Silver should be polished only occasionally- before a holiday gathering or party, says a 40+ year old Residential Cleaning Service in Evanston, Il. Although Silver is sturdy, it scratches easily and is worn away a bit with every polishing. Acids from your hands, sulfur from foods such as eggs and Brussels sprouts, sunlight, smoke from the fireplace, all contribute to dull Silver. Regular use is one of the best solutions. However, when a good polishing is called for, just follow these simple steps, outlined in Martha Stewart's Homekeeping Handbook.
1. Work in a well-lighted area on a nonporous surface. To prevent dents and scratches, pad your work area with an old towel.
2. Protect your hands (and the silver you're polishing from the oils and acids on your skin) by wearing white cotton gloves.
3. Before applying polish, inspect the piece for a previous polishing pattern. This is usually circular on hollow ware and length-wise on flatware. Polish in that pattern with a light touch, following the silver polish's label instructions and avoiding areas where different materials meet.
4. Start with a polish-imbued cloth or liquid polish designed specifically for silver. If this proves inadequate, move on to a paste or cream. Apply with a 100% cotton flannel cloth or a cellulose sponge. Use a soft toothbrush or wooden cuticle stick wrapped in cotton on monograms and ornate designs. Don't worry about removing every bit of tarnish in the crevices of an intricate or ornate pattern- the darkness is what allows the pattern to really stand out. Don't be tempted to us acid baths, called silver dips, which are far too harsh.
5. Rinse the piece when you're finished, being sure to remove all the polishing compound, then dry with a soft cotton cloth, says a 40+ year old Residential Cleaning Service in Evanston, Il.