Jeffrey Herman Newsletter

The Modern Butlers’ Journal, October 2018, Consulting the Silver Expert

Consulting the Silver Expert

by Jeff Herman


3M & Intercept Anti-Tarnish Strips ©

3M Anti-Tarnish Strips can be used to absorb tarnish-producing gases. The strips are made from a 45-lb. paper containing activated charcoal. They guard against corrosion, tarnish, and discoloration by absorbing airborne pollutants. These strips can also be used to protect objects containing copper, brass, solder, gold, and tin. 3M strips absorb on both sides.


Intercept Anti-Tarnish Strips, on the other hand, consist of a polymer matrix with copper bound in its structure. The effective surface area of copper available for reactions is twice the size of the polymer strip. The chemical reactions that take place with Intercept and corrosive gases permanently convert them into non-reactive compounds in the polymer and purify the enclosed environment. Intercept creates a neutralized atmosphere that protects all materials enclosed with it against corrosion and aging. Moisture that migrates through the packaging material will also be cleaned of corrosive elements. Intercept reacts with corrosive gases in less than an hour. The strips, which protect on both sides, should be placed near the objects to be protected.

Each 3M and Intercept 2″x7″ strip will protect an area up to 424 cubic inches, the approximate size of a flatware chest. Protection time depends on the nature and permeability of the storage container and on the pollution level of the surrounding atmosphere. The following guidelines apply to an average atmosphere:

  • 6 months for a loosely sealed container (e.g., cardboard box, china cabinet, or flatware chest);
  • 12 months for a moderately sealed container (e.g., lightweight polyethylene bag);
  • Up to 24 months for a tightly sealed container (e.g., low-permeability polyethylene bag).

The strips should be replaced in a timely fashion because once they are fully saturated with pollutants, the strips will become inactive.

Although both of these products work well, I recommend the Intercept product because

  1. It neutralizes and prevents the gases from reacting with the silver;
  2. It won’t eventually out-gas like the 3M strips;
  3. It is not as abrasive to the silver if they rub against each other.*

* Intercept claims its strips are non-abrasive, but any plastic that is rubbed against silver will leave very fine lines that will be most evident on highly polished objects.

Warning! Although camphor has been used as a tarnish absorber for many years, it is considered a poisonous substance.

Mr. Herman continues to offer his services to our readers for any questions you may have about the care of silver. Either contact him at (800) 339-0417 (USA) or via email jeff @


The Institute is dedicated to raising service standards by broadly disseminating the mindset and superior service expertise of that time-honored, quintessential service provider, the British Butler, updated with modern people skills, and adapted to the needs of modern employers and guests in staffed homes, luxury hotels, resorts, spas, retirement communities, jets, yachts & cruise ships around the world.