It's nearly time to dig out your best silver for the festive table. There's much conflicting advice on how to treat it, so learn how to clean silver well ahead of the 25th

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It may be one of those Christmas tasks you are keen to delay, but learning how to clean silver well is essential ahead of the festive lunch. There is much conflicting advice but it is really rather simple once you have the know-how. Follow The Field’s advice to learn how to clean silver well both before the table is laid and once the plates have been cleared.

Crackers are essential to complete the festive table. What is the Christmas lunch without a bad joke and silly hat? Hand crafting may be low on the to-do list, but making your own crackers is incredibly simple and rather jolly. Learn how to make your own Christmas crackers with The Field’s advice.

HOW TO CLEAN SILVER WELL

QUERY: With Christmas comes silver cleaning and I am plagued by conflicting advice that silver should be cleaned regularly and that it shouldn’t. However, it needs doing and I was wondering whether there is a quick way to clean silver well and how to make the results last.
HC, by email

To clean silver well, it does not need constant cleaning and, in fact, should not be cleaned more than necessary. To help reduce the cleaning, regularly dust with a soft cloth, use a brush with soft bristles to clean the crevices or wash in warm soapy water, rinse and dry well. Silver can be easily scratched, dented or fractured and should be handled with care and as little as possible as fingerprints leave deposits, which cause tarnishing.

Tarnishing, which does no harm, is also caused by humidity and sulphurous foods such as brussels sprouts, so table silver in contact with such foods should be washed as soon as possible. When cleaning silver use a silver polish (not a metal polish), rinse the item after cleaning and dry with a piece of kitchen towel or a clean, soft tea towel. Silver corrodes as a result of being in contact with salt, so salt cellars should be lined with glass or gilt and the salt removed after use.