Silver in the Dishwasher: Status Update

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Silver in the Dishwasher

I didn't take many photos of the Christmas table....but I did manage to capture the buche de noel before it was ravaged.

Do you know Warren Buffet’s expression “have some skin in the game“? American readers will likely be familiar with the phrase…those of you elsewhere might not be.  Quite possibly your reaction might be “no, and whatever it is sounds revolting”. Rest assured it’s not that bad, it essentially means you have a stake in the outcome. As I’m always going on about putting your precious vintage silver in the dishwasher, I thought I provide a status update and show you how mine is faring.

Being the first week of January and having all sorts of good business intentions about audits and benchmarking, it seemed sensible to extend that to the condition of my silver too.

Silver in the Dishwasher

First of all, let me provide you with some bona fides about my having some skin in this game.  The photos below show 3 of my Louis XV forks c.1890’s and 3 of my Georgian spoons – all of which are pre-1800, in fact one is 1776.  Whether or not they are to your taste, I hope you can agree that they are pieces worthy of cherishing.

Confession time.  I can not recall the last time I polished any of them. You’ll remember in the post about silver tarnish that we examined the difference between cleaning and polishing.  These pieces have been cleaned many hundreds of times in the dishwasher (possibly 3 years worth) but have not been polished.

I’ll let the photos do some talking…

Silver in the Dishwasher

Georgian Spoons after a couple, possibly several years of daily cleaning in the dishwasher and no polishing.

Silver in the Dishwasher

Louis XV forks, again at least a couple possibly several years of the dishwasher on a daily basis and no polish.

I photographed them on bright white paper in bright light to really bring out all the flaws. The worst offender is the very tips of 2 forks – they are a bit dark.  Essentially this is how these same pieces looked on the Christmas table about 10 days ago. And yes, I managed to remember to photo the dessert but not the silver…which if I had known I was going to write this post would have been very handy as proof of my flouting the rules of “thou shalt polish the silver prior to each special occasion”.

Let me be absolutely honest

If it wasn’t for this post I would not have bothered to polish these 6 pieces.  The dark tips on the forks come and go depending on how recently we have eaten something they react to, like eggs or mayonaise that kind of thing.  A few washings from now and they would have receded. However, in my spirit of benchmarking here are photos of the exact same pieces after I’ve gone over them with some polish.

Important note – “polishing” in this instance has not been a laborious, elbow grease intensive effort.  I got the pieces wet and after putting some polish on the sponge that comes with the Goddards, simply wiped it up and then down the silverware, then rinsed. I used more effort drying them with the tea towel – so they didn’t leave damp marks on the white paper I was using as the photo background.

Silver in the dishwasher

After a swipe with Goddards Foam Polish.

Silver in the dishwasher

The forks after a similar effort.

First things first, despite hundreds of cycles in the dishwasher these pieces have not been harmed in any way shape or form.  No white patches, dark spots, pitting or any of the other dreaded consequences that so many of us have been warned about.

Second, have they benefitted from this polishing? It’s kind of like the difference between washing your car and washing your car then waxing it.  Subtle but undeniable, but I wish I had a photo of pieces that had not been used for 2 or 3 years to see how they would have compared.

Maybe next year…

Less tangibly, but more importantly, is that my family, friends and I have had the pleasure of using these pieces every day for the last couple (several) years. It hasn’t been a hassle requiring hand washing and kid gloves.


What are your thoughts?  Bueller, Bueller….

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15 thoughts on “Silver in the Dishwasher: Status Update

  1. Jennie@gotmyreservationsNo Gravatar

    I also wash my sterling flatware in the dishwasher. Someone told us years ago not to mix the stainless with the sterling in the same basket, so we separate them. Our dishwasher has handy-dandy slots so the stainless and sterling don’t actually touch each other. No pits, no white spots, no wear other than the wear that comes from 30 years of use.

    1. IvetteNo Gravatar

      So wow, the only thing that matters is that they don’t touch? It’s okay to have stainless and sterling in the same wash cycle? I always thought they couldn’t be in the machine, while running, at the same time. So I don’t put my sterling in the dishwasher because invariably there is a stainless ladle or something else that’s being washed too. That would change everything since I too have a cutlery tray and the pieces do not touch……

  2. Elizabeth HubbellNo Gravatar

    I still can’t bring myself to wash my silver in the dishwasher, but I have been amazed at how regular use has omitted any need for polishing. Sterling is so much less work than people think! (And it looks so much nicer.)

    I also have a Louis XV that I just adore! It’s a 5 o’clock spoon that I use almost every weekend.

  3. IvetteNo Gravatar

    What a great post.

    “Not used for two years”??? But we don’t have anything that’s not used for two years, I hope! Use it use it! Which is one of the many reasons why it’s so wonderful that you take these beautiful pieces and find them a good home, where they will be used.

    Would you like a photo of my Christmas Eve table with all my beautiful Silver Magpies silver that hasn’t been polished, um, like ever in the two years I’ve owned it? Well okay, the salt cellars and pepper pots have been, because they’re always out in my (gasp) glassed china cabinet so I can look at them. I don’t use them as often because we generally don’t salt or pepper our food, only when we have company over do they come out as a result. Sigh. And everytime someone does come, I’m like a kid with a toy at Christmas: “yay! I get to play with my pepper pots!”

    Anyway, I so agree about the analogy with the cars. I’ve noticed that silver is exquisite even slightly tarnished and it’s really only when you take the trouble to polish it (and you’re right it doesn’t have to be an ordeal) that you realize “WOW! what a difference!” But then I let it go again for months at a time. I guess I kind of like tarnish.

    1. SilverMagpiesNo Gravatar Post author

      Photos of Christmas table and all other occasions on which the silver is in service (even with Wednesday night Mac and cheese) would be fab.

      I’d love to run a regular feature of how readers use their silver…hmmm the gears are turning…stay tuned.

  4. ElizabethNo Gravatar

    My mom has been washing her Kirk Repousse in the dishwasher for years. She is a use it at every meal kind of girl as well. I hand wash mine, but in part because I love to do it and I have little helpers who like to put the forks and spoons in the dishwasher but have no idea what stainless vs silver means.

    My grandmother used to say “Taking care of beautiful things you love is a joy not a labor”
    I feel that way every time I polish the silver pitcher I use to water the dog and house plants. It sits on my shelf so I can see it.

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