Holiday Entertaining: How To Care For Silver, China and Crystal

how to care for silver

If you’re pulling out the formal dinnerware for holiday parties, you need to know how to care for silver, china and crystal.

The holiday season bring a joyous time of friends and family. While visitors come from near and far, the holiday hostess will start preparing the fine dinnerware for the various festivities that will ensue. If you’re like many families your fine dinnerware is stored for special occasions. As it is brought out and dusted off we want to be sure the china, silver and crystal is looking its best. How do we keep it looking its best from the first use to putting it away at the end of the celebration?

How To Care For Silver, China and Crystal

Glassware and Crystal

Whether you have crystal or glassware, unsightly water spots and cloudiness will take away from your beautiful holiday table. Cloudiness can be the result of either mineral deposits or excess heat. If your crystal glasses are cloudy due to minerals in your water, they are easily cleaned up. When pulling your glasses out of the cupboard, wash them up with a small amount of a mild detergent. Using lukewarm water will eliminate the threat of damage to your glassware since high amounts of heat can cause permanent cloudiness. After washing, rinse with water and white vinegar to clear up any lingering cloudiness. If the cloudiness is pervasive, you can use a small amount of CLR cleaner to take out the mineral deposits (do not use CLR if the glassware has metal trim). To prevent water spots, dry the pieces right away with either a lint free cloth or paper towel.

(The most popular paper towel with Viewpoints consumers is definitely Bounty.)


Whether you are like me and stick with everyday dishes, or bring out the fine china for the festivities, you want it looking its best. One of the biggest blemishes on plates are scuff marks from scraping forks and knives. A simple trick that will easily take out those unsightly gray lines is to clean them with a paste made from Cream of Tartar and water.

To avoid damage while washing up, especially for your fine china plates, make sure to wash using a mild, non-abrasive detergent. Dawn Original Dish Detergent is the top-rated dish detergent that is mild for your delicate dishes, yet strong enough to clean off the stuck on mashed potatoes. You will want to avoid fancier detergents with additives like citrus or bleach as these will, in the long run, damage your plates.

While my dinnerware is a ceramic that is made to withstand a dishwasher, many china pieces cannot (even if they say dishwasher safe). If you must use a dishwasher, select the gentle cycle to avoid high heat damage.

Silver and flatware

Every year we would take out the good silver to use for holidays. Every year we had to make sure to shine up the silver so it was bright for the guests. If you prefer that nice antiqued look, pull your silver out more often and use it on a regular basis. Shine it up with a silver cloth and/or polish for a spotless table setting. After the big meal, be sure to wash your silver pieces as soon as possible. Allowing food, especially salt and citrus, sit on the silver will quickly erode the surface. Silver should be hand washed with a mild detergent and dried immediately to prevent spotting.

Whether you’re informal or your family gatherings are fully formal, setting a beautiful table creates the perfect holiday celebration backdrop. Mild cleaners and a little patience go a long way in keeping your dining best looking their best. Need ideas on other quick and easy cleaning tips? Check out the best cleaning products to have on have during the holidays.

Carrie Chance (63 Posts)

Carrie Chance has long been active in the consumer reviews space, as both a writer and a reviewer. She has a special interest in kids and family issues. Carrie works full-time as a pre-school administrator and is mom to three young children of her own. She and her family live in Lansing, Michigan.