using & caring for silver every day

Marian ParsonsAntiques, Cleaning & care

A couple of years ago, I decided I wasn’t going to keep my pretty things hidden in cabinets and drawers.  I was going to either use them or let them go.  Since I didn’t want to get rid of it, I decided I would use the silver pattern I inherited from my mom, Oma, and both great-grandmothers as our everyday flatware.

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There are moments when I cringe at how expensive each piece is, but then I remember that is all the more reason to use it.

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We use it just like any other flatware, but we do have two “rules”.

#1 – We wash it by hand most of the time.  

It can go in the dishwasher, but there is some debate as to whether that will affect the finish over time, so I would just rather be safe.  We have other things we hand-wash, like our pots, pans, sharp knives, etc., so it’s not a big deal to wash the flatware, too.  It does go in the dishwasher sometimes, but I think it’s what we do most of the time that matters.

#2 – We don’t take them outside of the house.  

I eat on-the-go more than anyone else in the family, so this rule mostly applies to me.  I keep a stash of plastic forks and spoons to take with me, so one of our pieces of silver doesn’t inadvertently get left somewhere.  So, obviously, I don’t put the flatware in the boys’ packed lunches.

Because we use them every day, they don’t need to be polished very often.  They need a little touch-up maybe once a year.

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The fork tines seem to show the most tarnish.  For those, I use Goddard’s Silver Dip.

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This isn’t a sponsored post, but I can say that it’s the most magical silver cleaner for flatware that I’ve used.  I don’t know how it works on pieces that are really tarnished, but for some moderate discoloration, you just dip it in for a couple of seconds, lift it out, and it’s perfectly shiny.

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You can really see how discolored your flatware is when you put one that is polished against one that isn’t.

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Since it’s just a small container, I used it only for fork tines and spoons.  (Spoon heads?  Spoon bowls?  Not sure what that part of the spoon is called.)

For knives and large pieces, I use Goddard’s Silver Foam.  This takes a little more elbow grease, but it cleans pieces nicely and it doesn’t scratch the silver.

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I don’t love polishing silver, but as I said, I only need to do it about once a year, so it’s worth it to me.

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And, as I’m polishing, it reminds me of the women I inherited these pieces from.  My Oma, particularly.  She was not much of a housekeeper, but she loved polishing her silver.  My mom would laugh as she told me, “The entire house could be a mess, but Oma would sit there polishing the silver.”

As I always do with these posts, I want to encourage you to use “the good stuff” every day.  If you don’t have any family or wedding sterling or silver plate, find a pattern you like and start collecting it piece by piece from antique stores, eBay, Etsy, estate sales, etc.

Oh, and since I’m always asked, my pattern is Repousse by Kirk Stieff, but I also have some pieces of Chrysanthemum mixed in (like the ornate spoons photographed above.)

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Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

using & caring for silver every day

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