With Christmas fast approaching, knowing how to clean silver well is vital for the Christmas lunch. Get your best silver out for the in-laws this year

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Knowing how to clean silver well is vital with Christmas coming up. When the presents have been opened and the turkey is in the oven, presenting the table for lunch with your best silver is part of the Christmas day routine. But with such conflicting advice, it can be difficult to know how to treat silver once the plates have been cleared.

To get everyone in the festive spirit, take a look at our Homemade Christmas Pimms recipe.

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

HOW TO CLEAN SILVER WELL

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.