Antique silver

BADA is the leading trade association for the fine art, design and antiques community. Read our guide to caring for antique silver.

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.

Removing tarnish

There are several products available for removing tarnish from antique silver. 

These include 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.

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

Antique Silver

Silver gilt can also be susceptible to tarnish, which builds up on the surface through tiny weaknesses in the gilding.

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.

For secure long-term storage it is advisable to store antique items in an air tight polythene bag.


For dealers that specialise in silver click here

To browse examples of silver online click here

For advice on caring for antique Jewellery click here

For BADA recommended specialists in packing and shipping antiques and fine art click here