Q: I would like your advice on a metal polish I saw advertised in the paper, which I’m considering using on my silver plate. I have tried other products that were highly touted in advertising, only to be disappointed in their performance. This one claims it will clean and restore my silverware, metal sink, pots and pans, and keep them shining!
— Jean Brown
A: Jeffrey Herman, executive director of the Society of American Silversmiths, advises against using any product to clean or polish silver that has “metal polish” in its name.
Products that are too harsh or abrasive can damage silver and especially silver plate, which is just a thin coating of silver over another metal. Particularly harsh are silver dips and electrochemical methods, including home remedies using aluminum foil and baking soda.
Herman rates silver polishes and provides silver-care advice on his website, www.hermansilver.com.
Probably your best bet is to polish your silver-plated items using the mildest product that will work and then store them with anti-tarnish strips or packets of silica gel.
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