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It's that simple. There are four major reasons for keeping your prized sterling and silverplate out of the "chamber of doom:" (1) Any factory-applied oxidation (the black patina in recessed areas) will eventually be removed. (2) The harsh detergent, combined with the washer's high cleaning temperature, is much too abrasive for silver—it will eventually turn it grey or white, with a dull, non-reflective surface. (3) Most older and some repaired hollow-handled knives are filled with pitch. This low-melting cement will expand with heat, possibly forcing open a thin solder seam, or exploding the knife blade out of the handle. (4) Silver that touches stainless in the dishwasher can create a chemical reaction, producing black spots or pitting on the stainless and possibly requiring the silver to be professionally refinished.

Sterling, like a fine automobile, must be handled with tender loving care. You certainly wouldn't drive your Rolls Royce through a car wash, would you?

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