How to care for your Silverware

At Sea Emporium, our team has invaluable experience with delicate and luxurious goods, such as silverware.

Silverware includes any metal spoons, knives, forks and other utensils that are used to eat, and other tableware such as dishes and service accessories that are made of or coated with silver.

Some people think polishing silver may cause damages and prefer keeping their valuable pieces a little tarnished instead, while other people prefer their silverware looking as new as possible at all times.Sometimes when we talk about Silverware, we may include other silver-looking pieces made of other metals than actual silver. Knowing what your flatware and dishes are made of is very important to define how you will care for it.

Here are the different types of metals you would usually encounter on a yach

  1. Stainless steel: a mix of nickel and chromium alloy; high quality stainless steel is resistant to heat and corrosion and has a beautiful, shiny appearance. Stainless steel is rather easy to care for and dishwasher safe.
  2. Silver Plated: a coat of silver over another metal, such as stainless steel; the quality of your silver plated flatware depends on both the standards of the base metal and the thickness of the coat. Its gleaming silver coat must be carefully polished avoiding damages that could reveal the metal underneath – some silver-plated flatware may go in the dishwasher using appropriate dish soap and you would need to follow the manufacturers instructions.
  3. Sterling Silver: a solid-silver flatware is a luxury item made of 92.5% silver. Real silver chemically reacts with oxygen to form a patina (tarnish) while silver plating bonds to the underlying metal and won’t tarnish as easily. Know that some food (eggs, Brussel sprouts, vinegar, salt) tarnish silver quickly.
  4. Other kinds of metals found on some decorative or service pieces: brass or copper, pewter, aluminum etc. Each metal must follow their own care instructions.

Once you have identified that your silverware is actually made of silver, and whether is it plated or not,  you can take the appropriate steps to take care of it

  1. Find the right storage space: the best way to keep the gleaming of your silverware intact is to keep it away from humidity and the sulphur present in the air. You can wrap it in dry tissue paper or better again use special silver-pouches that are coated with an antioxidant fabric that will slow down oxidation. Consider investing in a proper silver-chest or drawer inserts if you use your silverware more frequently.
  2. Always use white gloves when handling silver to avoid leaving fingerprints and potential acidity that could tarnish it.
  3. After each use, wash your silverware with hot soapy water, give it a good rinse and dry thoroughly.
  4. Use a silver-cloth for the every day care of your silver. Rub softly in a circular movement to remove tarnish stains.
  5. Use a silver-polish (cream) on the toughest stains. Ideally, remember that silver should be polished as little as possible, to avoid damage from abrasive cleaning.
  6. Use a silver-dip with cotton wool. Contrary to the name you shouldn’t submerge your silver as it will damage it overtime. Use cotton wool to tackle the hardest stains working gently on the stains, before rinsing and drying.
  7. Try a chemical-free cleaning alternative: mix three parts baking-soda and one-part water to make a paste. For smaller object you can use a soft brush (not a toothbrush).

We hope you find these advice helpful. If you have any doubts, be sure to get in touch with our team of former Chief Stews for the best advice in caring for your silverware!