Silver items need routine cleaning to avoid damage from tarnish and/or pitting. Tarnish usually appears as an orange or gray "cloud" on the surface. But pitting -- or black spots that gouge below the silver's surface -- is evidence of deeper damage. Silver or silver-plated items that have black pitted marks are already damaged. Minor pitting may be reduced through careful home cleaning. Severely pitted items can only be repaired by a professional silver plating company.

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Cleaning can repair some silver damage.

Step 1

Clean the silver item with a mild, non-abrasive soap and rinse thoroughly in water. Dry the item immediately with a soft cotton cloth.

Step 2

Apply a professional-grade silver cleaning cream with a soft, dry cloth. Use straight strokes, not a circular motion. Don't "scrub" the surface. Allow the cream to dry if so indicated by the cream's directions.

Step 3

Wipe the cream away with a fresh cloth. Remove all cream residue, including any located within intricate surface designs or detailing.

Step 4

Buff gently the surface of the cleaned silver with a fresh cloth. If serious pitting remains, you may need professional intervention.