Cleaning silverware cutlery can be many things. It can be tedious, fruitless, dangerous, destructive, successful or a complete waste of time. Yup, so many ways it can go wrong or right. Shiny forks, spoons and knives or pitted ones with toxic fumes. You decide.
Your regular household silver used for cutlery is a composite of pure silver, which is soft and stronger metals like copper to produce that silver shine. But that shine can begin to dull and tarnish in as little as a few months. That tarnish on sterling silver shows up as a yellow-gray or black film on the surface of the cutlery. But there are ways to clean it up efficiently and safely. Lets look at a few methods:
Con: Sticky and stinky
Con: Abrasive and may cause scratching and dulling of the metals shine
Result: Not really a good idea, but if you are desperate I guess.
Lemon Juice or Vinegar & Baking Soda:
Pro: Fun fizzy sounds
Con: Still a little abrasive and will leave clean but dulled look
Result: Fizzy but not shiny
Aluminum Foil, Baking Soda, Salt & Hot Water:
Shown in video above
Pro: Even more fun fizzy sounds
Pro: Soak for a short time and the black tarnish rubs right off
Pro: Leaves cutlery shiny
Pro: No harmful chemicals
Con: Slightly smelly and messy
Con: A lot of setup and cleanup
Result: Pretty dam good and cheap but lots of effort
Wright’s Silver Cleaner:
Pro: Not abrasive
Pro: Easy to use
Pro: No smell, ammonia free
Pro: Leaves silverware shiny
Con: Still gotta rub that spoon
Con: You gotta go buy it
Result: Worth the money and the effort for the result.
We have been reading a lot of books lately here at the Cutlery Review, mostly Chef biographies. And we always note when they talk about what equipment they take to a kitchen. The infamous knife roll is of course expected but the “Spoon Roll” was a new one for us. If you are doing any plating or saucing you need a decent spoon or two.
The Mercer Culinary 7-Piece Plating Spoons set looks great. It consists of a Saucier Spoon, 9-Inch Solid Spoon, 7 7/8-Inch Solid, 7 7/8-Inch Slotted 7 7/78-inch precision drawing Spoon, and 7 7/8-inch perforated Spoon. All this is bundled up in a heavy duty roll to take the kitchen or cooking class. The flatware is made of 18-8 stainless steel.
The Wirecutter has always been an amazing website for product reviews and advice. I was a little worried when the NY Times bought them but they continue to be wonderful.
They have an amazing page called “How to Choose Flatware According to the People Who Design and Make It” and boy oh boy does it cover everything. If you are looking to buy cutlery or just want to learn more about the construction this is the site for you.
The article is so full of info it needs a Table of Contents, check it out:
This is our favorite quote: “A single five-piece flatware setting (meaning a salad fork, a dinner fork, a knife, a soup spoon, and a teaspoon) can cost anywhere from a few dollars for stainless steel to well over a thousand dollars for sterling silver.”. Something we see here at The Cutlery Review everyday and try to help you with.
Trying to take a nicely lit photo of cutlery can be amazingly hard. That flatware with it’s shiny chrome surface reflects light in all the ways you don’t want for a good image. It is incredibly hard, we know, we’ve tried.
But here is some help from Dustin Dolby with workphlo. This is a great video tutorial on taking a great photo of that dish running away with the spoon. And he even gets into using Photoshop to add more light and clean it up.