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Silver Polish Abrasion Ratings
Updated (12.4.2016)

Don't forget to read my Silver Care Guide!

Copper Polish Abrasion Ratings
Brass Polish Abrasion Ratings

You certainly wouldn't use an auto body grinder to polish your silver, so why are you using products that could do similar damage? It's because they remove tarnish at light speed, right? Well, it's time to stop ruining your sterling and silver-plated objects and start treating them with the love and respect they deserve. Below are the results of products tested in my workshop for tarnish removal. There are currently NO silver polishes on the market that are non-abrasive, though, many proclaim to be.

See how your polish rates among many others – you may be VERY surprised!


Non-Abrasive Cleaners

Occasionally cleaning an object is preferred to waiting until heavy tarnish forms and polishes have to be employed. (All polishes have some degree of abrasion.) You can catch tarnish in its earliest stage if you hold an object next to a piece of white paper. If tarnish has started to form, you will see a very light yellowish tint on the silver. Try removing this light tarnish with either diluted Dawn Dishwashing Liquid (citrus-free) on a cellulose sponge, a 100% plant-based glass cleaner like Better Life Natural Glass Cleaner (my personal favorite), or aloe-free hand sanitizer on a cotton ball, makeup pad, or cotton towel. If the hand sanitizer leaves a residue, rinse it off with warm water or remove it with a moistened cotton towel, then dry immediately. If water doesn't work, use the glass cleaner. Try this technique first as it will remove absolutely no metal. Try using this glass cleaner on your jewelry and other metal objects as well.

Below is a Tiffany sterling bowl that was cleaned with Better Life Natural Glass Cleaner (right). If tarnish remains use one of the Least Abrasive Silver Polishes in the next section.


Least Abrasive Silver Polishes

IMPORTANT! When removing tarnish, always invest more time using one of the least abrasive silver polishes in this section over getting quicker results with a more abrasive silver polish. Ninety-nine percent (99%) of tarnish removed from silver I work on is accomplished with either Blitz Silver Shine Polish or Herman's Simply Clean Collectors Silver Polish.

Blitz Silver Shine Polish (rinse and dry or let dry and buff, brightens & protects)
Herman's Simply Clean Collectors Silver Polish (rinse and dry, maintains original finish)

• 3M Tarni-Shield Silver Polish (rinse and dry, brightens & protects)
• Twinkle Silver Polish (rinse and dry, brightens & protects)

If you are using a moist cellulose sponge with any of the above polishes and have difficulty removing tarnish, use a large cotton ball or cotton makeup pad with the smallest amount of polish necessary. Rotate the ball or pad regularly to expose unused surfaces. This will compress the polish and work more quickly. You can see me using the dry cotton ball technique on these Revere pieces.

If I had used Blitz Silver Shine Polish on the tray below, the polished side would look a bit glossier because of its tarnish-protective ingredient). Blitz is my favorite polish with a tarnish inhibitor because of it's application options.


Above: The right side of this 15" wide sterling high chair tray was polished with Earth Friendly Silver Polish (Herman's Simply Clean Collectors Silver Polish has replaced Earth Friendly). Polishing, rinsing, and drying time: 2 minutes.

For purchasing information, go to Resources for Silver Care Products.


Mildly Abrasive Silver Polishes

• Goddard's Silver Polish Liquid (rinse and dry, brightens & protects)
• Goddard's Silver Polish Foam (rinse and dry, brightens & protects)
• Town Talk Silver Polish (rinse and dry, brightens & protects)
• Weiman Silver Polish (rinse and dry or let dry and buff, brightens & protects)


Fairly Abrasive Silver Polishes

• Hagerty's Silversmiths' Wash (rinse and dry, brightens & protects)
• Wright's Silver Cream (rinse and dry, brightens, no protection)
        Excellent for cleaning stainless steel.


* If none of the above products work, contact me. Do NOT use any of the products below!


WARNING!
Severely Abrasive Polishes & Dips – Do Not Use on Silver!


     

The below products are so agressive they may even cut through silver plate to the base metal. Some are as abrasive as 0000 steel wool – seriously! And many of these products are not earth-friendy.

ALL products that have "metal polish" in their name are much too harsh. Oxidized brass, copper, 
and especially aluminum require greater abrasion for successful results. Silver requires its own 
special polish to more gently accomplish this job. Stay away from the following products (this is a partial list):

• 3M Scotch-Brite pads (all  types)
• Baking soda
• Bar Keepers Friend
• Blitz Polishing Cloth
• Briwax Metal Polish
• BlueMagic Metal Polish Cream
• Cape Cod Metal Polishing Cloths
• Cleansers
• Connoisseurs Jewelry Wipes
• Felt
• Flitz Polish
• Howard's Pine-Ola Silver Polish
• Ketchup

Though ketchup is not abrasive and does remove very light tarnish, it is extremely acidic and may gradually etch and dull silver. You will then have to use one of the polishes above to brighten the surface and machine-polish the etching away.

• Maas
• Metal New Metal Polish
• Mr. Clean Magic Eraser
• Nevr-Dull Magic Wadding Polish
• Noxon
• Peek Premium Polish Paste
• Polishing gloves (from constant build-up of particulate that will scratch your silver)
• Pre-Lim (better for removing rust from steel)
• Rolite Metal Polish
• Rouge cloths
• Simichrome Metal Polish
• Silvo
• Soft Scrub
• Stainless steel cleaners
• Toothbrushes (use one of these natural bristle brushes instead)
• Toothpaste (virtually all brands)
• Wadding (they ALL contain abrasives that are much too abrasive for silver)
• Weiman Silver Wipes
• Wenol Metal Polish

Chemical Tarnish Removers (These are just a few of the products that will absolutely ruin the original finish on solid silver and silver-plate. They also allow tarnish to form more quickly.) Read about these dips here.

• Ellanar Dip Instant Silver Cleaner
• Empire's Instant Tarnish Remover
• Goddard's Silver Dip
• Hagerty Silver Dip
• Medallion Care Tarnish Treatment
• Midas Silver Tarnish-Off
• ShineBrite Silver Dip
• SilverMate
• Tarn-X
• Weiman Instant Tarnish Remover
• Wright's Instant Tarnish Remover


Copper Polish Abrasion Ratings
(Updated 4.22.2013)

Regarding ketchup: Though it's non-abrasive and does remove very light tarnish, ketchup is extremely acidic and may gradually etch and dull copper. You will then have to use one of the polishes below to brighten the surface. The polishes below are not meant to be used on lacquered copper!

 Rated 1-3 (1 being least abrasive).

 • Abrasivness rating: 1
        Blitz Copper Shine Polish (rinse and dry, maintains original finish, no protection)

• Abrasivness rating: 2
       Pin-Ola Copper & Brass Polish (rinse and dry, maintains original finish, no protection)
       * Extremely acidic and may gradually dull copper.

• Abrasivness rating: 3 (Surprising since Twinkle's silver polish is extremely mild.)
       Twinkle Copper Cleaner (rinse and dry, brightens & protects)


Brass Polish Abrasion Ratings
(Updated 11.27.2013)

 The polishes below are not meant to be used on lacquered brass!

 Rated 1-3 (1 being least abrasive).

 • Abrasivness rating: 1
        Blitz Brass Shine Polish (rinse and dry, maintains original finish, no protection)

• Abrasivness rating: 2
       Wright's Brass Polish (rinse and dry, maintains original finish, no protection)
       * Warning! Wear a respirator made to protect against extreme ammonia vapors!

• Abrasivness rating: 3
       Pin-Ola Copper & Brass Polish (rinse and dry, maintains original finish, no protection)


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