How do I care for my silver? Tiffin-care!

“How do I care for my Tiffinware?”  – one of the most frequently asked questions. Its another one of those things one always takes for granted. Working within your area of knowledge, you assume everyone knows what’s in your head, no need to spell it out, nonetheless, …… never hurts to say it again, eh?

Will it tarnish? Yes! Its silver-plated. Most silver plated cutlery, tableware or flatware is ‘Electro-Plated Nickel-Silver’ – EPNS. ‘Nickel Silver’ identifies the base metal as a copper-zinc-nickel alloy; it contains no silver but, its nickel content imparts a colour more akin to silver than brass. products are hand crafted from an alloy of brass (copper and zinc) and nickel (a white metal, resistant to corrosion), also known as ‘Nickel or German silver.’ ‘Electro-plated’ in this context means that the articles are electro-plated with silver.

What is tarnish? Silver, being a noble metal, is highly resistant to corrosion, but tarnishes when it comes into contact with sulphides that are ever present, to some extent, in the atmosphere and also found in many foods, green vegetables and eggs being the most potent! Tarnish is a superficial film of silver sulphides. Initially it has a slight gold tinge, but with prolonged exposure, it develops into a blue-black discolouration.

Sulphides in the atmosphere are created from combustion of gas oil, coke, wood etc. To avoid the need for frequent cleaning, it is best to store your Tiffinware cutlery in the padded pouch provided, and the larger items in zip locked plastic, but preferably wrapped in cling film, (also known as glad or serran wrap) in a drawer. Silver stored in rooms with fires or heaters will tarnish faster. To avoid tarnish from food, rinse off the cutlery as soon as convenient. Tarnish resisting papers and cloths are available to store silver, which certainly reduce the rate of tarnishing.

How do I care for my Tiffinware? The characteristic white ‘patina’ of silver which is responsible for its aesthetic appeal becomes more pronounced with age due to the optical effect of the multitude of very fine scratches that develop in use. Tiffinware needs to be looked after with care. It is not dishwasher friendly so please avoid harsh detergents, acidic agents and do not use steel wool, scouring pads or toxic dips. The glass beads are fragile so please be gentle, hand wash in warm soapy water with a soft sponge and dry immediately with a soft cloth. Store in the pouch provided to avoid extensive tarnishing or in plastic as stated above. Both silver and silver plated items become dull and oxidise when they come into contact with sulphides in the atmosphere for too long.

What polish do you recommend? Although there are methods of detarnishing silver available: polishing powders or pastes, chemical dip solutions and electrolytic methods we advise you to use a silver polishing cloth regularly for buffing the gorgeous shine back into your wonderful product.

For extensive tarnishing we recommend an Anti-tarnish paste, available from John Lewis Stores, which we find is the best way to bring the shine back to your Tiffinware items, rather than acid based silver polish or chemical dip solutions. Always apply the paste with the soft sponge provided, which should be thoroughly and freshly washed to eliminate any abrasive dust particles which could cause scratching.

Over zealous pressure when cleaning with polishing powders, dips may remove significant amounts of silver which ultimately will wear through the plate completely.

I hope this helps you look after your Tiffinware products – be the first to comment!