Caring for your silverware isn’t nearly as daunting as you may think. Samrat Zaveri, Managing director at Shaze Luxury Retail gives us a few tips to help keep things sparkly
Whether it’s that antique, pure silver bowl given to you by your grandmother or that brand new sterling silver flatware set you were gifted on your wedding day, the last thing you want is for it to get spoilt with use. This is where we all go wrong. Says Samrat Zaveri, MD of shazé, “Sulphur present in the atmosphere can tarnish silver products and therefore regular use will actually help break the sulphur film on the surface.”
Sterling silver items like crockery, cutlery and puja plates can actually be used on a daily basis without much wear and tear if you learn how to clean them properly. “How often silver should to be cleaned totally depends on where it is placed and how often it is used,” he says.
It may be tempting to put your silver items especially flatware into the dishwasher but it is always better to clean it by hand. “Dinnerware and cutlery can be easily maintained by washing with a non-lemon based liquid soap, however ensure that the water is wiped off immediately after washing,” recommends Samrat.
Never leave sterling silver to soak over a long period as this can permanently damage the metal. Keep silver away from stainless steel while washing. Remember to use a soft cloth to completely dry your silver piece after washing.
“Using a toothbrush or scrub pads to clean silver is a big ‘No-No’ as the bristles are extremely abrasive and can easily scratch silver,” he warns. “For decorative products that are lacquered, frequent mild dusting with a soft cloth should suffice to keep it tarnish free surface for a long time.”
There are also quite a few home remedies that you should steer clear off. Says Samrat, “Common items like toothpaste, baking soda, Coca Cola, 7up, etc. that are used to clean silver may seem like easy remedies but are actually extremely abrasive on silver. These are chemical-laden and can easily damage it, reducing its lifespan.”
Polishing is better for antique pieces as it helps with getting rid of tarnish without removing too much of the patina, so you don’t lose that gorgeous vintage look. “Most silver polishes contain chemicals and acids that damage silver so go for one which is eco-friendly,” he suggests. And remember to steer clear of rubber gloves while polishing silver.
Start with washing your silverware in warm water and drying it completely. Then use a chemical-free, eco-friendly polish and wipe off with a soft cloth. “A few silver polish options are easily available in the market like Blitz Silver polish. These are eco-friendly liquid polishes, have no harsh chemicals or acids and are extremely safe to use on all kinds of silver, barring dinnerware or cutlery,” he explains.
“Additionally, these polishes have tarnish reducers or inhibitors so that your silver doesn't get tarnished or oxidised as often, making your silver shine longer with less effort and maintenance,” he says.
Storing your silverware correctly is equally important to make sure it lasts a long time. Always store silver in a less humid place and out of heat. Keep the area where you are storing your silverware like your cutlery drawer as moisture free as possible by using silica gel packs (read our story ‘How to organise your cutlery cabinet’).
“Do not wrap silver in newspaper as it is commonly done as the ink is acidic and will harm your silver,” warns Samrat. “Also, do not use plastic bags to store silver as these bags can trap moisture which will tarnish silver easily,” he suggests.