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I'm getting ready to polish and put into storage some of my silver plate. I just don't have room for some of the large trays I have and I'd rather fill my cabinets with some of my vintage glass that's in boxes at the moment. I bought some https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00M7DG7B4/ref=ppx_od_dt_b_asin_t... and once it's polished and wrapped it will go into some boxes. Is there anything else I need to do to store this properly?

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Hi, Chris,

I don't know much about tissue paper for storing silverware. I ship in new tissue but don't keep it around my stored plate ware.

What I have found works best if you don't want to invest in flannel casings imbued with anti-oxidants (which wears off eventually) is plastic zip lock baggies. Since they come in all sizes I'm sure you can find some large enough for your trays. If not, perhaps your tissue under a plastic sealant wrap (Saran, Glad, etc.) would work.

Chris, the only way silver--plate or sterling--can stay relatively free of oxidation for longer periods is to keep it in something completely airtight. Oxidation is caused by exposure to air. Thus keeping silver in something where air can't reach it will help it stay tarnish-free.

Also, don't store silverware in antique oak cases or furniture. Old oak emits gases forever that will speed up oxidation. Modern oak is sealed to prevent this but antique oak is usually not.

Never store, wrap or place your silver on or in linen, flax or hemp type fabrics. They also emit gases long after having been laundered many times. Same effect: silver tarnishes faster. 

I sometimes see beautifully hand-embroidered vintage linen wraps with sewn pockets for silverware, marked Forks, Knives, Spoons, etc. I shudder to think of the time and effort spent on creating these lovely wraps in pure fine linen only for the silver to go dark almost instantly as soon as they were put to use!

Biggest enemy of silver finishes: Rubber bands! Whenever I see silver for sale with rubber bands holding it together I move on. Rubber/latex literally EATS into silver. It starts as tarnish but then, when left on for a longer period the rubber dries into the finish that becomes black and impossible to polish out. The silver is ruined. If you come across rubber-banded silver don't invest in it hoping you can remove the black areas; you can't. It's not tarnish, it's missing silver that the latex consumed. I wouldn't secure anything silver with rubber bands either, not even on top of tissue.

Some people think that sterling silver is impervious to this type damage. It is not. Almost all sterling has been coated with silver plate so that it would polish up and retain a fine shiny finish. Once that silverplate coating is gone the precious sterling doesn't look so great any more, rather dull actually. So watch how much energetic polishing you give sterling. You might just succeed in removing its plated finish forever with no benefit to you or the sterling.

About boxes for storage: Big plastic storage boxes with airtight sealant lids you can buy anywere could be your best choice to store your trays or anything silver. If the lids fit  absolutely airtight the tissue paper around the silver pieces should be enough to keep them from tarnishing for some time. If you also add some little silicone pouches to the boxes it should protect further from any accidental humidity.

Thanks Liz, great information for me. I especially like your suggestion of using the plastic storage boxes instead of cardboard boxes and using desiccant in them.


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