Silver Care & Pacific Silvercloth Care Guide
Silver is meant to be used and enjoyed. Silver is too beautiful to be kept locked in a dark closet for all but a couple of days a year. This section is intended to give you some helpful tips on how to easily care for and enjoy your silver.
So what causes tarnish anyway? Technically, hydrogen sulfide and sulphur dioxide. In other words, sulphur containing compounds in the air. High humidity levels will also accelerate the formation of tarnish. Some examples of tarnish-causing elements include paints, fabrics containing wool or felt, rubber bands, latex gloves, and foods containing eggs, onions, or citrus. The oil in our fingers can also lead to corrosion patterns if not removed.
Never wash any silver article in the dishwasher! With that said, never wash any silver article in the dishwasher! Also, never wash any silver article with dish soap containing lemon.
Before you wash silver, use a soft, clean, cotton cloth to dust the article as dust can scratch the silver if not removed before cleaning. Hand-wash silver with warm water and a gentle, phosphate-free soap. Avoid making contact with other metals such as a stainless steel sink or other dirty dishes as this can cause scratching. If you wear dishwashing gloves, use plastic, not latex. Rinse the article in clean water and dry immediately with a lint-free, soft cloth. Once cleaned and dried thoroughly, immediately store away the article in your Pacific Silvercloth bag.
Do not use scouring pads or steel wool on your silver. If your polish looks chunky or dried-out, replace it with new product. Use only a soft, lint-free cloth for polishing. There are many brands of silver polishes on the market, but the most popular appear to be 3M™ Tarni-Shield Silver Polish, Twinkle Silver Polish and Goddard's Silver Polish. Apply polish in a gentle circular motion, using cotton swabs for hard to reach areas. Once the article is clean and shiny, you are done. Don't keep polishing just because the cloth continues to blacken.
The preceding polishing tips apply to both sterling silver and silver-plate. However, it should be mentioned that extra-special care should be given to silver-plate in regards to cleaning and polishing. If silver-plate is over-polished, the silver electroplate will eventually wear down and expose the base metal, leading to the need for re-plating. The best thing that can be done to prevent this from happening is to obtain some form of tarnish-protecting product to reduce, if not eliminate, the need for polishing. (read more about silver-plate care.)
Once your silver articles are clean and tarnish-free, you're going to want to keep them that way. Tarnish doesn't typically occur when the silver is in use, but rather when it's not. Try to store your silver in a low humidity space. If humidity is a problem in your region, there are products on the market for absorbing moisture in the air. Never wrap silver with rubber bands.
Pacific Silvercloth makes an excellent storage solution regardless of the silver article. Jewelry, flatware, dinnerware and hollowware can all be stored in Pacific Silvercloth bags, flatware rolls or lined storage areas. Simply make sure the article is completely enclosed within the fabric.
Another solution for preventing tarnish is to place 3M Anti-Tarnish paper (strips) in a small, enclosed area along with your silver articles. This is an excellent solution for displaying your silver in a glass pantry or other display case. While 3M strips are extremely effective in preventing tarnish, they do need to be replaced about every six months and work best in smaller enclosures. If your display cabinet has several shelves, you will need to place one or two strips per shelf as each strip will protect one cubic foot of air space.
Pacific Silvercloth is embedded with thousands of particles of silver. These particles catch the tarnish-causing gases before they reach the silver article stored inside. While Pacific Silvercloth is a cotton, it cannot be washed. Washing Pacific Silvercloth will destroy it's ability to prevent tarnish. To remove dust or other particles from Pacific Silvercloth, simply use a piece of tape to clean the fabric. Over time, Pacific Silvercloth will discolor and fade... there is nothing wrong with the fabric. The discoloration is the fabric itself tarnishing instead of the articles you've placed inside. Never use rubber bands or other rubber elastic products on Pacific Silvercloth.
So how long will Pacific Silvercloth last? Pacific Silvercloth will continue to prevent tarnish for as long as the fabric remains intact. So long as it is not torn, ripped, or washed, the fabric will continue to prevent tarnish for the life of the fabric.
We do not handle any silver repairs, restoration or re-plating. For information about having your silver articles professionally re-plated or repaired, we strongly suggest you visit Jeffrey Herman, Master Silversmith