A silver-plated tea set will eventually tarnish from repeated exposure to body oils from handling as well as contact with sulphur compounds found in the air. Regular cleaning is the best way to avoid tarnish and stains on your tea service, but when they develop you can clean them with a few simple steps. While commercial products are available to remove tarnish and grime from your tea set, you can make your own cleaning solution with simple supplies from the hardware store.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Glass cleaner with vinegar
- Soft cloths
- 1/2 tsp precipitated calcium carbonate
- 1 tbsp rubbing alcohol
- Old toothbrush
- Dish detergent
Spray glass cleaner with vinegar on the pieces in your silver-plated tea set. Rub with a soft cloth to remove light tarnish. Mild tarnish can often be removed with this step; see below to treat heavier tarnish and stains.
Stir 1/2 tsp precipitated calcium carbonate and 1 tbsp rubbing alcohol together in a bowl. Dip a clean cloth into the thin paste and rub it on the surface of your tea set. This combination of ingredients safely removes serious tarnish from silver-plated items without damaging the surface.
Dip a soft toothbrush in the calcium carbonate paste and use it to clean hard-to-reach grooves and crevices on your tea set. Wipe the paste off with a cloth, or with the same toothbrush dipped in plain water.
Mix a couple drops of dish detergent and a cup of warm water in a bowl. Wash your tea set with the soapy solution to remove any remaining dirt and tarnish-removing paste.
Rinse your tea set with warm water, then dry thoroughly with a soft cloth.
Tips and warnings
- Use a special silver-cleaning cloth for regular cleaning of your tea set. This will help you avoid tarnish altogether.
- Once your tea set is clean and tarnish-free, store the pieces in plastic freezer zip bags to shield the silver plating from sulphur compounds found in the air.
- Never use abrasive cleaners or cleaning tools on silver-plated objects, as they can scratch the surface.
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