Elegant and functional, a sterling silver tea set is a great investment and beautiful addition to any home. A sterling silver tea service lasts for years and can be treasured across generations.
If you want to buy or already own a tea set, you need to be prepared to clean and care for it on a regular basis. Fortunately, following a few simple steps will make things easy and keep your tea set in tip-top condition.
The best way to keep your silver tea set from getting too tarnished is to use it frequently. In fact, if used frequently and cleaned properly, older silver often looks better than new silver.
Polishing your silver tea set is a necessity if you want to keep it looking its absolute best. You should polish your tea set at least once a year, but you may need to do it more frequently if you use it a lot.
You'll know when it is time to polish when your silver starts to turn light gold or brown in color or looks tarnished.
Silver polishing requires a soft cloth and silver polish. The brand of silver polish doesn’t matter and some people even make their own. No matter what brand of silver polish you use, you need to make sure it is polish specifically for silver and not just general polish.
Silver polish is made specifically for silver and is the safest and most effective way to polish your tea set. If your tea set has intricate designs or hard to reach nooks and crannies, you can use a cotton swab dipped in silver polish to polish those areas.
Use water to rinse your silver tea set after every use, but be very careful to wipe all of it off. Leaving water on silver for too long may cause spotting. The less time your tea set is wet, the better it will look.
However, you will need to briefly rinse your tea set in water if it comes in contact with certain foods with corrosive elements, such as citrus fruits or dressings containing vinegar.
Silver coffee and tea sets need to be stored away from air or excessive heat if possible. The ideal storage area for your tea set is an airtight drawer or chest.
In fact, many silver hot beverage sets come with airtight containers for storage. Before storing your tea set you need to polish it and then wrap it in felt, acid-free tissue paper, or cotton in order to delay corrosion and tarnish.
Materials to Avoid
If you want to keep your silver in great shape, you will need to keep it away from other metals, such as aluminum and stainless steel. Other metals may cause a reaction, which could damage the tea set.
You should also avoid using anything abrasive, like bristles, rough sponges, or anything with harsh chemicals.
When cleaning your tea set, your fingerprints will contribute to further tarnishing of the silver. The best way to avoid this is to invest in some cotton gloves so that you can clean your tea set without making the tarnishing worse.
If the tarnish on your tea set is so bad that you cannot clean it on your own, you may need to take the tea set to a professional to get it cleaned. Professionals who clean silver are called silversmiths.
This is much more expensive than cleaning your tea set at home, but will most likely save you a lot of time and may be the only way to get your silver clean if it is in bad shape. Make sure to look around for a reputable business and ask plenty of questions about how they plan to clean your silver tea set so you can be sure they are trustworthy and knowledgeable.
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