What NOT to do with your Silver after the Holidays

Truth time? We’re sad the holidays are over. Maybe even a little depressed. We’re going to miss the décor, the tree, the lights, and even the gingerbread cookies. Plus, as we put away the silver, we started to think about holidays past and big family gatherings.

One way we avoid the post-holiday blues is to leave our silver out all year long. Yes, we do. It brings a little something special to every room.

If you’re one of those folks that put your silver into hibernation until the next holiday, we have some ideas of what NOT to do.

Mistake #1: Leaving salt in your salt shakers or salt cellar bowls

This is a classic.

We get it, you’re tired, and the January blues are setting in. What’s the harm of a little bit of salt in the shaker, you think.

A LOT of harm, it turns out.

“Every little grain of salt chews away at the silver plating on your shakers,” Rick says. “Even if you put something away that had salt spilled on it without cleaning it properly, it’s going to be damaged. We can’t emphasize enough how costly it is not to clean off every single granule.”

You heard what the man said: Every. Single. Granule. Your future self will thank you.

Mistake #2. Putting silver in the dishwasher

This one happens to the best of us, especially when we want to enjoy some time with our family before cleaning up.

Trust us — it’s not worth it.

The dishwasher can destroy flatware, dishes, bowls, anything! Dishwasher detergent is not your friend — it contains bleach, which can make your silver spotty and even turn it a slightly yellow tint. Yuck!

Listen, it’s not the end of the world if you throw your silver flatware into the dishwasher once in a while, IF you give each piece a hand polish afterward.

Some manufacturers say their flatware can go into the dishwasher if you use the right detergent, but we’re old-school to wash it by hand, people. Some warm soapy water, rinse, and dry. Simple enough, right?

By doing this, you’re adding years to your piece’s longevity. Years!

Mistake #3. Putting away your silver without protective wrapping

Just like you want to be wrapped up cozy and cry yourself to sleep after the holidays (or is that just us?), your silver needs to be wrapped up too.

We love flannel bags — shameless promotion: we purchase fabric that’s pretreated to resist tarnish and then sew up bags in various sizes —because they keep our pieces safe from dust and resist tarnishing.

Store your flatware in the chest or in a flannel flatware bag that can fit up to 12 pieces and rolls up quite nicely. We sell those, too. Okay, we’ll leave it alone now.

Mistake #4: Picking the wax out of your candelabras with a knife 

Stop! Do not pass go. Do not collect $200. Put the knife down and slowly back away!

Too much? Maybe.

Be gentle with your candelabras when removing wax.

Instead of digging into the nooks, put the candelabra in the freezer for a bit to make the wax cold. Then, grab a popsicle stick (bonus popsicle for you!) and gently pry the wax free. A little nail polish remover can help in a pinch.

Just be careful! Don’t dent those beauties or cause any damage.

“We get a lot of menorahs in after the holidays,” says Martin, “and they’re in pretty bad shape. Our method here, which we don’t recommend at home, is warming it up with a torch and then rubbing the menorah with a rag while the wax is warm. Again, please don’t do this at home!”

If it’s all too much or you’re worried about damaging your antique candelabras, candlestick holders, or menorahs, we’re happy to help. Call us.

Mistake #5: Getting your silver mixed up with the likes of the garbage disposal.

Odds are your silver just went through a rough night, bouncing from table to plate to mouth to the floor (it happens) to table to plate… You get it. Then it gets stacked in the kitchen and your well-meaning guest (or the partner you’d spent day and night with for the past nine months) starts to help with the dishes.

From the other room, you hear the whirl of the garbage disposal and then the ping-pang-growl of a spoon being destroyed. Yikes! We know this because we just finished repairing 14 spoons that met this same fate. Fourteen! We didn’t ask how that happened.

Anyway. Paraphrasing the old saying, count your forks before you hit the garbage disposal switch. Maybe that’s not an old saying, but it’s a good idea!

Beyond those common mistakes, it’s possible your favorite antique silver got some bumps and bruises over the holidays. It happens. We repair our fair share of things in the early days of January.

Don’t feel too bad if you’ve goofed up. We all do it. We can help you fix anything that’s not looking its best.

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