Sterling antique silver items are highly sought-after collectibles. The better condition they’re in, the more valuable they are and the longer they’ll last. Whether you’ve just begun your collection or you’re preparing to sell an unused heirloom, this metal requires special care to prevent tarnishing and damage. Use the tips below to keep your items in pristine condition.
How to Properly Care for Antique Silver
1. Store Gently
Antique silver is fragile and regular use may lead to dents, scratches, and tarnishing. Use it only for special occasions. At all other times, store it in a dry area out of direct sunlight to preserve its condition. Wrap it in cotton or acid-free tissue paper, and keep it inside cotton, soft linen, or special tarnish-resistant bags. Keep it away from harsh chemicals and odors that are abrasive, as fumes may react with the metal. Some silverware and other products may be lacquered, which will help protect them from damage, but should still be treated with caution.
2. Clean As Needed
For items that are on display, appearances matter, but cleaning too frequently can be damaging. Dust thoroughly and regularly with a soft cloth or soft-bristled brush to remove grime, which will lessen the need for deeper cleanings. If the silver has a buildup of dirt that dusting doesn’t remove, apply a solution of mild soap and hot water with a cotton ball to gently rinse it off, ensuring it’s completely dry before putting it away. If tarnish develops, use a cotton ball to daub on silver dip, one of the least abrasive cleaners available, or you can use polish to limit future corrosion. Don’t use these products often, as they can eat away at the metal over time.
3. Wear Gloves When Handling
Your silver should be handled as little as possible by bare hands. The oils and acids left behind from your skin can corrode the metal, eating away at the finish and catalyzing the tarnishing process. Always wear cotton gloves when handling or cleaning your collection. If you use it to serve food and drinks, diligently clean all items as soon as you’re done to prevent lasting damage.
At Mike Deming Antiques in Rochester, NY, you’ll find a vast selection of elegant antique silver items, as well as more expert guidance on caring for them. For over 35 years, this expert has bought and sold valuables with passion, cultivating an impressive knowledge of high-quality pieces and building experience in appraising unique objects. If you need to sell your silver or other antiques, they’ll treat you with kindness and offer honest prices for your antiques, including silverware, frames, art, and toys. Begin the process online or call (585) 244-1999 to schedule an appraisal.