Saturday, April 19, 2008

Tips & Tricks: Cleaning Silver

When you own an antique shop, you end up cleaning silver. Lots of silver. And cleaning silver is probably the least "fun" thing about owning a shop. But I found a way to make the job a little easier. Interested? Okay, I'll share my secret, but it's actually two secrets.

Here's my first secret: Nevr-Dull. It's a funky product designed for cleaning chrome and such on cars and boats, but it works really well on silver as well. You can find it at most auto parts stores in their cleaning products section.

Unlike other silver polishes, it's not a paste or cream; it's actually a small amount of liquid in a cotton wadding. You simply rub the cotton on the silver, and rub some more, and some more still, then buff it with a clean soft cloth. And voila! Clean silver.

Don't believe me? I'll show you.

Here's a silverplated ladle that wanted to put out for sale in the shop but it was grody and black with tarnish. It was actually tarnished so badly that I was afraid that I'd have to trash it.

So I open my nifty can of Nevr-Dull. See the cotton wadding in there? Pull out a small piece of that cotton wadding.

Rub the wadding over the ladle, creating a black film (created from the tarnish you're removing). Rub harder on areas that are more tarnished.

Now you take a clean cloth and buff off the black film. And if you have lots of nooks and crannies that are still black with tarnish, use a brush to buff inside the crevices.

And the finished product.

Oh, the bad news. Forget about your manicure, your nails will be trashed. You'll have black stains all around and underneath your fingernails. I keep a nail brush handy for post-polishing cleanup; use it on your hands and nails with lots of warm soapy water and most of the stains will come out. The rest will wear off in a day or two.

And the second secret? Have Hubby polish the silver; he doesn't care about his nails. ;o)


  1. Great tips!!! - I wear rubber gloves to keep my hands a nails from getting black!!!........but I like the idea of getting hubby to do it!! LOL

  2. I tried wearing latex gloves but my hands got sweaty ((shudder)). And I kept wanting to blow them up like balloons. So I usually just stockpile the tarnished silver and have a polish-palooza once or twice a year!


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