Jeffrey Herman Newsletter

The Modern Butlers’ Journal, April 2019, Consulting the Silver Expert

Consulting the Silver Expert

by Jeff Herman

Basic Silver-Care Advice Part 1 of 2

  1. To avoid damaging your silver, clean it only when you are not rushed. I’ve restored many a candelabrum arm that was broken off in haste. Also, be aware that if you’re wearing a ring, it may well leave a scratch when it comes into contact with the piece you’re working on;
  2. If you are looking for someone to clean your silver, choose an individual with experience. Ask what methods and polishes they use. If you require assistance, please feel free to contact me (details below);
  3. Always polish/clean silver on a sturdy work surface covered by a cotton towel. If the work surface is made of wood or other porous material, lay a piece of plastic under the towel;
  4. Keep the polish container closed when not in use, and do not use polishes that have become dried. In order to keep water-based polish creamy when stored for an extended period, add a little distilled  (not tap) water;
  5. NEVER use chemical dips;
  6. Before using a polish, please refer to the Silver Polish Abrasion Ratings page as you may be about to use a polish that is far too abrasive;
  7. Use untreated cotton gloves or form-fitting nitrile gloves when handling silver—finger prints contribute to tarnishing;
  8. Always try to support a tea pot or coffee pot by the bottom when holding it by the handle;
  9. If silver is tarnished to an extent that it requires a commercial polish, use only polishes made specifically for silver;
  10. Do not be stingy with the make-up pads (I prefer the lint-free Premium CVS brand) or cotton balls and constantly rotate them to expose a clean surface.

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.