Jeffrey Herman Newsletter

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

Consulting the Silver Expert

by Jeff Herman

Cleaning and Polishing Silver, Part 2 of 2  

Gently wash and dry your silver immediately after use. While washing, do not allow silver to come into contact with a metal sink, as it can scratch the silver. Instead, use a plastic dishpan or line the sink with a towel. Use a non-lemon-scented phosphate-free detergent and, to avoid water spots, towel-dry using a soft cotton dishtowel or Selvyt cloth. Silver that is used frequently and washed in this manner will require infrequent tarnish removal.

Always remove dried polish and grime from crevices and ornaments on previously polished pieces before repolishing. Run warm (not hot) water over the dried polish and use a tampico (made from fibers of the agave plant), horsehair, or natural white boar bristle brush (found in most hardware stores) and lightly “tap” out the polish. Shorten the bristles if you need added stiffness. This will lift the polish away from the object with no or minimal abrasion. Never use a dry brush when removing dry polish as it will create scratches. If there are porous elements on your piece (wood, ivory, mother of pearl, etc.), wet a Q-tip and apply the water to the polish. Allow the polish to soften then lift it out by tapping with a wet brush. A wet toothpick will allow access to the smallest areas.

Notice the difference in this grimy handle (top) after using Better Life Natural Glass Cleaner and a light wiping with a horsehair brush, showing that cleaning first to remove grime is preferable to polishing—It would have taken more time using silver polish, especially in the low-lying areas.

Check out this video for some basic polishing instructions using hand sanitizer and Blitz Silver Shine Polish.

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.