Thread Number: 71138  /  Tag: Other Home Products or Autos
Vintage silverware & the vintage dishwasher
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Post# 941632   6/3/2017 at 19:41 by turquoisedude (Ogden & St-Liboire (where??), QC, Canada)        

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I was fortunate enough to have scored a set of good vintage silver plated flatware at a local garage sale recently (from Birk's in Montreal probably 50 to 55 years old) and by golly I intend to use it!

However I am not sure if I should be washing it in any of my current line-up of vintage dishwashers in Ogden. 


At the moment in addition to the 56 SU60 in the Kitchen Center, I am using the 62 Mobile Maid and the 71 Frigidaire Custom Deluxe.   The 56 GE has the shortest cycle while the 62 Mobile Maid has a China/Crystal cycle with no water heating during washes and rinses and a a short (5 minute) heated dry. The Frigidaire cycle is relatively long with heated washes, rinses, and dry cycles.


I recall as a brat getting yelled at by a neighbour when she learned I had put my late mother's WM Rogers silverplate in the Potscrubber... However that set had the glued-on hollow knife handles so I did not repeat this transgression. 


So, should I wash my 'new' silver set in the dishwasher or not??

Post# 941646 , Reply# 1   6/3/2017 at 20:50 by Michaelman2 (Atlanta, GA)        
Silver plated flatware

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Promise you on this. Silver plated flatware is really best washed in mild dish washing detergent. I know some may disagree with me. I used to entertain a good deal and found the less caustic and force used on that finish would keep the pieces very nice.

Simply fill a basin with warm water, use a decent dish detergent and let them soak for a few minutes...then rinse and dry completely.

I also never placed sterling silver in a dishwasher. I would use the same method just described.

If you place several pieces of chalk (like used to be used on a blackboard) inside the silver chest, this will keep down tarnishing.

If the pieces are used frequently (silver plated or sterling) the tarnishing issue is not really a problem.

Post# 941647 , Reply# 2   6/3/2017 at 21:15 by ea56 (Sonoma Co.,CA)        

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I would agree with Mike on avoiding the dishwasher for silverplate. I have on occasion washed my Gradmas' silverplate in the dishwasher and it was OK, but regular use might not be wise.

Also to remove tarnish from silverplate or sterling easily place a piece of aluminum foil in the bottom of a large flat pan, like a roaster put a tablespoon or two of baking soda on the foil, lay the silverware on the foil in a single layer and cover it with boiling water and allow it to sit for several mins. in the hot water and baking soda solution. Pour out the solution and rinse, the tarnish disappears like magic, without any tedious scrubbing.

Post# 941656 , Reply# 3   6/3/2017 at 22:59 by MattL (Flushing, MI)        

I wash my occasionally used sliver plate in the dishwasher, only thing i avoid is mixing it with stainless.  Been doing it for decades without issue.  Also put silver plated bowls, and other serving pieces in too, no issues.

Post# 941722 , Reply# 4   6/4/2017 at 10:53 by combo52 (Beltsville,Md)        

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I put my sterling silver in the DW with no ill effects, I do put it in separate compartments however so it does not touch any SS items in the same load.

Post# 941725 , Reply# 5   6/4/2017 at 11:27 by appnut (TX)        

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John, my mom used to do the same thing. 

Post# 941728 , Reply# 6   6/4/2017 at 12:09 by panthera (Rocky Mountains)        
I've washed wood and silver in the dishwasher for decade

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and decades and, despite the hysterical shrieks from various and sundry Queens who are already alarmed that I don't pre-scrub and wash, all the while leaving the hot water running, neither the wood nor the silver have suffered.

Now, silver and stainless touching is a no-no, and some woods and some silver (bone-glued handles) don't belong of course - but wooden spoons, scrapers, chopsticks, etc. and good plate/silver, no hu-hu.

Post# 941835 , Reply# 7   6/5/2017 at 02:40 by washdaddy (Baltimore)        

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It's pretty safe to wash your silver plate in a DW provided you use some precautions. You just need to make sure that you keep the different metals separated. If you don't it can cause staining in the metal. The other thing to make sure of is that the dish detergent when dispensed isn't dropped directly onto the silverware basket in the machine. The DW detergent can be corrosive to the metal and cause pitting. It isn't as corrosive once diluted by the water.

Post# 941894 , Reply# 8   6/5/2017 at 13:09 by Tomturbomatic (Beltsville, MD)        

For a decade or more, we put the Rodgers silver plate, before replacing it with the Paul Revere Stainless, in the dishwashers with no ill effects. Mom did not trust her sterling knife handles to the heat of the machines, but everything else went in, separated, of course. When the sterling filled the silver basket, I put the stainless, handles down and fork tines and spoon bowls spread out, in the deep basket for the Farberware perk.

Post# 941915 , Reply# 9   6/5/2017 at 16:04 by MIchaelman2 (Atlanta, GA)        

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Hi Paul,

As advised in my first posting. I prefer to err on the side of caution. I know people whom have placed silver plated items in a DW and they are fine for the first few times or years. Many times this flatware is used only for special occasions and not on a daily basis. I promise you, after a while the plating will be reduced and you will be sorry you elected to place the pieces in a DW.

However.... over time this does damage the pieces and I have seen it first hand. As for Sterling, it is not as succeptible to the alkaline detergents and high heat of a DW. I still do not place any super plate, sterling or crystal, china with gold or platinum embleshiment, in. DW.

There is a reason years ago some silver plated flatware was " hotel plated". This was a much more substantial plating and was typically used in better restaurants and hotels. Even those establishments had dishwashing machinery and they would still segregate the flatware and soak it, then for health inspection compliance, run it through a sanitizing cycle ( no detergent ).

PS, this was basically overkill. Silver inherently is a germacide.

Dishwashers are fantastic for most things and most utensils. As mentioned above if you elect to place silver in the machine, do not place stainless near it at all.

Post# 941921 , Reply# 10   6/5/2017 at 16:21 by foraloysius (Groningen, the Netherlands)        

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A cutlery tray, like my Miele dishwasher has, is ideal for keeping stainless steel flatware and silverware separated.

Post# 941924 , Reply# 11   6/5/2017 at 16:41 by MIchaelman2 (Atlanta, GA)        

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Louis does the tray keep the caustic / alkaline detergents from the silver flatware? My machines have segregated areas for flatware. I just have seen automatic dish-washed silver plate utensils after several washings and it shows wear.

My plea for the original posting was to err on the side of caution. Most likely his silver plated flatware is vintage ( as is mine), and as mentioned above even hotel plated items do show the effects of caustic detergents and very high heat.

Maybe they do not the first few times, however, I promise, the damage will occur. ( Damage = the metal beneath the plate begins to show on the plated items and the sterling items will lose the patina and at times can show pitting)

When I would have a large function where I would be using my silver plated items ( or even my sterling items), I would have a special tray or basin filled with hot water and Dawn, Joy, Ivory or Dove. A swish or so and then a good rinse with hot water, clean dry towel and into the silver chest they went.

I don't entertain on that scale anymore and hell, most of it was stollen last year during a robbery so I am not really concerned anymore about my pieces........ oh I hope the thugs that took my silver and silver plate knew to handwash the pieces. ( insert evil grin ).

Post# 941925 , Reply# 12   6/5/2017 at 16:50 by foraloysius (Groningen, the Netherlands)        

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No, the cutlery tray doesn't keep the detergent away from the silverware. But IMHO there are more factors playing a roll here. Prerinsing is a factor here. People who prerinse and use the full amount of detergent will see sooner problems with their silverware than people who don't. Like they will sooner have problems with the pump of the dishwasher because they totally kill the innards of a dishwasher when there are not enough greasy items in the dishwasher.

As for me, it's not a problem. I like modern design, classic styled silverware is not for me, I prefer stainless steel straight lines anyway.

Post# 941926 , Reply# 13   6/5/2017 at 17:03 by Rolls_rapide (Scotland, UK)        
Silver in the dishwasher

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Some European manufacturers of dishwashers actually provided as an 'optional extra', a 'silver cassette' to place the cutlery in.

Basically it was a rectangular box, which slotted into a compartment in the existing cutlery basket. I presume it was made from aluminium.

The effect would be the same as using a plastic basin, tin-foil, soda crystals and boiling water. Electro-chemical action.

And DO NOT allow stainless steel items to touch the silver, that includes the tub lining, door liner, stainless cutlery, etc, or tarnishing will occur.


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Post# 941927 , Reply# 14   6/5/2017 at 17:06 by Rolls_rapide (Scotland, UK)        

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Here's the open end.

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