It’s not too early to start thinking about the holiday season, and preparations would not be complete without a freshly polished collection of silverware and accessories to make your holiday gatherings perfect in every way. The good thing about planning to polish your silver is that, with the right products and polish, it doesn’t have to be a chore.
In this post, we’ll explore the best ways to polish the silver in your collection as well as many other household items using a secret that many airplane enthusiasts and technicians are already aware of.
Using Metal Polish to Update your Silver
Silver is a soft metal with properties similar to, but less durable than gold. We’ve come a long way since the first silver mines were discovered, but owning silver household items has brought with it a number of upkeep issues.
Silver is known for tarnishing over time. Tarnish occurs when oxygen from the air begins a chemical reaction with surface of silver metals leading to oxidation. The process can leave an object with a yellow, yellow-brown or blackish coloring that is a far cry from the brilliant sheen of freshly polished bright work.
You don’t have to be a reckless cook or a lazy cleaner to experience tarnish. Most silver will tarnish on its own over time with or without human intervention. This means that regularly updating your silver with a good polishing can make a huge difference, and helps to maintain the quality and luster of your collection. However, it’s important not to polish too often as doing so can lead to additional damage.
Types of Silver Polish to Consider
The polish used to tidy up a silverware collection is extremely important – especially during the holiday season when guests are visiting and the silver is getting maximum use. That said, there are a number of options available when it comes to choosing the best silver metal polish.
First, there are home remedies. These including using toothpaste and a soft toothbrush. While this may work on small pieces of jewelry or other accessories, a word of caution is advised. Toothpaste can sometimes carry abrasive material that could add minute scratches to the metal surface of silverware and silver kitchenware.
Also, baking soda is sometimes recommended as a way to avoid the harsh chemicals of commercial silver metal polishes. Baking soda may be less abrasive than some toothpastes, but it also may not be capable of providing that clear shine that most hosts and hostesses are after.
Commercial polishes do have some advantages. Many of these come in the form of a thick paste or cream with chemical constituents capable of carefully removing oxidation and restoring the shine beneath watermarks, discoloration and fading.
On the other hand, the fact that some commercial polishes do contain a number of harsh chemicals can and should leave consumers a little wary. If you’re worried about the nature of the chemical components of a commercial metal polish it’s always best to go with a reputable metal polish provider or to check with any local professional metal polishing service before attempting to test out new products on your prized collection of silver.
Getting a Good Shine
Not all metal polishes are suitable for polishing silverware and household items. You’ll need a polish that is both gentle and safe. For this, a metal polish that cleans your items without damaging them and that gives a shine that will last is best.
For best results, go with a polish that has minimal abrasiveness. It’s the abrasiveness of metal polishes that helps them accomplish the task of removing the damaged or discolored top surface layer of an item to reveal a newer layer ready for shine. However, abrasiveness can also be the downfall of a polish if it strips the metal cutting too deep into the top layers.
Since silver is such a versatile metal with a gentle luster, it needs a polish that has just the right qualities. This means it may take an all-purpose, water-based polish or an all-purpose polish system to ensure that each item in a silverware collection is cleaned and polished sufficiently. Also, you’ll need a good polishing cloth or sponge to help with getting in between fork tines and other small spaces.
Begin by rinsing the item in lukewarm water. Be care to avoid using latex rubber gloves. The latex rubber can be corrosive to the metal and cause damage during the process. If your sink consists of stainless steel, you may also want to consider using a plastic tub for rinsing. Electrolysis can take place if the silver items come in contact with the steel.
Most all-purpose polishing systems come with an initial cleaner. Use this to wipe away any surface dirt or debris and to prepare the silverware for the next phase of polishing. Depending on the amount of damage and severity of tarnish, the next step may be to use an intermediate polish that helps remove water spots and other forms of discoloration before moving on to the brightest shine.
Getting the gleam you desire and that will make a good showing at the next holiday dinner depends on the final step in an all-purpose polish system. Apply a thin layer to coat the item and then begin gently using the polishing cloth in a circular motion. The resulting mirror-like finish should last for a considerable amount of time depending on the quality of polish and the amount of use your silverware gets throughout the year.
Getting Your Silver to Shine for the Holidays
No need to hide the silver when it come to impressing guests with your fanciest fare for the holidays. Frequently used silverware collections can turn yellow or even black with tarnish and may at first glance seem completely ruined. In fact, all that’s needed is a quality metal polish to bring back the gleam you desire. Consider opting for a water-based, all purpose polish system to get the best results.