How to Use Polishing Products to Keep Your Silver Looking Brand New

Shining Silverware

Blanchi Costela/Getty Images 

The joy of owning beautiful silver flatware or hollowware requires some work to keep it looking beautiful. Follow the advice here to keep your silver sparkling so you can enjoy it. The time it takes to complete this easy task will vary depending on how much silverware you need to polish.

How to Polish Your Silver

  1. Buy the best silver cream you can find. Wright's Silver Cream is one good one. It is a thick pink cream that comes with a foam sponge inside the jar.
  2. Before anything else, read the instructions on your container of silver cream and follow them if they vary from this tutorial.
  3. Collect all of your silver to be polished and set the pieces near the kitchen sink. Spread some paper or soft cotton towels nearby to provide an area to place the pieces once the cream is applied.
  4. 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.
  5. Try to cover an area with a thin layer of silver cream. Then go back and rub each area gently just until the tarnish disappears. Small items will take 15 to 30 seconds, while larger pieces may take up to 2 minutes to finish.
  6. On large pieces such as bowls, apply the polish on the inside area first, so the cream covers the whole surface. Then go back and rub it in where tarnish is evident. Next, go on to put cream on the outside surfaces and repeat.
  7. Rinse right away, or set each piece on paper toweling. Proceed to the next piece. Work quickly. You can apply the cream to 10 serving bowls or flatware for six in less than 10 minutes.
  8. When you feel like taking a break, rinse out the sponge, and wash your hands. Don't leave the silver polish on your hands for long periods.
  9. Next, pick up each silver creamed piece and gently rinse it under warm or cool running water, rubbing away all traces of the silver cream with a very clean soft sponge (like the foam sponge used to apply the cream) or a soft cotton rag.
  10. If your piece has feet, be careful of felt covered bottoms (often found on candlesticks) and try not to get them wet as you wash the piece. If necessary, dry the item for several hours on its side so the felt bottoms can dry out completely.
  11. Set the clean rinsed silver on a clean, dry towel. Dry the silver thoroughly with the towel to avoid watermarks. (Plain cotton flour sack towels are good at absorbing water without leaving lint.)
  12. Dry intricate crevices with a Q-tip if desired, then air dry the silver for several hours, so all joints and crevices dry entirely.
  13. Return the silver to its display or kitchen storage area. Be sure silver pieces do not touch each other, as the pieces may become scratched.
  14. If you're not going to use the piece right away, keep it stored in a special flannel silver cloth bag. This will help to keep it shiny longer. For greatest pleasure, find a place to display the silver so that you will be able to enjoy the beauty of the pieces. After all, what are you saving it for?
  15. Washing silver frequently may help avoid frequent polishing. Polishing silver 2-6 times a year is generally sufficient to keep it in good shape.

Silverware Polishing Tips

  1. Avoid the use of tarnish "rinses" or "dips" as they tend to yellow the silver and won't give it that wonderful, vibrant silver glow.
  2. Salt is one of the worst foods to touch silver and tarnishes it quickly. Keep salt away from silver whenever possible, or wash salt residues away immediately after use.
  3. Polish silver flatware up to 3 weeks before a special occasion, and polish it in early November to use all through the holidays.
  4. Paste cream in a jar is often easier to handle than thinner runny solutions in bottles.
  5. For the look of aged silver, leave some of the tarnish in crevices.