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How to Clean and Protect Silver

A 3 step care method for keeping your silver shining bright - based upon 125 years of experience!

If you are reading this article then the chances are you have discovered tarnish forming on one of your treasured silver items. This can certainly cause a shock the first time it happens!

In this guide we look at the most common concerns we have come across, and share our 3 step care method for keeping your silver looking as beautiful as the day you bought it.

What is tarnish?

Tarnish is the discolouration of silver that occurs naturally over time as the metal reacts with elements in the air to form a new compound on the surface. Left uncared for, silver will eventually turn quite black!

Tarnishing is a natural process so can't be stopped completely, however there are methods to remove tarnish and some ways to help slow the formation of tarnish on your silver.

How to remove tarnish from Silver

The following 3 step care system will keep your silver shining beautifully with the minimum effort:

  1. Clean off the dirt and tarnish;
  2. Polish your items to a shine
  3. Protect your items from knocks, scratches and tarnish. Here is a breakdown of each step for you to follow.

Step 1: Clean

First, clean your silver using a specialist product to safely remove any built up dirt and tarnish. For a deep clean, liquid polishes and cleaners are most effective.

The Town Talk range of silver polishes and cleaners are formulated and manufactured to the highest standards. All of our products are manufactured in the UK, and we are honoured to have been bestowed with a Royal Warrant for our silver polishes and cleaners. You can see the full range here.

Step 2: Polish

Once you have cleaned your items, the next step is to buff your silver to a shining finish. If your silver is only lightly tarnished, then a Silver Polishing Cloth alone could be sufficient to bring back the sparkle to your items. For medium to heavy tarnish choose our Silver Polish which also provides the most anti-tarnish protection of all our products. Try it out and see for yourself!

Did you know?

Town Talk Silver Polishing Cloths create an invisible ‘shield’ on the surface of your silver, helping to prevent the formation of tarnish for longer.

Original Havemeyer Trophy from the US Open stored in a custom Town Talk Storage Bag

Original Havemeyer Trophy from the US Open stored in a custom Town Talk Storage Bag

Step 3: Protect

Once your silver is shining bright, how you store it will play a large part in determining how long it stays that way. We recommend storing silver items in a cotton bag or pouch whilst not in use. The Town Talk range of Silver Storage bags and Jewellery Pouches are impregnated with an anti-tarnish formula to protect your silver. It works to prevent your silver items from tarnishing for longer by removing tarnish forming compounds from the atmosphere. Using cotton storage bags also serves to protect your silver from knocks and scratches whilst out of use.

Silver Care FAQs

Here are some of the questions we get asked most frequently about cleaning silver.

My silver is almost black what should I use to clean it?

Clean your silver with Town Talk Silver Polish, Spray Silver Polish or Silver Foam; they all work wonders on heavily tarnished silver. For smaller items try our Silver Polish Tissues.

How abrasive are Town Talk silver polishes? Will I damage the silver if I polish it too often?

Town Talk has over 120 years of experience when it comes to selecting just the right level of very fine abrasives for its silver polishes. The abrasives work almost invisibly but are sufficiently abrasive to cut through tarnish and grime and then polish your silver to a glowing brilliance.

Town Talk has refined each product to select abrasive properties that most closely meet the needs of the metal being cleaned. For example, silver and gold don’t require the same hard abrasives needed for stainless steel, or the slightly finer abrasive used on brass.

As long as the product is being used as directed, no damage will be caused to your silver items.

What do anti-tarnish protectors do?

Anti-tarnish protectors are one of the most important ingredients in Town Talk silver polish products. Our unique anti-tarnish ingredient bonds to silver and forms an invisible shield on its surface, protecting it from tarnish-forming substances. This protective layer means that your silver will last much longer before it tarnishes, so by using Town Talk products you will find you need to clean your silver less frequently.

Can I use silver cleaners on silver plated items?

Silverware companies of repute use advanced silver-plating technology to ensure a finish that’s both beautiful and highly durable. The chance of removing all silver from one of these companies’ goods through over polishing is highly unlikely.

On the other hand, very lightly plated, cheaply manufactured silverware has the potential for being affected by the use of any brand of silver care product.

We always recommend you check the manufacturer’s guidance on the use of silver polish on silver plated products, and if in doubt still, test on an inconspicuous area before use.