What every yacht stewardess should know about caring for luxury tableware

lauraclemson Advice

Do you have incomplete, damaged or discoloured tableware on board? Take a look at these useful tips on how best to prolong the life of your tableware, avoid any accidents or perhaps reverse some mishaps!

“Generally, I would always advise to wash your china, crystal and silverware by hand, using a mild dish soap, but when hand washing isn’t an option, or you’re fighting with the chef for time at the sink (and we all know who’s going to win that battle!), then most tableware can be put through the dishwasher provided the correct precautions are taken.”
*Always read care instructions from the manufacturer. As a rule, the older your tableware, the less likely it is to be dishwasher safe.

CHINA

Washing and Storage
If you choose to use the dishwasher..
• Use a GENTLE cycle on a low heat, and don’t regularly use detergents with lemon additives as the acid can wear the finish
• Stack dishes so that they are not touching each other, this stops pieces from damaging each other during the washing process.
• Don’t wash china next to aluminium utensils as this can create pencil-like stains if they rub together.
• To remove tarnish from platinum trim, VERY gently use a silver cleaner, and then wash off thoroughly. Be careful not rub too hard as the trim can be rubbed off!
• Buy china cushions or place a piece of flannel, a coffee filter, or a napkin between pieces.
• Be careful not to ‘slide’ pieces on top of one another
Hairline Crack Repair
• Cover the effected area with milk and bring to a simmer for an hour, then leave it to sit in the milk until cool. Milk contains a protein called casein, which when heated forms a sort of natural plastic ‘glue’ which seeps into any cracks
Removing Stains
• Mix 50/50 table salt and household vinegar. Allow to soak for a few minutes before washing.
• Rinse the china with vinegar. Mix a paste of baking soda and water, apply to stain and gently rub. Wash.

CRYSTAL

Washing and Storage
• Hand wash using mild dish soap, in lukewarm water. Less detergent is best as it can cause residue. Do not use abrasive cloths
• Add vinegar to the rinse water to keep brilliant and spot free
• Don’t store upside down as this puts pressure on the delicate rim.
• Washing crystal in the dishwasher is a bit of a dark art! If you don’t wash hot enough, you can be left with a food residue film as the water doesn’t melt residual fats. Too hot and you can cause permanent etching (cloudiness).. If you don’t use enough detergent, then you can also be left with a hard water or food protein residue, too much detergent can too cause etching. So my advice is to use minimal detergent, at a low heat, and at least if any cloudiness occurs it can be removed (detailed below)
Clouding
There are two main types of cloudiness. The first is caused by a build-up or film on the glass, and the second is etching or leaching out of metal ions from the glass. The former is removable, the latter, only removable by a professional chemical process.
• Soak a glass in vinegar for 5 minutes, then rinse thoroughly. If the glass is no longer cloudy then you have hard water and should try using a little more detergent in the dishwasher which softens the water (be careful not too add too much though, as when water is too soft, it can cause etching)
Chips
• Small chips can be ‘filed out’, so there’s hope that these pieces can be saved!

SILVERWARE

Washing and Storage
• Whether washing by hand or by dishwasher, do not leave food sitting on your silverware as this can permanently stain/damage it. (so rinse if washing in dishwasher)
• Keep stainless well away from your silver as it can scratch it
• Use a small amount of detergent that doesn’t have lemon or citrus additives
• KNIVES. If your silverware is old, do not wash knives in the dishwasher. Knives are made of two separate pieces, the blade, and the handle, and the heat from your dishwasher can melt the resin between the two
Yellowing Silverware
• Yellowing is often caused by using too much detergent when washing. Remove the yellowing using a silver polish, and don’t use so much detergent in future!
Scratched or Damaged Silverware
• If your silverware is scratched or damaged, the only thing that you can do is try to gently polish out any marks using a silver polish like ‘Goddards’. Never use anything too abrasive and treat you silverware gently.
If this doesn’t work then your silver needs an industrial polish or re-plating.
• If you have sterling (solid) silver, then these pieces can undergo an industrial polish, which will bring it back to an ‘as new’ condition. (This is a process that can also be carried out on stainless steel pieces)
*A word of warning that you must make sure that whomever is carrying out your industrial silver polish, will also polish the knife blades. Some companies don’t do this, so you are left with beautifully shining silverware, with scratched blades!
• If you have plated silverware which is scratched or the plating rubbing thin, then these can be re-plated, which again will bring your silverware back to an ‘as new’ condition.

We hope you have found this guide useful? But we know there is more advice that can be added to this list, so If you have any tips, experiences, or personal horror stories you think your fellow stews would like to hear, please send via the ‘contact’ tab at the top of and we’ll add them to our next ‘Tableware Tips and Tricks’ release.

For tableware that is beyond repair and needs replacing or professional repair, get in touch. We work with over 100 luxury brands, produce bespoke pieces and carry out repairs and re-plating on your silverware.