Monday, June 23, 2008

Cleaning your Hotel Silver


I’ve had many people contact me about how to care for their hotel silver. It’s quite simple, in fact, you treat hotel silver pretty much the same as sterling or other silverplate.

Hotel Silver was designed for commercial use. It has several layers of silverplate, making it quite durable. It does, however, tarnish like all silver if exposed to the elements. By using your hotel silver regularly, it will slow down the tarnish process. Additionally, storing it in a closed cabinet such as a china cabinet or in felt pouches will slow down the tarnishing.

Here are some tips on caring for your silver:
  • When you start to notice a brownish or yellowish film, it’s time to polish!
  • My polish of choice is Hagerty’s Silver Foam. It comes in a white jar and the polish is a thick, chocolate-looking paste. It’s strong enough to polish your silver, but mild enough not to hurt it. Most hardware stores or large chain grocery stores carry it.
  • Put on some latex gloves and lay down some paper towels or old towels. This way you can polish several pieces at a time.
  • Rinse each piece of silver in warm or hot water to remove dust and dirt. Then, while the silver is still warm, dip a moistened foam sponge or soft rag into the polishing cream and spread the cream over the entire silver piece. Rub in a circular motion until you begin to see the tarnish coming off. Rinse the sponge or rag and continue to polish those missed areas until the piece is no longer tarnished.
  • When the piece is tarnish-free, rinse again with warm/hot water and a mild soap to remove all the traces of polishing agent.
  • Dry thoroughly with a very soft cloth to avoid water stains.
  • Now your silver is bright and shiny! Use it! Entertain with it often and it will slow down the tarnishing cycle.

Additional Tips:

  • Don’t forget to polish those difficult areas such as the handle and spout.
  • Keep salt away from silver whenever possible, or wash salt residues away immediately after use.
  • For an “aged patina," leave some of the tarnish in the crevices.
  • DO NOT use Tarnix, chemical silver dips or the kitchen sink/foil/detergent/electroplate trick. This can damage your silver by removing a coat or giving it an almost white patina. Stick to the soft polishes like Hagerty’s or Wright’s Silver Polish.
  • If you’ve purchased a piece of silver that's extremely black and tarnished, and you just can’t get the tarnish off using all of your elbow grease, it may require the service of a professional silversmith. They use heavy duty buffing and cleaning machines that bring your silver back to life.


2 comments:

Irina said...

Hi,
I've just found your blog and I love it! So many beautiful images and so informative too. I like to go to flea markets and vintage shops and I've seen vintage hotel silver there but always not sure if it actually silver plated...it has no mark that it is silver plated. Is it normal for hotel silver?
Than you,
Irina from Hong Kong

Paris Hotel Boutique said...

Thanks Irina!

Usually hotel silver has hallmarks on the bottom. It still could be silverplate without hallmarks. It's something you learn to recognize over time. More often than not though, it does have hallmarks.

hope that helps! Lynn