Advice on caring for antique silver from the British Antique Dealers' Association.
Cleaning antique silver
The key to effective cleaning of antique silver is regular care.
Dust regularly with a soft brush or gently rub with a soft cloth to remove fingerprints and light dirt.
Silver can be washed in hot soapy water, then rinsed clean in hot water.
It should then be thoroughly dried, before buffing with a soft cloth.
Vigorous polishing with an abrasive cleaner will only damage your items, and lessen their value.
There are several products available for removing tarnish from antique silver, including creams, foam paste and liquid polishes.
For best results, use a long-term silver polish which leaves a protective layer on the surface.
Think carefully before removing tarnish from your silver.
Remember that retaining a degree of tarnish can add character and definition to a piece.
Try testing on the underside of an item to see if you like the results, before using on visible surfaces.
Finally, be aware that silver dips are abrasive and can permanently damage antique silver items.
Silver gilt can also be susceptible to tarnish, which builds up on the surface through tiny weaknesses in the gilding.
It is essential to exercise extreme care when cleaning sivler gilt, as thin layers can easily be polished away.
For best results, consult a BADA specialist, who will be happy to recommend an experienced restorer.
Long term storage
To preserve the polish on domestic silver, wrap it in dry, acid-free tissue paper.
It is also advisable to store antique items in an air tight polythene bag, for secure long term storage.