60-Second Silver: Keep silver out of the dishwasher


Keep your silver out of the dishwasher! It’s that simple. There are four major reasons for keeping your prized sterling and silverplate out of the “chamber of doom”:

1) Any factory-applied oxidation (the black patina in recessed areas) will eventually be removed.

2) The harsh detergent, combined with the washer’s high cleaning temperature, is much too abrasive for silver – it will eventually turn the silver grey or white, with a dull, non-reflective surface.

3) Most older and some repaired hollow-handled knives are filled with pitch. This low-melting cement will expand with heat, possibly forcing open a thin solder seam, or exploding the knife blade out of the handle.

4) Silver that touches stainless in the dishwasher can create a chemical reaction, producing black spots or pitting on the stainless and possibly requiring the silver to be professionally refinished.

Sterling, like a fine automobile, must be handled with tender loving care. You certainly wouldn’t drive your Rolls Royce through a car wash, would you? ?

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.




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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. 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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