Silver is perhaps the most beautiful material that important everyday items and decorations are made from. However, if it’s not cared for properly, silver has a unique quality that causes unpleasant-looking smudges to appear. This added care element can often scare away would-be avid collectors. But there’s no reason that polishing silver has to be a difficult or expensive process. Fortunately, there are many tips and tricks to eliminate smudges from silver. A significant amount of these tricks utilize everyday items, as well.
Silver Care Compounds
The most straightforward way to care for silver is to employ the powers of compounds made specifically for this work. A common variety of silver cleaner is sold as a paste. Simply dab a bit on a clean cloth and rub it on the object. Rinse and thoroughly dry your silver piece when done. Different types of cleaners may require additional steps, but for the most part, that’s all it takes. Be sure to always choose a non-abrasive cleaner to avoid damaging the surface of more delicate or older pieces.
Lastly, if you’re using a cleaner on an item that’s intended for everyday use, rinse and wipe the item with extra care to avoid missing any remaining traces of the product. Traces of cleaner may induce tarnish in hard-to-reach spots when the silver piece is routinely used or displayed. Sterling picture frames, for instance, are almost always in contact with oxygen, so spaces between engraved and embossed details need extra attention.
Alternatives To Silver Cleaners
If using a chemical cleaner on silver doesn’t suit you or your collection, try a household alternative. Many natural and even edible substances are ideal for removing smudges and tarnish from silver. For instance, mild dish soap and warm water are very effective—make sure to use a soft cloth to clean, though. Using an abrasive dish towel, brush, or sponge will cause more harm than good.
Using Polishing Cloths
When it comes to clothes, it pays to be specific with silver. As silver is a fairly soft metal, it gets scratched and worn easily when not treated with care. Besides this, some common varieties of cloth contain trace oils that will accelerate tarnishing. Avoid using scratchy or worn towels or anything that feels abrasive to the touch.
Many materials are chemically treated with unnatural dyes and contain acids, sulfurs, and salts that react poorly with silver. One of our favorite tips and tricks to eliminate smudges from silver is to use a 100 percent cotton flannel or clean cotton linen.