If you own elegant tableware, chances are it spends more time in the cupboards than on your table being used by your family and friends. Maybe you’re afraid someone will damage it, or maybe you’re nervous that you won’t wash it correctly, or maybe you just figure it’s safer in storage. Ease your concerns by learning how to care for your tableware with this guide:
Sterling silver tableware is dishwasher safe with a small amount of detergent, and it can be polished with silver polish and a silver nitrate treated cloth. When storing your silverware, remember that silver reacts to the sulfur in rubber and wool.
Gold vermeil should be hand washed only with mild soap; instead of polishing, dust dry vermeil regularly with a dry cloth. Because gold is a soft element that can be easily scratched, store vermeil tableware in a flatware case so that don’t bump against each other.
Gold plated tableware should also be hand washed with mild soap. Polish gold plated tableware with general metal polish and a gold polishing cloth, and like gold vermeil, store gold plated tableware in a soft-lined flatware case to avoid scratching.
Silver plate tableware is dishwasher safe, provided you use a small amount of citric-acid free detergent. Polish using silver polish and a silver nitrate treated cloth, and take care not to wash silver plate next to stainless steel in the dishwasher; the metals will react and discolor the silver.
Stainless steel tableware is dishwasher safe and can be rinsed with club soda after washing to remove any water spots. Polish stainless steel using stainless steel polish, and avoid hand washing stainless steel with hard-bristled brushes or scouring pads; these can erode the chromium oxide film.
White and decal or underglaze porcelain are both dishwasher and microwave safe; they also both do not need polishing. Hand painted and metallic porcelain are neither dishwasher nor microwave safe. Hand painted porcelain does not need polishing; silver coated porcelain can be polished using silver polish and a silver nitrate treated cloth, while gold-coated porcelain does not need polishing.
Glassware is usually dishwasher safe, but blown glass items are too fragile for the dishwasher. Glassware washed in the dishwasher should be dried on the lowest setting to avoid spots forming, and glass polish can be used to remove the film that forms with regular washing over time.
Crystal should not be washed in the dishwasher unless your dishwasher has a crystal setting; instead, hand wash crystal with mild soap. You can use glass polish to make crystal sparkle.
Your luxury tableware doesn’t need to be saved for special occasions once or twice a year. Instead, make a habit of using your exquisite tableware and enjoy the extra touch of elegance it adds to your table.