60-Second Silver: Beware using quick-fix silver polishes


You just purchased a silver vase with one of those labels that leaves a sticky mess!

Next time, before peeling off the label, use a hair dryer to soften the adhesive. The label will probably come off cleanly, but if it leaves a sticky residue, wait for the piece to cool.

Try removing it with some Elmer’s Sticky Out, 91 percent isopropyl alcohol, or Goo Gone on a soft paper towel or cotton ball. Elmer’s Sticky Out is the safest alternative, health-wise. The other two should be used in a well ventilated area with nitrile gloves.

Any residue remaining after using any of the three cleaners should be removed with Windex Multi-Surface Cleaner with Vinegar. If a discolored spot remains where the adhesive had been, remove it with silver polish.

I have viewed numerous online videos demonstrating harmful silver polishing techniques. Some of these videos, produced by well-intentioned but ill-informed individuals, show the use of horribly abrasive products such as Nevr-Dull, toothpaste, or baking soda.

Some advocate the use of the toxic product Tarn-X, which will remove factory-applied patinas, and will actually promote the formation of tarnish.

The aluminum foil technique (in which the user is encouraged to soak silver in water containing baking soda and a piece of aluminum foil) allows tarnish to form quickly.

Also, many videos say that it’s okay to put silver in your dishwasher – that’s not true!

Please take time to read my Silver Care Guide online at http://hermansilver.com/care.htm. ?

Jeffrey Herman encourages anyone with silver-related questions that can’t be answered on his Web site hermansilver.com to contact him. He may be reached at 800-339-0417or jeff@hermansilver.com or at PO Box 786, West Warwick, RI 02893.

Jeffrey Herman started Herman Silver Restoration & Conservation in 1984, and has repaired and reconstructed everything from historically important tankards, tea services, and tureens to disposal-damaged flatware. Herman has worked at Gorham as a designer, sample maker, and technical illustrator and at Pilz Ltd., where he learned the fine art of restoration. Herman has a BFA degree in silversmithing and is the founder of the Society of American Silversmiths.



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Jeffrey Herman started Herman Silver Restoration & Conservation in 1984, and has repaired and reconstructed everything from historically important tankards, tea services, and tureens to disposal-damaged flatware.

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