Why does silver knife cutlery fade so quickly? You may be surprised to know that silver knife-cutlery does not degrade in quality as quickly as stainless steel cutlery. This is because silver is not as hard a metal as stainless steel, making it far more durable when exposed to elements such as salt water. The same hardy qualities are also responsible for the fact that silver blade knives retain their brightness for much longer than similar quality stainless steel cutlery. In addition, silver knives also do not rust or discolor.
So why does silver cutlery become slightly darker over time? The most common reason is a simple chemical reaction between silver and sulphur. When it comes to silver utensils, manufacturers attempt to counteract the effect of this chemical reaction by placing a thin layer of silver compounds on the items. These silver compounds can help to neutralise the sulphur which forms during normal use. Unfortunately, over time the coating begins to peel off, exposing the bright silver underneath.
You may be one of the many people who have tried to clean silver cutlery with just baking soda and water. While it may have provided some cleaning action on the surface of the utensil, the bright silver was soon covered with a funny looking film which often made it look as if it had been left in a bottle for months. This was caused by the fact that baking soda and water are both soft chemicals which are far from being gentle on silver items.
If you are going to attempt to clean silver items yourself, there are a few different ways to approach the job. For example, one of the least messy methods involves placing a layer of baking soda on the surface of the item before gently rubbing a piece of aluminium foil over it. By using a cotton tip dipped into the solution (1 cup baking soda to about a quarter of a cup of warm water) you can easily buff the foil to the surface of the item. Before leaving it to dry, ensure that the piece of foil is turned away from you so that the baking soda will not be absorbed into the item.
Another method that is widely used to restore tarnished cutlery is to place it in a bowl and soak it in a sink full of warm water. Once the piece has soaked for around twenty minutes, place a piece of soft cloth over it and gently rub the silver. Do this until the silver is restored to a soft and shiny state, and then leave to dry in a bowl.
One of the most popular methods of cleaning silver is to make a solution using a teaspoon of salt and a half-liter of distilled water. This solution can then be applied to an item, left to soak for around fifteen minutes, and left to dry. After the material has dried, it can then be cleaned with a cotton piece dipped into the cleaner and buffed until the tarnish is removed. Once again, do not leave the solution on the item longer than necessary, as the salt content in the solution can be too powerful for some materials.
In order to remove more deeply staining taint on silver cutlery, a solution made from one part vinegar and two parts water is often recommended. This mixture can be applied to the utensils using a soft cloth, and left to soak for around fifteen minutes. Once the material has completely dried, the utensil can then be rinsed with clean water. Do not rinse vigorously as silver is porous and salt residue will likely be left behind.
Cleaning stainless steel cutlery is fairly straightforward, but it does need to be done regularly in order to prevent tarnish build-up and corrosion. A little natural cleaning solutions can go a long way toward keeping cutlery looking new. For more severe discolorations or stains, it is best to use a professional metal polishing product. Although many of the commercially available products are often as effective as or better than their home-remedies, they can be rather expensive and often do not adhere well to utensils made from different metals, such as stainless steel.