60-Second Silver: Ammonia removes salt corrosion


One way to avoid this problem of crusty corrosion marks on and in your salt shaker from the very start is to empty the shaker after a dinner party and thoroughly wash it. There is a simple way to remove the corrosion yourself.

Do this in a well-ventilated area and with nitrile gloves since you will be using ammonia. (Silver dips will not perform as well as ammonia.) If you are removing corrosion from a salt shaker, pour ammonia into a container, place the shaker inside, and cover the container. Let it sit for ten minutes, then remove from the container and inspect. If the black corrosion spots remain, place the shaker back in and let stand for another 10 minutes. If it is not clean in 30 minutes, call a professional.

You may notice a graying of the silver. If this occurs, use Hagerty’s Silversmiths’ Wash, which is more abrasive than Tarni-Shield, Twinkle, Blitz, Weiman, Goddard’s, and Wright’s polishes. Apply a generous amount of Hagerty’s Silversmiths’ Wash on a damp sponge to bring back the surface in and out of the shaker. If you need more abrasive, try a small amount of Bon Ami cleanser on a wet sponge. Use Bon Ami under trickling water – this way the abrasives are dissipated.

After the corrosion has been removed, use a rouge cloth to bring back the silver’s luster, then use Tarni-Shield Silver Polish, Twinkle Silver Polish, Blitz Silver Care Polish, Weiman Silver Polish, Goddard’s Long Shine Silver Polish, or Wright’s Anti-Tarnish Silver Polish on the exterior. ?

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.

Read more of Jeffrey Herman’s 60-Second Silver columns.



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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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