Spring Cleaning your Silver Collection

Can you feel it in the air? It’s (almost) springtime! Blooming flowers, warming weather, and baseball are right around the corner.

For many of us, this also means it’s time for spring cleaning and pulling out those things in our home that could use a little attention. We’re looking at you, dishwasher, and, of course, our silver collection.

Our antique silver is a precious commodity, and without consistent, thorough care, it will simply not last. While we recommend that our clients clean their silver frequently, many don’t look again until the day before the next celebration.

Let’s change that up, friends! Spring = Shiny.

Many of our regulars take a day in March to look over their silver collection. They check the finish condition, if any knocks need fixing, or if a handle needs some repair.

This time allows us to preserve our valuable heirlooms, bring a forgotten piece back to life, and consider if we still want that certain something that’s been in the back of the cabinet for a couple of years. (Don’t throw it in the garbage can! Here’s how to dispose of the silver that you don’t want anymore.)

To make your life easier and honor the thing we all love most – antiques – we created a checklist for your silver spring cleaning:

#1. Look for any major damage

First things first, examine your antique silver for signs of serious damage.

Serious damage includes black spots, excessive tarnish, corrosion, or pieces that have broken handles, lids, embellishments, etc. Trust us — you’ll know when you see it. (Corrosion, for instance, can look like crystallized green or a very dark back. It’s undeniable!)

A lot of damage occurs when silver hasn’t been properly stored, like after the holidays. You may be dealing with the fallout from that. If you used plastic wrap on your silver to protect it, you’re going to need some help. (And, please don’t do this again.)

Make a “Go to Biro’s” pile. Call us with questions or bring it in. We’re happy to help.

#2: Clean and polish your antique silver

Breaking out a soft cloth or polishing gloves and giving your silver the once over isn’t as daunting as it sounds. But! It’s always good to clean and polish your silver throughout the year as you can.

Perhaps you gave your silver a thorough clean and polish after the holidays. Maybe you packed it away after a quick clean. Either way now is the time to take a look.

Follow this step-by-step guide on how to polish your silver.

If you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed, let us know. We can help.

Either way, use this time to get your pieces ready for spring and summer celebrations!

#3: Look around your house

Our experience goes beyond what you put on your table. For many years now, we’ve been working with many interior designers and contractors to fabricate and refinish hardware as part of home renovations or restorations.

We tend to forget about our home’s hardware — things like knobs, drawer pulls, kick plates, lights, bathroom, and kitchen fixtures — once it’s installed. But, those things need some love and attention as well, or else you’re sure to see discoloration and corrosion. Not so cute.

Here’s our most important tip when cleaning and polishing home hardware: never ever use tile cleaner on antique or nickel-plated hardware. The harsh compounds in tile cleaners will destroy those pieces. Instead, use Windex, a soft cloth, and a little elbow grease.

Oh, and don’t forget to clean the hardware on your furniture as well!

Ideally, you should do this every time you clean, but definitely during spring cleaning.

#4 Decide what silver you are keeping out for spring and protect it!

Having a lasting antique collection is as much about preservation as it is about using your antiques wisely!

One perfect example of this is using your silver to hold flowers. It brings us inexplicable joy to have our flowers displayed in silver trophies or champagne buckets. But, be careful.  The chemicals sprayed on flowers or in the packets of flower food you get from a florist can eat away at the silver-plating.

To be safe, line the bottom of your silver bucket or whatever you may be using to hold the flowers with a plastic bucket or bottle. If you don’t do this, your silver will turn green or even red. Yuck! No, thank you.

We hope you have as much fun spring cleaning as we do. Subscribe to our newsletter for more pro tips.