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It's the holiday season, and that means you're probably getting ready to clean your silver. Before you pick up that bottle of silver polish, read this:

Tarnish is easily removed when first noticed (usually as a yellowish tint), and will become increasingly difficult to deal with as it turns to light brown and eventually black. Occasionally washing an object with a non-lemon-scented phosphate-free detergent is preferred to waiting until tarnish forms and gets so stubborn that polishes have to be employed. (All polishes have some degree of abrasion.) If you start to see very light tarnish that can sometimes only be detected when the object is viewed against a piece of glossy white paper, Windex with vinegar or a liquid, non-abrasive, unscented, aloe-free hand sanitizer, such as Purell, may remove the tarnish. Use a large cotton ball and rotate it regularly to expose unused surfaces, as elements in the tarnish itself can be very abrasive; then dry the piece with a Selvyt cloth or cotton dish towel. Try this technique first, as it is the least abrasive of all silver cleaning methods.

The sterling sugar above is an example of what Windex can accomplish in removing light tarnish. Obviously, to remove the more stubborn tarnish you would use one of my recommended silver polishes.

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