m

Linda C,

"Dcarch...on the rhodium plating thing. I have somev ery very nice silver jewelery and none of it is rhodium plated...but I also have a couple of chains and a pair of earrings bought from a department store hanging rack...and they are rhodium plated. "

I had done silver jewelry sometime ago. I took them to a few silver places and had them rhodium plated. I didnÂt like the color that it would take away from the warm sterling patina even the plating was only a few atoms thick. Rhodium plating is not that common anymore because so much rhodium is now used for automobile spark plugs and Catalytic Converters for pollution control.

"Can you show me an ad for rhodium plated flatware or holloware? "
I thought I made it clear that rhodium plating is never used for any cookware. I only suggested that as an option if you have damaged silver plated items and donÂt like polishing at all. ItÂs possible to find a place to re-plate the silver and rhodium coat it. I am sorry if that was misleading.

"Also can you explain the difference between the chemical action of corrosion and tarnish? And which occurs by galvanic action? "

I didnÂt want to go off topic too much before. I am not absolutely sure I am 100% technically correct. Off the top of my head: Corrosion (rusting) is when your desired metal surface gets a chemical change and pitted away. Tarnish (oxidation is one) is when your desire metal surface gets a desirable or an undesirable chemical change but no pitting is occurring. Galvanic (electrolytic) action happens in most metallic chemical reaction. Batteries are made this way. Some reactions are reversible, in which case you have a rechargeable battery. There is also a process that you can have electro-polishing.
Many more metal surface treatments possible, anodizing, pickling, sputtering, etc. -------

"I think I know but you seem to have some sort of chemical engineering background, so would like to hear it from someone who seems to know. "

No. I donÂt have any training in chemical engineering. Thanks. Just have a very sick mind that wants to know everything. LOL.
For fun, I have done silver, chromium, copper plating, silver mirroring, photo silver negative plate making, vacuum sputtering, electro-discharge machining, electro etching----- I ground my 10" mirror, silver nitrate coated it and made my own astronomy telescope.

dcarch

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lindac

Almost but not quite.
Galvanic action happens when 2 dissimilar metals are immersed in an electrolytic solution and exchange ions through the solution...the least noble losing ions to the most nobel.
Corrosion is the elimination of some surface of the metal, tarnish is the addition of substance to the surface....to put it very simply.
And to keep on topic, why is pretty well all the tarnish that forms on silver of the sulfide type, not oxide?
Someone insists that silver tarnishes more rapidly in a dry atmosphere....I say that's bogus because don't all chemical reactions take place faster in a moist enviornment?

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dcarch7 d c f l a s h 7 @ y a h o o . c o m

Good reply.

Of course there should be a cursory memtioning of the operation of a galvanometer, and hot-dip galvanization.

re: Moisture in air and chemical reaction. Pure water is 100% non-electrically conductive.

dcarch

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beanthere_dunthat

Linda, I've lived where the humidity is really high, and now I live where it's not unusual to have humidity under 15%. Just last week I noticed that the few pieces of silver serving pieces and my silver jewelry have very little tarnish in spite of not having used the pieces nor worn the jewelry in the last two years. Where I lived before, they would be solid black by now. So I think the arid climate makes for faster tarnish is pretty much bogus.

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lindac

Thanks Bean...that's been my experience but I can't find any concrete examples.

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