No one wants to see their silver items lose their shine, but it’s something that typically happens to all of us over time. However, there are ways to prevent silver tarnish, and we’re here to share them with you.

For starters, let’s take a look at why silver tarnishes. Silver tarnishes because of a chemical reaction called oxidation. Hydrogen sulfide in the air causes silver to tarnish. But unlike rust, tarnishing only affects the top few layers of silver and does not harm the overall quality of the metal. Typically a good cleaning will take care of silver that has tarnished over time.

But here are some ways to prevent your silver from tarnishing more rapidly:

Wash by hand: Dishwashers are not silver-friendly. The chemicals in dishwasher detergent can corrode silver and allow tarnishing to happen sooner than it should. The best practice is to wash your silver by hand and use a gentle dish soap that is not harmful to metals. When you’re done, dry with a soft cloth that won’t scratch your silver.

Use frequently: Perhaps the best way to prevent silver tarnish is to use it frequently. By using your silver items regularly like eating with your silver utensils or wearing your silver jewelry, you are actually extending the life of its shine. Don’t just make your silver items for special occasions. Use your good silverware for Tuesday night dinner or wear your silver jewelry on a regular basis.

Keep dry: But when you aren’t wearing or using your silver items, be sure to keep it in a dry spot. A good trick can be to save the “do not eat” packets that are placed in packaging for shoes, medicine, and certain foods to absorb moisture. By not throwing these out and using them when storing your silver, you can keep your silver dry and prevent tarnishing. Chalk is also a good trick and a stick or two can be stored with your silver to absorb moisture.