Is it OK to use silver cleaning dips?

lauraclemson Advice

In the fast paced world of yachting, lets face it, there often just isn’t enough time in the day, so it’s only sensible to try to use your time as efficiently as possible, so, out comes… a bottle of silver dip (Gasp!). Some love it, some say it’s THE worst thing for your silver… so who to believe? Well, my opinion is that there is a middle ground, as long as you use it correctly, it’s fine to use, and silver dips can be a quicker, easier way to de-tarnish your silver and are especially useful for heavily embossed or intricate pieces.

What is Tarnish:

Silver being a noble metal, is highly resistant to corrosion, but it can be tarnished by sulphides that are always present to some extent in the atmosphere and in many foods – eggs being the most potent. Tarnish consists of a superficial film of silver sulphide. Initially it is a light gold colour, but, with prolonged exposure to sulphides, it can develop into a blue-black discolouration.

To avoid the need for frequent cleaning, it is best to store silver in a box or drawer with anti-tarnish cloth, in a lesser-used room if possible. This limits exposure to sulphides.
To avoid tarnishing by food, rinse it off the cutlery as soon as possible.

Silver dip solutions convert the film of tarnish back to silver by removing the sulphide, without removing the silver, BUT can be damaging if used incorrectly.

The Rules of Using Silver Cleaning Dips:

Do not use dip solutions to remove very heavy tarnish as this causes a matt finish

Never leave silver in the dip solution for more than 10 seconds

Dip solutions can stain or etch the stainless steel knife blade. If contact occurs rinse off immediately

Do not use on a regular basis, silver dips are a ‘quick fix’ but they are harsh, so when possible, use alternative silver cleaner.

Take particular care when using on pieces which have a factory applied patina (the darker finish which adds an appearance of depth to patterns)

Note:

Only use silver cleaners sold specifically for silver, other products can damage or scratch the silver.
• Always apply the cleaner with a soft, freshly and thoroughly washed cloth or sponge. No toothbrushes!