The Unconventional Way To Prevent Silverware From Tarnishing

It may sit in a box or a drawer waiting to be taken out for special occasions, but you still want your heirloom set of silverware to be ready and shiny when you need it. Unless you live in Downton Abbey and have a team of household employees at your disposal, the thought of cleaning tarnished silver is likely overwhelming, especially when you have more important things to do before you host a gathering, such as cleaning the house and preparing food.

Pure silver is tarnish-resistant, according to Gainsville Coins, but having anything made of 100% silver is unusual, thus why most "silver" silverware tarnishes fairly regularly. But this isn't a bad thing: Silver is usually mixed with other metals, such as copper, to make it more durable and allow for regular use. And it's the copper that makes your silverware more likely to tarnish, per Something Borrowed. Things that may cause silverware to tarnish more quickly are being exposed to moisture and high heat; using it to eat foods like onion, eggs, and salt; being stored in certain types of paper, cardboard, latex, or rubber; and cleaning with products containing bleach. 

That's a long list! Instead of worrying about all the ways your silverware could tarnish, there is a simple measure you can take to prevent it from happening too quickly.

A little piece of chalk

One of those odds and ends you likely keep in your junk drawer just in case you ever find a use for it, chalk can help prevent your silverware from tarnishing (via HuffPost). Simply wrap a few pieces of chalk in cheesecloth and place the bundle with your sliver — it's as easy as that! The reason it works is the chalk absorbs moisture, which you'll remember Something Borrowed says is one of silver's worst enemies. For people living in humid environments, having chalk placed with the silver is essential to keeping moisture at bay.

Chalk not only absorbs moisture, it can also help to eliminate sulfur and other tarnish-causing gases, explains Antique Silver Buyers. The pieces of chalk should be rotated out for new every couple of months.

With the simple addition of some old-school chalk where you store your silverware, you'll save lots of time and energy down the road when it comes to shining up the set for that special occasion. If your silverware is already too far gone, you're in luck: there is a simple, hands-free way to polish silverware with aluminum foil and baking soda.