Tuesday, January 24, 2012

How to...polish silver

I  mentioned on Saturday that the MP was being cleaned.  The cleaning lady and her crew were phenomenal, and that evening I realized that my silver coffee and tea service looked awful in comparison (read more about where the service came from and why it's so special to me here).  I was on the phone with my mom and mentioned it to her, and she (quite logically) suggested I polish it. 

Now, I know you're probably thinking polishing silver isn't really a talent, and probably not worth a How-To post, either.  I thought so, too.  But the more I thought about it, the more I recalled blogposts I've read where people talk about finding old silver trays, bowls, pitchers, etc. at estate sales or in antique shops.  Even if you don't have silver as family heirlooms, you quite possibly have something old and tarnished that you've picked up in one of these places, or even at a yardsale (like my Revere Bowl).  Polishing can bring new life into your old silver objects, and makes it so much more enjoyable!

So I asked mom her advice on the best way to polish silver, and she gave me the following instructions.  (Far easier than I'd expected, and completely effective!)  First, gather the following:
  • Silver polish (I have Hagerty's)
  • A clean, soft cloth (I used a regular cotton washcloth)
  • A sink full of warm (not hot), soapy water
  • A clean, soft towel  (I used an all-purpose cotton kitchen towel from Williams-Sonoma because it dried better than a non-cotton towel)
  • Another towel to place dried silver on
Start with the cloth and bottle of silver polish.  Pour out a small amount onto your cloth and rub it all over your piece of silver.  I'd almost describe it as buffing, and the polish will turn a grey color (and depending on how tarnished your silver is, your cloth may turn black).  Once you've covered the piece in polish, take it over to the sink.  Wash the silver in the warm water and immediately dry it using that dishtowel.  Be careful to handle the clean silver carefully, as your fingerprints will show!  Place your piece on the second towel to finish drying.

Want to see what a difference you can make?

On the left is the freshly polished sugar bowl; on the right is the still-tarnished creamer.  Huge difference, right?  Altogether, it took me under an hour to polish all five pieces of the coffe and tea service, as well as my Revere Bowl.  Insanely quick and easy, but totally worth it!

I'm linking up with Beth's Tutorials & Tips party, because I figure there have got to be more young women like me who aren't quite sure how to polish up the tarnished silver they've found!  Head over for more great ideas--there are some great DIY Valentine's items popping up over there!!

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