How to Polish Silver

A few months ago, my mother-in-law gave us an old silverware set she had found while cleaning out her home. She called to ask if we wanted it and while I’ve never thought about having true silverware, it was a complete set. Why pass it up?

The set had belonged to my husband’s grandmother. Undoubtedly from a time when silver and china were staples to every wedding registry. Today, that’s not something brides and grooms prioritize for their wedding gifts. Everyday dishes and flatware? Of course. But quality, expensive dishware is rarely a priority. We were fortunate to get this beautiful William Rogers and Sons King Edward Silverplated set, which after some research, we found was made between 1936-1951 and was a very popular style of the time.

Truth be told, I like when these items are handed down anyways. The familial and nostalgia ties make them more special. Plus, let’s be honest, the quality of silverware just isn’t what it used to be.

My mother-in-law brought the silver set to us during one of her visits and I was amazed by it. Preserved in a felt-lined wood box, the whole hearty set was there. Have you ever held real silverware? It’s incredibly heavy. Unfortunately, time had taken its toll and the pieces needed some tender love and care.

I did a bit of research online about the best way to remove tarnish from silver and everything led me to Hagerty products. I stumbled upon a display at The Container Store a number of weeks later and decided it was time give it a shot.

A note: I live in constant fear of making a misstep while handling old or valuable things. So instead of jumping right in to polish the silver, I procrastinated until a point of ridiculousness. Even with all the research under my belt, I always second guess myself. But it was time to jump in.

I purchased the Hagerty Silversmith Aerosol Spray Polish and Silversmiths’ Gloves. The instructions were simple enough. Spray… wait 30 seconds until liquid turns pink… and gently rub.

Guys… it was literally that easy.

I mean, it was so easy that I’m a little frustrated with myself that I waited so long to do it. The pieces turned out beautifully.

 

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Just a few tips:

  1. Use the Silversmiths’ Gloves. The tarnish comes off as a black material and frankly, it’s pretty gross. You don’t want that all over your hands. If you use latex gloves, you run the risk of getting tarnish byproduct everywhere. Plus the fibers help get into all the crevices.
  2. Use the spray for intricate designs. The spray will get right into all aspects of the design, making it easier to get a fully clean finish without using a brush.
  3. If you opt for the spray, use in a well-ventilated area.
  4. Have two towels on hand. One to cover your surface and the second for the final polish. Your gloves will get dirty over the course of polishing which will make them less likely to leave a perfectly clean finish. Follow up polishing with a soft cloth to really make those pieces shine!

 

Polishing did take a bit of time but that depends on the number of pieces in the silver set. My set took me about an hour and a half. I’m no Downton Abbey butler but I’m really proud of myself.

Now we have every reason to get a little fancy with our holiday dinners.

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