sort of kitchen related: sterling flatware & dark spots

kateskourosMarch 10, 2013

the last time i used my sterling flatware i kept the service out with the dishes, in the sink until after the guests had left for the evening. by the time i got to them, small black spots had developed on some of the pieces. no amount of rubbing would remove them. i later found that a simple paste of baking soda and water would do the trick, BUT what is the best way to "hold over" sterling silver before cleaning, so this doesn't happen again?

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Were the spots mainly on the fork tines? Egg yolks will cause spots as will vinegar, mustard & other acidic foods, although I think of egg when I see spotted silver. Wiping off food residue with a paper towel until you can wash should help. I've never tried the baking soda paste but usually silver polish & elbow grease will take care of the problem.

Also, I don't leave my flatware in the sink while it's waiting - too damp & too much chance it will be pushed into the garbage disposal or have something heavy set on it.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2013 at 7:33PM
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Was it touching any other metal utensils or implements?

    Bookmark   March 10, 2013 at 7:47PM
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Yes, I've had that problem with salad dressing. If I get my act together, I rinse the utensils off before loading in the dishwasher (I don't put the hollow-handled knives in, however). If they get the black spots, silver polish and a LOT of elbow grease works, as antique said. I'll have to try baking soda next time, though -- much cheaper!

    Bookmark   March 10, 2013 at 8:57PM
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Just slide the flatware into a glass bowl or pyrex loaf pan of warm water with small amount of dishsoap while you finish the meal. If you have hollow handled knives, rinse those blades quickly and set them some place out of the water. it won't hurt the solid sterling pieces (forks, spoons, butter knives, etc.) to soak. Don't combine non-sterling items with the sterling while soaking.

You're lucky you got the black spots off so easily, sometimes vinegar or salt or eggs left on will create really deep marks that require professional polishing to get off.

I only use sterling flatware for every meal, every day and I often soak it if I have to leave it in a hurry before I have time to wash up.


    Bookmark   March 10, 2013 at 8:58PM
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Be careful, too, when loading the dishwasher if you put in your sterling. If it loads where it is touching other metals such as your stainless flatware, then it will leave those same black marks where they were touching during the cycle. It's tricky with the knives where the handles are sterling and the blades are stainless.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2013 at 10:45PM
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What liriodendron said, especially about the Pyrex loaf pan. That is exactly what I do! I don't put sterling in the dishwasher, although many here do. I use Hagerty's Foam on spots.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2013 at 5:26PM
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I keep a little crock full of soapy water beside the sink, and the sterling (and only the sterling) goes in there as soon as it's used. Pieces that have had salt, egg or vinegar on them get wiped with the dish cloth first.
And as everyone else said, keep the sterling and the steel far apart in your dishwasher! That includes exposed steel in the dishwasher interior itself, when the rubber coating wears off.

Oh, and something I just learned is that dishwasher soap with lemon in it isn't safe for your silver. Makes sense, since lemon itself isn't safe, but I wouldn't have figured it out on my own.


    Bookmark   March 20, 2013 at 1:28AM
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I don't know if you use your silver for everyday use, but if you keep stored away for special occasions put pieces of chalk, ordinary chalkboard chalk in the silver drawer, to keep it from tarnishing. It really works! Any acid, tomatoes, lemon, vinegar or very fatty foods like egg yolk, mayo, etc.. can leave dark spots.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2013 at 3:45AM
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deleted duplicate post

This post was edited by stacieann63 on Wed, Mar 20, 13 at 3:49

    Bookmark   March 20, 2013 at 3:46AM
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Well, my mother has always told me to wash ALL the sterling on the table, regardless of whether it has been used or not, as salt from people's hands can cause pitting. I also put my sterling in warm, soapy water to soak until it's time to wash.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2013 at 11:26AM
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