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 your items regularly with a soft brush. You can also gently rub with a soft cloth to remove fingerprints and light dirt.
Silver can be washed in hot soapy water. Afterwards always rinse clean in hot water. Once your silver is dry, buff gently with a soft cloth.
Avoid vigorous polishing with an abrasive cleaner. That will only damage your items and lessen their value.
Think carefully before deciding to remove tarnish from your silver. Retaining a degree of tarnish can add character and definition to a piece.
There are several solutions available for removing tarnish from antique silver. These include cream, foam and liquid polish treatments.
BADA recommend using a long-term silver polish. In addition to cleaning, this will leave a protective layer on the surface.
Try testing your product on the underside of an item to see if you like the results. If satisfied you can then apply to visible surfaces.
Be aware that modern silver dip treatments are abrasive. If used frequently they can permanently damage antique silver items.
Silver gilt can also be susceptible to tarnish. It is common for tarnish to build up on the surface through tiny weaknesses in the gilding.
It is important to exercise extreme care when cleaning sivler gilt. This is because thin layers of silver gilt can easily be polished away.
For best results seek advice from a BADA specialist. They 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.