How to Prepare and Pack Silver for Long Term Storage
Are you planning a move? Or, do you just need to put your silver somewhere out of the way for a while? If so, you need to figure out how to properly store it.
While it's unrealistic to think you are going to use your sliver items every day, you don't want anything to happen to them while they aren't being used. Keep reading for some tips to ensure your sliver remains safe and as tarnish-free as possible.
Tarnishing is Caused By Silver Sulfide
When someone makes the statement that there is a buildup of sliver sulfide on their silverware or another silver item, it's a fancier way to say the item is tarnished. Tarnish is the discoloration or black film that can develop and cover sliver over time, making it dull and discolored, rather than beautiful and shiny.
There's no way to wash tarnish off using soap and water, since it is the result of a chemical reaction between the silver item and sulfur, or items that contain sulfur, such as rubber, felt, wool, water, or air.
The only way you can really remove the tarnish is by polishing it away. However, it's not a good idea to polish the sliver too often for several reasons. First, it's a tedious job and when you polish your sliver it actually takes some sliver off so it should only be done only when necessary. At the most, try not to polish your sliver more than one to two times per year. Just enough to prepare for big family gatherings around the holidays!
Now that you know what you are up against, it's time to get to know the right way to pack away your silver items.
Hand-Wash Each Piece
The first step in preparing your silver for storage is to hand wash each piece using a mild soap. Don't use any type of lemon-scented detergent. Once the items are washed, you can dry each one with a soft flannel cloth and allow the sliver to cool. After it is cooled adequately, polish each of the pieces with a traditional type of sliver polish. This will help protect your sliver for the duration of the amount of time it is spent in moving boxes or storage.
Prevent Scratches: Wrap or Roll Each Item
The best way to do this is by using specialty cloth pouches you can find at online sliver retailers. Another option is to use low-sulfur paper, but this should only be used on a short-term basis. You can usually get this type of specialty paper from moving companies. Remember that pure silver is a soft metal so it scratches easily. Many people own sterling silver which is made up of 92.5% of silver and 7.5% of other, harder metals. Because of this, you'll want to roll each piece of your sliver to prevent scratches. Avoid rolling your silver in rough materials like newspaper to prevent scratches.
What is the Best Material to Store Silver In?
The best material to store silver in is tarnish-resistant fabric or material specifically designed to prevent silver from tarnishing. Materials like felt, flannel, or specially treated cloth help create a barrier between the silver and the surrounding air, which can help slow down the tarnishing process.
Can I Store Silver in Plastic Bags?
Never use plastic bags to store your silver. While this was a popular method decades ago, it is not advised. Plastic contains sulfur and traps moisture, both of which cause tarnishing.
Should Silver Be Stored Airtight?
Yes, silver should be stored in an airtight or a low-oxygen environment. Exposure to air, especially humid air, can lead to tarnishing. Airtight storage containers or bags can help minimize oxygen contact and slow the tarnishing process.
Pack Your Silver Correctly
Put your cleaned and rolled silver in the box or chest you have available. There are specialty boxes you can purchase with individual compartments for smaller bundles of items. If you use filler material such as newspaper or bubble wrap, make sure these filler materials don't come in direct contact with the silver.
What's the Best Tempurature to Keep Silver At?
The best temperature to store silver is at a cool and stable room temperature. Keeping silver away from extreme temperature fluctuations, high heat, and direct sunlight is generally advised. Avoiding high humidity is also important, as moisture can accelerate tarnishing.
How Long Does Sterling Silver Last?
The longevity of sterling silver depends on various factors, including how well it's cared for, the environment it's stored in, and how frequently it's used. With proper care and storage, sterling silver can last for generations. However, it can tarnish, develop scratches, or experience other damage if not properly taken care of. On average, well-maintained sterling silver can last for decades, often 20 to 30 years or even longer.
Does Chalk Keep Silver From Tarnishing?
Yes, chalk does keep silver from tarnishing. By adding a piece of chalk in with your sealed bag or box it absorbs moisture and sulfur. If you're worried about the chalk touching your silver, wrap it in a piece of cheesecloth. This will provide an extra, breathable layer of protection.
Wrap the Box or Chest
If you are storing your sliver away for a long period, then it is a good idea to wrap the box or chest in bubble wrap. However, if you are only putting it away for a short period, a sheet or large towel will be sufficient.
Keeping Your Silver Safe
If you have sliver items that you have to store for a long or short period, then be sure to use the tips and steps found here. Doing so will help ensure that your sliver remains safe from tarnish and damage free for the duration of the time that it is stored away. Being informed is the best way to ensure that your silver looks great, regardless of how long you have to put it in storage.
We're Your Storage Solution!
Storage Rentals of America is your convenient self-storage solution. So come into our office or give our storage experts a call at 1-800-457-5678. Our call center is available 7 days a week and can help determine which storage unit size best fits your storage needs.