Polishing silverplate or sterling is one job which needs to be addressed only 2-3 times a year in the sacristy. Silver which is used and buffed weekly will seldom need more than a polishing before Easter and Christmas and perhaps once in the summer to look its shiny best. Just out of curiousity, several of our altar guild members brought in their old tried and true silver polishes to see if one was superior. We first washed each silver piece in hot water, then applied a good coating of either silver cream or silver polishing liquid, using a Q-tip to get into cracks and crevices. With a soft dry cloth we began to remove the polish, making small circular motions. After the tarnish was removed, another hot bath was given to remove all residue of the cleaning product and the piece was given a good going over with a soft birdseye towel. After we lined up our various chalices and ciboria, and other silver pieces, there was clearly one winner- Wright’s silver cream, which comes in a little blue and white tub with sponge inside. We tested many brands: Goddard’s, Gorham’s, Hagerty’s, Twinkle, Never Dull, but the best shine was without a doubt- Wright’s silver cream!
While lemon and toothpaste, vinegar and those special tarnish removing plates used with aluminum foil and baking soda are advertised as miraculous cures for tarnish, there are too many risks for damage involved and I can recommend none of them. Tarnex is another product which is very harsh and risky. Nothing is safer than Wright’s, hot water, a soft cloth and some elbow grease. Polished silver will benefit from being stored in soft flannel tarnish-resistant bags which also guard against scratching. These are available individually priced for various sizes at http://www.silvergiftstore.com/silverkeepers.html and are a wise investment.