Causes of stains on silverware

Silver is a soft metal, so if you use high-purity silver products such as sterling silver, fine scratches may occur, dulling the shine.
100% silver is too soft to be processed and easily scratched, so most silver products are made with 92.5% pure sterling silver, 90% pure coin silver, and 80% pure continental silver.

In addition, silver products may become discolored when used for a long time.
It is also called oxidized silver, and some people like its taste, but after all, we want to keep the sparkle of silver for cutlery and accessories.
This darkening is not rust (oxidation). Silver is hard to oxidize and will not rust unless it is heated with a burner.

The main cause of blackening is sulfide, which reacts with sulfur .
If you put it in a hot spring with a lot of sulfur, it will turn black immediately.
Be sure to remove silver accessories when entering the hot springs.
On the other hand, there is also a method of processing "Ibushi silver" using a bath agent containing sulfur and hot water, but I will omit it here.
Even in daily life, it gradually turns black by reacting with sulfur contained in minute amounts in the air, sweat, water, etc.
However, the blackening caused by sulfurization can be easily removed by the method introduced later.

Another cause is chloride, which reacts with chlorine .
If you use it normally, it will hardly stick, but if you use chlorine bleach by mistake, it will stick.
Darkening due to chloride is much stronger than that of sulfide, so it is difficult to remove.
Do not use chlorine bleach on silverware.

daily care

If there is sebum or dirt on the silver product, it will react with the sulfur contained in it and turn black.
To remove these stains, wash with a neutral detergent and a soft sponge .
Never polish with cleanser, bleach, or a metal scrubber.
If you use a dishwasher, etc., the silver products will collide with each other and cause fine scratches, so it is better to wash by hand.
After washing, please dry thoroughly with a cloth.
For items that are difficult to wash with water such as cloth or leather, just wiping them with a cloth to remove dirt will make a big difference.

If you do not use it for a while, after removing the dirt, wrap it in a soft cloth such as a washcloth or thick kitchen paper, and put it in a highly airtight container such as a zip lock.
It is better to put a desiccant together.
The trick is to keep it out of contact with air and water as much as possible.

There may be fine threads or a little darkening while using it.
Light scratches and darkening can be cleaned by simply polishing with a cloth similar to scraps of sheets.
Please see the actual polishing in the video.

How to remove blackheads

Blackheads that are firmly attached cannot be removed simply by washing or polishing with a cloth.
In that case, we recommend using a special cleaner.

There are four main types of cleaners:

1. cross type
A fine abrasive is kneaded into a soft felt cloth.
This type is the easiest for small accessories.
They are also sold at 100-yen shops, but be sure to use the one for silverware.

2. cream type
Also known as a polish type, it is creamy and is applied to a cloth to polish.
It has a high polishing power, so it is recommended when you want to polish firmly.
I use Lucky Wood Silver Cleaner .

This is a video of actually polishing a sterling silver card case using a cream type cleaner.

3. liquid type
It is used for areas that are difficult to polish with a cloth, such as chains and embossed carvings.
Dirt can be removed by immersing it in a liquid agent to remove dirt from deeper areas.
Also, since it is not polished with abrasives, there is no need to worry about the plating coming off.
When polishing a large object, a considerable amount is required, so it is suitable for small items such as accessories.

4. spray type
The spray type is convenient when polishing large silverware such as tableware and ornaments.
Spray on a soft cloth to polish your silverware.
Some products contain anti-tarnishing agents that help prevent darkening.

He explained how to care for silverware on a daily basis and how to polish it with a cleaner.
Some people may have the impression that silver products darken quickly, but if you know how to take care of them on a daily basis and how to polish them when they become dark, you can easily restore their beautiful shine.

Special cleaners are quite expensive, so I hesitate to polish large objects, but there are other ways to polish such as hot water, baking soda, salt, and aluminum foil.
We will cover this in a separate article.