Sheffield Cutlery Flatware & Gifts


Caring For Your Cutlery / Flatware

There are a number of do's and dont's when it comes to looking after your cutlery. The following is not an exhaustive set of recommendations, but we will try to assist you to avoid some of the pitfalls.

Stainless Steel

The highest quality of stainless steel cutlery is 18/10, meaning it contains 18% chrome for durability and protection against corrosion, and 10% nickel for lustre and resistance to high temperatures. All of the Stainless Steel cutlery that we supply is 18/10.

All Arthur Price stainless steel cutlery is dishwasher safe. Be sure to follow the manufacturers' instructions and see below for more details about dishwasher useage. Avoid mixing stainless steel cutlery with silver/silver plated cutlery in the dishwasher basket as this will corrode the steel. Take special care with knives - the higher percentage of chrome makes them more prone to corrosion.

silver plate cutlery

Silver-Plated Cutlery

A silver coating is applied to cutlery made from a mixture of copper, zinc and nickel. Both silver-plated and sterling silver cutlery are corrosion-resistant, but can be tarnished by sulphides in the atmosphere and in certain foods, such as eggs.

Cleaning Silver Plated Cutlery

See our page on Caring For Silver Plated / Silver Items.

Silver Plated Cutlery

Silver Cutlery

Argentum Silver is a soft metal, which scratches easily but with proper care, over time develops a beautiful sheen ("Patina") the name for a warm tone in appearance.
You will want to try to avoid your silver tarnishing.
The first step is to avoid excessive tarnish build-up in the first place. This makes occasional cleaning easier.

Cleaning Silver/Silver-Plated Cutlery

Dishwasher Use

We advise against the use of dishwashers for any cutlery. No material is truly stainless and it is easy to spoil the conditionand appearance of cutlery, particularly silver/silverplated cutlery, by inappropriate use of dishwashers and/or detergents.

Here's a reader's letter taken from The Times that goes some way to explaining how things can go wrong if dishwashers are used, and how it's not always a fault with the cutlery itself:

Q: How can I remove the blue tarnish from stainless steel cutlery? I've reduced the rinse aid setting in the dishwasher, which helped a little. The cutlery manufacturer said to use a stainless steel cleaner, but the bloom persists.
A: Sounds like "detergent bloom", caused by a build-up of dried-on detergent. The likely cause is your dishwasher not rinsing properly, rather than the detergent. The same can happen if you overdose with rinse aid. So keep tweaking to see if it improves; if not, get an engineer to check the machine.
I'm surprised the stainless steel cleaners haven't worked. Try soaking the cutlery in vinegar for 5-10 minutes, then rinsing. Do the same with crockery and glasses as these will be affected as well; it's just not as visible on white ceramic, while glassware goes all colours, eventually turning white, before you are likely to notice.


Polishing

Excessive polishing of silver can wear down the finish, so take care not to over-do it.
With plastic gloves rather than rubber, place the pieces onto a work surface with a towel underneath. Use a soft cotton cloth and non-abrasive silver cleaner or polish. Some people prefer foams and liquids as they are easier to work with compared with pastes. Apply the polish in a circular motion. If you have intricate areas on the piece, use a swab to apply. You need to be sure that all of the polish is removed when you have finished. Once the items look clean and shiny, cease polishing even if you are still seeing dark residue on your cloth. The items should be washed again after polishing.
We do have access to a Re-Polishing Service.


Silver Dip

Silver dip is a tricky substance to work with and can ruin your cutlery if you do not follow the makers' instructions precisely. For example, do not allow the dip to spill onto steel surfaces (this includes blades of "silver" knives which are stainless steel) or, say, onto your sink's draining board.
You should check with the suppliers for advice as to how best to use silver dip. See our FAQ on the subject of using a Silver Dip.

Silver Plated Cutlery

Storage

Sterling Silver Cutlery

After your pieces are clean and completely dry, wrap each item individually in acid-free buffered tissue, or washed cotton, linen, or polyester to store. Wrapping pieces in specially made bags or silver cloths (rolls) designed to deter tarnish make good storage choices as well.
The rolls can be tied up before putting them away, ideally in a non-humid location.

Cloth Rolls are impregnated to help your silver cutlery stay brighter for longer. Or, make use of a Canteen which will help to maintain a safer more air-tight environment for the cutlery.

Do not use wool, felt, chamois leather or newspaper, which can cause excessive tarnishing that will be difficult to clean, or even worse, remove plating.

Displaying Cutlery

If you are displaying your silver pieces, be sure to avoid unvarnished wooden shelves as they can emit harmful vapors. Avoid displaying or storing silver near cotton felt, wool or velvet.
If possible, avoid direct sunlight as this can accelerate the progression of the unattractive film, so place the display case away from sunny windows for best results.
Many experts recommend that the best way to keep silver cutlery looking good, is to use it frequently. This will help to develop the patina.

If these steps are followed you can look forward to many years of good service from your cutlery.