How to Polish Silver Plated Items

How to Polish Silver Plated Items

Silver plated items, such as silver plated presentation cups, are a special kind of beauty. They can make your home look different and make you feel special. However, like any object, they tend to lose their shine, and without proper care, they can be damaged and look dirty.

These objects that add a touch of class to your house can lose their luster over time. They begin to gain tarnish and dirt, significantly damaging their superior look. Because of their delicate decor, it’s hard to clean them, as it’s easy to damage them if you are not careful enough.

To successfully clean silver plated items, you need to be gentle and know what to use to properly polish them. So, the following guide is meant to help you safely polish silver plated items, which accumulate dirt over time.

Why does silver tarnish over time?

Usually, silver tends to tarnish because of oxidation. However, it doesn’t tarnish because of the oxygen exposure. It happens because there is hydrogen sulphide in the air, or in the objects that come in contact with the silver. This is what causes tarnish to develop and harm the aspect of your silver plated items.

So, the sulphur and moisture in the air are the main causes why your precious silver plated presentation cups can tarnish. Moreover, if you live in an area where the air is more polluted and humid, expect the items to tarnish quite fast. Even certain chemicals can make it happen, like deodorant, bleach, body lotion, perfume, hairspray, and others. They are not friends of silver, so keep them away from it.

Whereas rust is more harmful, tarnish only affects the top few layers of the item that protect the metal. This may offer some kind of relief. However, it’s not looking very nice either. It harms items with thin silver layers more, so don’t immediately think of tarnish as a friendlier version of rust. It can be a nuisance as well.

How to regularly clean silver plated items?

Although tarnish doesn’t happen overnight, silver plated presentation cups should still undergo some cleaning, as they accumulate dirt. So, grab some gloves, a sponge or soft cloth and acid-free liquid soap, and follow the next instructions.

First of all, you need to make sure that the item is sealed with a clear-protective coating. Press the tip of your fingernail into an area of the object that is not so easy to notice. If you see a small mark left by it, it means that the item is lacquered. If you don’t see anything, it means it’s non-lacquered.

Put it in the sink and clean them with warm or hot water. Add a half teaspoon of liquid dish soap to the water and stir with the gloved hand until it dissolves. Leave the item for 3-5 minutes in the sink, then remove it and place it on a clean surface.

While it’s still wet, rub it with the soft cloth or sponge to clean the loosened dirt. Rinse it under warm water to wash the debris, and rub it with a soft cloth again. 

How to polish silver plated presentation cups?

After you make sure that you properly clean the items, you should polish them. This restores their beautiful shine and they look new again. So, in order to polish them, you need gloves, soft cloth, silver polish, anti-tarnish fabric lining and silver storage bag. Another thing you need is plain water.

Put on the gloves and squeeze a silver polish dot on a soft dry cloth. Make sure that you gently rub it over the item’s entire surface, and you do it in circular motions. Rinse it under warm water under the tap. This ensures that you remove any excess polish. Use a clean soft cloth to dry the item, as letting it dry can lead to water marks, and you certainly don’t want that.

The next step would be storing the silver plated items in anti-tarnish silver storage bags. They could also be stored in drawers with anti-tarnish fabric lining. This helps absorb the sulphur present in the air. As a result, the chemical reaction that makes your items tarnish is prevented, so you don’t have to worry. Your objects are going to be safe.

Is there any way to protect the silver plated presentation cups against tarnish?

With some proper care, silver-plated items can be protected from tarnish.

A first step in protecting them would be keeping them away from moisture. They need to be dry. So, if you buy a new pair of shoes and notice those small capsules or sachets that come with them, don’t throw them away. They are meant to absorb moisture and protect items. Therefore, make sure to put them where you keep your silver plated items. Replace them regularly, and they will protect your objects from tarnish.

Chalk can also absorb moisture. So, you can use one or two sticks with your silver, and you won’t have to worry about moisture anymore.

Another thing you should do is pay attention to the materials that come in contact with the silver plated items. Some substances or materials can significantly damage the objects and make them accumulate tarnish.

For instance, make sure that your items don’t come in contact with an acid. Also, do not use any wool cloth to clean them. Wool causes chemical reactions. Soft cotton would be a better option.

Also, ensure that the object is not wrapped in latex or rubber. Apparently, these materials can react badly in contact with silver, and eat the metal away. Moreover, don’t store any silver-plated item with metals like aluminium or stainless steel.


Silver plated items require care and proper cleaning if you don’t want to see any trace of tarnish on them. To efficiently keep their luster, they have to be regularly cleaned and polished. You should also keep them in a safe place, and not let them come in contact with anything that causes chemical reactions. So, hopefully, this guide will help you take better care of your silver plated presentation cups and other similar objects.