Saturday, January 20, 2007

Ask St. Casserole

Zorra and Cathy ponder putting sterling flatware in the dishwasher.

I say "sure, go ahead".

With these reservations:
a.) no antique hollow handled knives or serving pieces, the "grout" used to hold the sterling handle to the piece loosens if put into the dishwasher or left soaking in water

b) is it a coin silver piece? if so, wash by hand to be safe

c) if you see damage to your silver after dishwasher use, stop and wash pieces by hand

d) some say that mixing aluminum and stainless with sterling in the dishwasher is what harms the flatware. I don't know about this. I separate the pieces from the few stainless pieces I use
just as I separate good prep knives to clean them on the top rack of the dishwasher.

e)I wouldn't put holloware pieces, like sterling serving trays in the dishwasher. Hot soapy water cleans well enough. The dishwasher might take out all the patina in the pattern. Ewww! Not good.

Use MAAS to clean your flatware. Grab a tube at Walgreens then find a soft lint-free cloth. Old clean t-shirts are great for cleaning sterling. Take the dingy pieces of sterling to where you watch tv and polish your silver. Multi-tasking so you can get shiny silver while filling your brain area with trashy television shows.

Use your sterling, ok? It's survived this long and when used makes even the humblest of foods taste special.

This I believe,

St. Casserole


Anonymous said...

This I believe, too.

I use both my silver-plated and my sterling and put it all in the dishwasher, including the hollow-handle knives. If they fall apart, I'll get them fixed. Or get more on ebay, which is where I bought the silver I'm currently using. So far, no damage noted.

I do handwash the precious, and slightly silly, dessert forks that belonged to my great-grandparents. They are slightly delicate and thinly-plated. But since I only have six of those forks, I don't use them often anyhow.

And if I run out of silverware for a big party? I mix and match patterns. No big deal. I'd rather have lots of people to enjoy.

My dishes don't match, either, but no one seems to care. Especially when I serve my lasagna. :)

Glad to know I'm not the only one who enjoys *using* my pretty things.

Cathy said...

If anything, St. Cassie, you have got me to thinking about my silver. What am I waiting for?

I feel a posting on this topic might be in my future.....

Anonymous said...

St Cassie,
I am so beneath your league. I don't understand word one of what you've said.
I have nice flatware. I also have what I think is cheap silver. My mom bought it piece by piece from the grocery store when she was engaged. When my dad's mom died and they inherited "good" silver, she gave it to me.
It sits in my hutch. Or rahter the antique kitchen that I use as a hutch. I've never used it. How do you know what kind it is?

Oh buggar. I just wrote this whole thing without changing ID from the cat. So, well, it's PPB, using her cat's ID.

Anonymous said...

I have wanted to use my silver again for some time now. When I last went to take it out, ARRRGGGHH it is covered with black oxidation! I tried a cream polisher and to this day it still has bits of ucky cream stuck in the curlicues. I tried an old Yankee guys tip for putting foil and water softener and salt or something into the sink for instant cleaning. Didn't work. So, dear St. Casserole do you have a good tip for how to get the years and years of sad neglectful black and old goo out of curlicued silver? I agree, things would taste better on the good stuff.

Anonymous said...

St. Casserole,
You and me? We could hang out.
But we do hand wash all of our silver. Really, it isn't that much more work.
I love remembering all of the people who used the silver before us, and how happy they would be to know that we are using it.

Anonymous said...

I admit to my silver-plate settings staying in their lovely box in my pantry, and the stainless from Target living in my kitchen drawer. Rarely does the silver come out. Perhaps it should more...but I live by myself, so perhaps not. I don't know. I don't know about putting it in the dishwasher either--I got a lecture from my grandmother (and it was HER mother's silver before it was my mothers before it was mine). But I do know I'll be thinking about it.


St. Casserole said...

Dear Terminal, Love your attitude! Sterling handles loosen? Get 'em fixed or buy more on eBay! Mix your china patterns? Ok!
I'm with you on this! I rotate my china because I get tired of one pattern used all the time. If I find a great Spode plate at a garage sale, I use it. Who cares if it matches? I'm a home, not a department store!

Presbyie Gal, Do not soak your silver in hot water with tin foil. I hate what this does to sterling. Further, don't use that cotton wadding soaked with petroleum distillates polish, either. Get MAAS. Wash your sterling in hot soapy water. Not boiling, just clean hot. Use a soft toothbrush to remove old grey polish left in the pattern. Dry the flatware. Put a bit of MAAS on a soft cloth and polish lightly. You'll get the results you want.
I can't get enough "traction" with some of the cream polishes. Maas has a jewelers rouge slight drag and will clean all metals. I am committed to it because it doesn't harm and gives a glow to sterling.

Listing, we could hang, you're right. Handwashing is fine when you have time and want to visit with cousins over the kitchen sink after a family meal. Otherwise, except for the delicate stuff, dishwasher is fine. Like you, I enjoy thinking about who owned my sterling before it came to me.

zorra said...

"Use your sterling."
Amen and amen. And china and crystal too. (Can't put mama's Haviland in the dishwasher. Gold trim.)I try to use it fairly often. You should have seen me packing it and piling it all into the car last year when we thought we would have to evacuate for Hurricane Rita.

I thnk I need to write a post about this now.

Mark Smith said...

Courtesy of Lenox, my employer:

Sterling silver and silverplate can be washed in the dishwasher, although doing so is not recommended (particularly for hollowware, which may become pitted or discolored). Hollow-handled knives can be washed in the dishwasher, but hot temperatures may loosen the handles. Load silver in the dishwasher separate from stainless flatware and remove it after the wash cycle, before the intense heat of the drying cycle starts. Dry with a towel to avoid unsightly "detergent spots." If these spots do appear, simply wipe them with a soft, dry cloth. Check your dishwasher operating manual; if it has an anti-spotting injector, you can leave your sterling silver inside during the drying cycle. But avoid the prolonged soaking generally experienced with "rinse and hold" or equivalent cycles.