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Silver in the Dishwasher? Of course!

March 26, 2009

Silver in DishwasherOne of the most frequent questions we are asked is “Can I put my sterling in the dishwasher?” OF COURSE YOU CAN!

Sterling silver flatware may certainly go in your dishwasher.   We do recommend a few modifications to your typical washing procedures to make sure your silver stays as bright as the day you bought it:

  • Rinse your silver under the faucet before you put it in the flatware basket.  This removes remnant food particles (particularly damaging substances like vinegar, lemon, or salt!) from your pieces to prevent any marring prior to the wash cycle.
  • Keep your silver flatware separate from any stainless pieces as they can scratch your silver.
  • Use a SMALL AMOUNT of detergent–and one with no lemon or citrus additives.  Pre-measured tablets tend to have too much.  A tablespoon (not even filling the cup designated) is plenty to clean your silver and dishes, while not causing them to yellow.
  • You may leave your silver in the dishwasher to dry with its drying cycle.  Opinions differ on this, but it is safe to do so.
  • KNIVES: If your knives are old–pre-World War II– wash them by hand.  Knives are formed from two pieces, the silver hollow handle and a blade.  The heat from the dishwasher can melt the resin used in older knives to seal the two pieces, causing your knives to break apart.

If your silver is turning yellow… you could be using too much detergent.  The bleach in the detergent may cause the discoloration.  Polish your silver to remove the yellow coloring and use less detergent next time!

So use your silver everyday!  And let your dishwasher do the work for you.

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18 Comments leave one →
  1. Mary permalink
    July 16, 2009 10:23 pm

    Thank you for this column! We inherited our flatware from my husband’s mother; it was Kirk’s Repousse, her wedding silver from the 1920s. When she got a dishwasher in the late 1950s, that’s where she washed it. I followed her lead: it’s gone into the dishwasher–even the knives–since 1966. Never a problem.

    I think one reason silver fell out of favor is the myth that it requires a lot of care. I’ve had jewelry store clerks tell me it should nevernevernever go into the dishwasher. Such a shame to hear that.

    I polish our silver once or twice a year, that’s it. We use it every day for every meal and I never stop appreciating its beauty and history.

  2. Janet Jameson permalink
    October 25, 2009 9:49 pm

    Thank you for this info! I have silver from my wedding 27 years ago and have never used it! My family has grown and I am greatly in need of more flatware! I will pull it out and use it now!

  3. Barbara Costa permalink
    December 24, 2009 2:25 pm

    Reponse to Janet Jameson’s comments! I thought I was the only person on earth that had flatware from her marriage (1970) and NEVER used it! I have an odd number of place settings and numerous serving pieces and have been grappling with whether to sell it or purchase a placesetting to even out the number. After speaking with the VERY helpful salesperson (Julia) at Beverly Bremmer, I’ve finally decided after all these years to purchase the needed placesetting and use it every day of my life. Being recently retired, the days of “I’ll use it some day” are over – “some day” is NOW! Plus through Julie as well as the website I learned it’s perfectly OK to wash silver flatware in the dishwasher! Especially glad to get THAT resolved in my head since I had previously spoken with someone who was very into silverware and said oh my no, NEVER wash it in the dishwasher!

    • GHoward permalink
      September 14, 2010 6:44 pm

      Use it, enjoy it, wash it anyway you like. What good is it in a drawer, and even though we like to think it has great value, if we had to sell it, it is never worth what you paid for it. The kids won’t appreciate it. Enjoy!

  4. Linda permalink
    March 20, 2010 9:39 am

    Sorry, but from experience I am in the camp which says, “Do not put it in the dishwasher.” My silver flatware turns whiteish when I put it in the dishwasher. Unfortunately the nice dark patina in the design turned light colored also. And I do NOT put in too much detergent. It does not come off that easily with polishing, but the nice darker patina in the design comes back only with many, many, many polishings. What is the problem? Thanks. Linda

  5. Elizabeth permalink
    September 11, 2010 8:56 am

    It is so interesting that there are such opposite opinions on this. I wonder if it is possible to find a mild dishwasher liquid to use in the machine.
    I, too, am retired and have a lot of silver and no one to leave it to. Just remodeled my kitchen and am now thinking, “What the heck,” let’s use it everyday. So here I go!

    • March 4, 2012 10:02 pm

      You just have to avoid dishwasher detergents that have clorine in them. Find your local Amway distributor and buy dishwasher detergent from her/him. It does not have clorine and will wash both your sterling silver and your antique china (I have some but you may not) beautifully.

  6. Sarah Bunje permalink
    August 17, 2011 4:41 pm

    I have washed my Repousse in the Dishwasher for 40+ years without a problem and all of a sudden all of the wonderful patina is coming off. I am using a low phosphate gel has anyone else had a similar problem.

    Is there an easy way to get the patina back on. Originally I had it all sent back to Kirk to have the Patina put on it.

    • August 18, 2011 10:34 am

      Is your low phosphate gel a recent change? We recommend using a granulated detergent without lemon. Try not using a heated dry in your dishwasher cycle, if you are doing so.

      Discoloration from a dishwasher can be removed by polishing each piece (which we can also do for you!), and a patina will return again with use.

      Good for you for using your sterling every day!

  7. AMANDA LANDRY permalink
    November 29, 2011 2:03 pm

    I HAVE SILVER FROM MY GREAT GRANDMOTHER {1863} IT IS MARKED “A.A. MEAD COIN”.
    CAN THIS TYPE OF SILVER BE PLACED IN THE DISH WASHER? AND WHY CAN I NOT USE LEMON DISH DETERGENT?

  8. George permalink
    February 21, 2012 8:15 am

    I heard that you shouldn’t let knives soak in water since that way water seeps into gaps between the stainless steel blade and the silver handle. That causes the SS to rust & loosens the bond between blade & handle. Is that true? How does that apply to a dishwasher?

  9. Luzmila Moore permalink
    February 26, 2012 12:52 am

    I washed my silver in the dishwasher for forty years as well, we lived in different parts of the San Francisco Bay Area and never had a problem, we even lived overseas and again no problem… Until we moved to San Jose, CA and my silver turned white! I think strongly that it was the water because our glass shower door also got spots that could not be removed! Now we live in NC and I am giving it a go again in the dishwasher and it looks gorgeous!

  10. robyn permalink
    March 19, 2012 11:47 am

    i am trying to find a dishwasher detergent that you would recommend. i have to say it is hard to find one with no citrus..do you have a specific suggestion that you trust. i looked at labels but found lots of ingredients i was not familiar with. thank you so much. i am so excited to actually start using my silver!!

  11. Lea permalink
    September 9, 2012 7:03 pm

    My sterling is turning white and cloudy. I did not realize that citric was bad for it. If I get a different detergent will it return to its original color? I am afraid I have ruined my sterling.

  12. June 20, 2013 1:05 pm

    Hi! I could have sworn I’ve visited this blog before but after browsing through some of the articles I realized it’s new to me.
    Anyhow, I’m certainly happy I found it and I’ll be bookmarking it
    and checking back regularly!

Trackbacks

  1. Beverly bremmer | Swingordie
  2. Proper Cleaning Methods for Silverware « OC Water Emergency & Restoration

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