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Video:How to Clean and Polish Antique Silver

with Natasha Levitan

Antique silver requires different care than regular silver pieces. Learn some tips to keep your antique silver shining, including how to clean, polish, and store your silver.See Transcript

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Transcript:How to Clean and Polish Antique Silver

Hi, I'm Natasha Levitan for About.com. Today I'm going to show you how to care for antique silver.

Antique Silver Care Supplies

For this you will need:
  • polishing cream
  • towel
  • sponge
  • activated charcoal
  • cotton flannel cloth
  • desiccated silica gel
  • polyethylene bags

Clean the Antique Silverware

First I'm going to show you how to clean your silver pieces. Wash or rinse each silver item in hot water to remove dust. Then, while the silver is still warm, dip a moistened foam sponge or soft rag into the polishing cream and spread the cream quickly over the entire silver piece.

Polish the Antique Silverware

Try to cover an area completely with a thin layer of silver cream. Rub away all traces of the silver cream with a soft cotton toothbrush. Rinse your piece with water and set it on a towel to dry.

Use Acid-Free Paper With Antique Silver

You should always use acid free paper. Avoid scotch tape, cardboard and newspaper. Acids in the tape, cardboard and newspaper can be harmful to silver. Avoid contact with eggs, onions and peas. The sulfur in these foods combines with silver to form silver sulfide, which discolors the surface.

Keep Rubber Away From Antique Silverware

Avoid contact with rubber and latex. Do not fasten cutlery with rubber bands or store rubber bands in silver cups etc because rubber contains ingredients that can tarnish silver. Do not wear them when cleaning your silver.

Dishwashers and Antique Silverware

Avoid dishwashers. The combination of harsh detergents and very high temperatures is damaging to the silver pieces.

Keep Salt Away From the Silverware

And finally avoid salt. Remove salt from silver saltshakers and salt sellers after each use. Salt is a corrosive element. Storing these items with salt in them will damage them along with the rest of the silver in the cupboard because salt will saturate the air.

How to Store Antique Silver

The most important goal when you're storing silver is to keep humidity low. Here are several that would help you. One of them is to keep them in Polyethylene bags they create a barrier from tarnish producing gases.

You can line your drawers with 100 percent cotton flannel cloth. Split the activated charcoal tablets and pour the charcoal into a container. You can add to the storage drawer a small container of desiccated silica gel that absorbs water and a small container of activated charcoal.

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