Saturday, October 9, 2010

Silver Spoons, Champagne and Patina

Born with a sterling silver spoon in your mouth? Have any sterling silver spoons in your sideboard from your wedding or inherited from your grandmother? The following are tips to help you maintain your sterling silver and other uses for spoons!

  • Placing a sterling silver spoon in your mouth while chopping an onion will alleviate the stinging and tears from your eyes.
  • Placing any spoon (sterling or stainless) into a cold open champagne bottle will keep the bubbles from evaporating, and keeps your champagne fresh!
  • Sterling silver ONLY (never silver plate) cleaned with jewelers' rouge and lighter fluid resists tarnish and finger-marks longer than any other method. Be sure to lightly rub the cloth in the same linear direction. Never rub in circles. Do not EVER clean silver plate using this method as it will remove the silver plate.
  • Silver wrapped in linen, then in newspaper kept in a clean, dry, cool cabinet will keep well.
  • Salt will quickly tarnish silver. For salt stains, rub sterling silver with damp salt.
  • Lemon and seafood will also quickly tarnish silver.
  • One may wash sterling silver in the dishwasher if a few rules are obeyed. Only use plain detergent and only use one teaspoon of detergent. Never use lemon detergent with sterling silver as the acid from the lemon will tarnish and may pit out the sterling silver. Do not place antique sterling silver knives made before about 1880 in the dishwasher as they may have plaster inside the sterling handles, thus may explode in the dishwasher. Always test one knife first before washing all other knives just in case!
  • Lemon detergent is bad for china and crystal as well. It removes the clear glaze over time. Lemon detergent is great for pots and pans only!
  • Do not place sterling silver in the same dish cycle with stainless. The two metals do not like each other and you risk pitting out the sterling silver.
  • Use the dishwasher's "Gentle" cycle and "Air Dry" cycle only. NEVER use the "Heat" cycle. It is too hot and is bad for your sterling flat silver, fine china and crystal too.
  • A little olive oil rubbed over silver before it is put away will prevent it from becoming tarnished. When ready for use, wash it warm soapy water and dry thoroughly.
  • Use your sterling every day, wash it in the dishwasher and you will only have to clean it about once a year!
  • Tarnished silver can be quickly cleaned with a cloth sprinkled with bicarbonate of soda.
  • Purists (like myself) adore sterling with its Patina giving it a luster found only with age. Buffing off the Patina will not only remove its Patina but will remove valuable microns of silver.

Enjoy your old sterling new!