How do you clean badly tarnished silver plate?

Answered by John Hunt

Cleaning badly tarnished silver plate can be a challenging task, but with the right techniques and a little patience, you can restore its shine. Here are some steps to help you clean badly tarnished silver plate:

1. Gather your supplies: You will need mild dish soap, warm water, a soft cloth or sponge, a non-abrasive scrub brush, a toothbrush with soft bristles, and a silver polishing cloth.

2. Prepare a cleaning solution: Fill a basin or sink with warm water and add a few drops of mild dish soap. Mix it gently until the soap is dissolved.

3. Soak the silver plate: Place the tarnished silver plate in the soapy water and let it soak for about 10-15 minutes. This will help loosen the tarnish and make it easier to remove.

4. Gently scrub the tarnish: After soaking, take the soft cloth or sponge and gently scrub the surface of the silver plate. Avoid using abrasive materials or scrub brushes at this stage, as they can scratch the surface of the silver plate. Focus on the areas with heavy tarnish, applying gentle pressure.

5. Use a toothbrush for intricate details: For hard-to-reach areas or intricate details, use a toothbrush with soft bristles. Dip the toothbrush in the soapy water and gently scrub those areas to remove the tarnish.

6. Rinse thoroughly: Once you’ve scrubbed the silver plate, rinse it thoroughly with clean water to remove any soap residue. Make sure to rinse all the crevices and details to ensure a complete clean.

7. Dry and polish: After rinsing, gently dry the silver plate with a soft, clean cloth. Once it’s dry, you can use a silver polishing cloth to bring back its shine. Follow the instructions provided with the cloth and polish the silver plate in a gentle, circular motion. This will help remove any remaining tarnish and restore its luster.

8. Store properly: After cleaning, it’s important to store your silver plate properly to prevent future tarnishing. Use anti-tarnish strips or place the silver plate in airtight bags to minimize exposure to air and moisture.

– Avoid using abrasive cleaners, harsh chemicals, or silver dips on silver plate, as they can damage the surface.
– If the tarnish is stubborn and doesn’t come off with gentle cleaning, you may consider using a silver polish specifically designed for silver plate. Follow the instructions on the polish carefully.
– Regularly cleaning and polishing your silver plate can help prevent heavy tarnish buildup and make future cleaning easier.

Personal experience:
I recently inherited a badly tarnished silver plate that had been stored in a basement for many years. It had a thick layer of tarnish that made it almost unrecognizable. Determined to restore its beauty, I followed the steps mentioned above.

I started by soaking the silver plate in warm, soapy water for about 20 minutes. This allowed the tarnish to loosen up a bit. Then, using a soft cloth, I gently scrubbed the surface, paying extra attention to the heavily tarnished areas. For the intricate details, I used a toothbrush with soft bristles, which worked wonders in removing the tarnish.

After rinsing the silver plate thoroughly and drying it with a soft cloth, I used a silver polishing cloth to bring back its shine. The difference was remarkable! The silver plate looked almost as good as new, with its original luster restored.

To prevent future tarnishing, I now store the silver plate in an airtight bag with an anti-tarnish strip. This helps to minimize exposure to air and moisture, which are the main causes of tarnish.

Cleaning badly tarnished silver plate can be time-consuming, but the end result is definitely worth the effort. With a little patience and the right techniques, you can bring back the shine and beauty of your silver plate.