Caring for your Silver
Like any other material silver needs some care and attention to keep it looking as good as new. Silver will tarnish naturally over time with the oxygen in the air and will reacts to the natural acid in your hands. Silver tarnishes faster in areas with high humidity and air pollution. The good news is that Silver is a durable material that will last a lifetime if cared for with the right surface treatments.
Highly Polished Silver
Polished work can be cleaned with a silver cloth or silver polish and a soft cloth. Care should be taken to ensure the cloth is free of any particles that could scratch the surface of the work. If tarnish is persistent then Silver dip or Hagerty’s Silver Foam are to be used (see directions). Do not silver dip work if it has oxidised elements, as this will be removed. Please note that mirror polished pieces need to be cleaned with the greatest care ensuring the cloth is clean and particle free.
Satin and Matt Surfaces
You should avoid using polishing cloths and creams, as this will increase the shine on the surface. The best method for cleaning is silver dip, you need to take care if the piece has oxidised elements.
Oxidised work should be cleaned with white spirit and a soft cloth or cotton wool. Occasionally you need to re-wax your oxidised surface with Renaissance Wax and a soft cloth or cotton wool. This will protect the surface from tarnish and fingerprints. This will also give an even dark finish. For small areas a cotton bud can be used. Do not put or soak oxidised work in silver dip, as it will eventually remove the black surface. Silver foam can be used on silver that has oxidized areas as long as you do not rub at the oxidized area and rinse well.
Using Water in Vases
I treat the insides of my vases to stop them reacting with water, however for long term care and to avoid damaging the surface I recommend using distilled or battery top up water where possible as tap water tends to be very hard and causes lime scale build up. Do not use flower food as this reacts with the silver.
Using Hagerty’s Silver Foam
This can be applied with a soft sponge (supplied with the foam) you do not need much. Rinse well under running water and dry. Do not use with very hot water, as this will encourage the piece to tarnish.
Drying Your Silver
When silver comes into contact with water it must be dried immediately to avoid watermarks. A soft Micro fibre cloth or soft towel is best and a hairdryer will speed up the process and dry the inside of containers quickly. Please take not to overheat the work, as the metal can get very hot!
Using Silver Dip
You can apply the silver dip with a sponge, or if it’s a small item then you can immerse it in the solution. You should make sure that you rinse the item well under running water and dry the item to keep it tarnish free. Do not pour used silver dip back into the container as this contaminates the dip and stops it from working. Make sure that you work in or over a plastic bowl to avoid scratching the work piece you are cleaning, or dropping it into the sink! Do not dip silverware that has an oxidised finish, as this will remove the black colour over time.