Delicate and sensitive to oxidation, silverware requires careful care in order to provide a stylish accompaniment to the meal.
Cutlery silverware is often an item that has been passed down from generation to generation. They add grace and style to all tables, from the simplest to the most elaborate. Returning to our daily lives after being set aside for special occasions, they add a deceptively old-fashioned but resolutely modern charm to the most beautiful tables.
No more preconceived notions
We tend to think that silverware is for special occasions. However, the best way to preserve it is to use it! Indeed, because the staining shows up quite slowly, the silverware won’t have time to blacken between two uses. Also, regular use automatically cleanses and gives all items a true “patina” of silver. So feel free to use silver cutlery and other silverware as often as you like, they will thank you.
Photo credit: “Géométrie” set by Puiforcat
The fine art of washing
It is generally recommended to wash silverware by hand, using warm soapy water and a soft cloth, such as suede, which can also be used to polish the pieces once they are dry. Contrary to popular belief, dishwashers (especially those with a special drawer for silverware) can be used to clean silverware. However, some precautions should be taken to preserve silverware: Use only chlorine-free detergents in moderation and never liquid gel; put knives in the same basket with the blade down and the handle up; do not machine wash old cutlery or cutlery with handles made of horn, wood or other natural materials; Open the dishwasher door halfway through the cycle to let the steam out and prevent the humid atmosphere from stinging the knife blades; wipe cutlery dry before putting it away; follow the instructions for your dishwasher regarding water hardness, as water that is too hard and contains lime will cause corrosion.
Many brands offer special products for polishing silverware. If you don’t have such a product, you can immerse your pieces in a mixture of warm water and diluted sodium bicarbonate for a few minutes and then dry them on a sheet of aluminum foil. Note that you should not wear rubber gloves as they contain sulfur and will cause a permanent blackening of the silver.
Protecting the silver
There are a number of storage systems for effectively protecting silverware. These include “pouches” and “kits” made of antioxidant fabric that can be used to protect silver.