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How to Clean and Care for Your Spoon Collection

Updated on September 7, 2012

The Value of Your Spoons

For me, spoon collecting is just a fun hobby, but for others they collect in order to make a profit someday. I do however, like to display my collection as conversation pieces and like for them to look as nice as possible. A lot of times collectors see the value in their collections, but it takes some time to make sure that the value is seen by others, especially if you plan to take your spoons to auction someday. Here you will find some cleaning tips and ways to find out how much your pieces may be worth.

Photo: Part of my spoon collection.

BEFORE CLEANING...

If you plan on selling your spoons at auction someday, ask an auction dealer or an appraiser before you clean your spoons, as some auction houses prefer to do it themselves or some damage could be done when cleaning on a regular basis. It is very important that unique markings be visible on the item; dates, brand, engraving, etc. When you are looking at selling, you will want to discuss how extensive of a cleaning should be done to assure that these markings are clearly showing.

Keep Your Spoons Looking Their Best

To keep your spoons in pristine condition, metal in particular, they should be kept in their individual original case. Many collectors like to display their spoons in cases, as I do, but unfortunately it can cause them to oxidize and wear, especially in very humid areas. If you do get a spoon display I would recommend one with a latch for closing instead of a magnet. Be careful when cleaning pieces in which something may be glued on, as the glue may come off. Also make sure to check which type of material your spoons are made of before choosing a method of cleaning.

Here are some tips on how to keep your metal spoons clean and get rid of tarnishing:

Save Money Cleaning Silver Spoons Using This Process!

The Materials You'll Need

All the products needed for using this method.


Hamilton Beach 40870 Stainless Steel 10-Cup Electric Kettle
Hamilton Beach 40870 Stainless Steel 10-Cup Electric Kettle

I have one of these helpful gadgets and it really comes in handy! It gives you the ability to boil water in seconds instead of minutes.

 
Gerber Birdseye Flatfold Cloth Diapers, White, 10 Count
Gerber Birdseye Flatfold Cloth Diapers, White, 10 Count

My favorite product to use when cleaning my spoon collection.

 

Baking Soda

Arm and Hammer Baking Soda from my Fridge
Arm and Hammer Baking Soda from my Fridge

Have some baking soda on hand, as this will be what you will use to clean your spoons - set aside.

Boil Water

Water boiling on my stove.
Water boiling on my stove.

Might take a few minutes - some may not have an electric kettle, so I boiled water on the stove.

Line Container with Aluminum Foil

Foil lined dish.
Foil lined dish.

Put hot pads underneath the container. I use the foil shiny side up, but I don't think it matters.

Place Silver Spoons on Top of Aluminum Foil

Tarnished spoons from my collection.
Tarnished spoons from my collection.

I find it works best to line the spoons up, so they have least amount of contact with each other. You can see how tarnished and dirty these spoons are.

Cover Spoons with Baking Soda

Spoons in baking soda.
Spoons in baking soda.

I cover the spoons completely, some say it is better to use it sparingly though, so you will have to decide what you are more comfortable with.

Pour Boiling Water over Spoons

Spoons during cleaning.
Spoons during cleaning.

Pour boiling water over top, completely immersing the spoons. This reaction is instant, so pour slowly, as the water will bubble rapidly when mixed with the baking soda.

Let sit until tarnish and scum is removed, approximately 5-10 min, flipping every so often with a plastic or wooden utensil to make sure each part of the spoon touches the aluminum foil, as the reaction will cause the silver to be shined. You will notice a couple of the spoons have turned dark, that will go away as it come in contact with the aluminum foil.

Rinse and immediately dry with cloth, I like to use cloth diapers, and avoid touching the spoon with your fingers. I find that the faster you polish, the shinier gets.

Voila!

After cleaning my dirty spoons.
After cleaning my dirty spoons.

Shiny silver spoons!

Extra Step - Vinegar Soak - To Remove Any Remaining Spots

Spoons with spots in vinegar.
Spoons with spots in vinegar.

If you still have spots, like I did on some of my pieces, after completing this process soak in vinegar for 2-3 hours. I even add a little baking soda to it. Polish with a little baking soda or toothpaste; possibly use a very soft toothbrush to do this. Rinse and dry/polish with soft cloth again.

Results - Large Serving Spoon

Serving spoon from my grandmother, after cleaning.
Serving spoon from my grandmother, after cleaning.

This process made this spoon look amazing!

Results - Italian and Oriental Spoon

Italy and Oriental spoon from my collection, after cleaning.
Italy and Oriental spoon from my collection, after cleaning.

These are two spoons that I received from my husband's travels that he found in a shop. They must have been under water or something because they had a large amount of calcium deposits. The spots aren't completely gone, but there is a drastic improvement!

Silver Cleaning from an Expert

An auction expert gives tips on how to clean silver.

Polishing Products

If you decide you'd like to use a polish on your spoons, make sure to read the directions carefully and always use gloves.


Twinkle Silver Polish Kit
Twinkle Silver Polish Kit

I've seen a lot of good reviews on this product. Supposedly you can use it once and your silver will shine for a year or two.

 

Materials Other Than Metal

For wood spoons it is recommended to wipe them with a damp cloth, if a thorough cleaning is needed use mild detergent and rinse, and rub with oil to avoid drying. As for porcelain, clean with soapy water and if there is rust clean the area with oil. If you have a piece that is ivory make sure to keep it out of the sun and dusted, do not soak, and if cleaning must be done you can supposedly use milk or plain yogurt.


Deadwood, South Dakota Souvenir Porcelain Spoon
Deadwood, South Dakota Souvenir Porcelain Spoon

Porcelain spoons can be very delicate, but stay looking great for years.

 
Rosanna NAPI-I Napoleon Iced Tea Spoons, Set of 4, Pearlized Ivory
Rosanna NAPI-I Napoleon Iced Tea Spoons, Set of 4, Pearlized Ivory

These unique spoons have beautiful ivory handles.

 

What is Your Collection Worth?

The real question on most people's mind is what their spoons are worth. Many factors go into finding out the exact value of each piece in a spoon collection: material, age, rarity, design, condition, etc., so it is hard to determine an exact dollar amount. Here is a site that might help you get a rough idea of how much your spoons might be valued at:

http://spoonplanet.com/value.html.

The best possible way to find out the monetary value of your collection is to have an appraiser come and take a look at your collection. In the mean time, here are some items to help you find out what your spoons may be worth:


The Value of My Spoon Collection

I love my spoons!  Photo credit: clker.com
I love my spoons! Photo credit: clker.com


I don't plan on selling my spoon collection unless one of my pieces were to make me a millionaire. I do have some pieces that worth more money than others because they were made by a company that stopped producing them or only a few were made. However, the sentimental value that I have for my spoons outweighs the monetary value ten fold.

Cleaning Spoons and Much More

Find out how to clean practically anything.

What way do you like to use to clean your spoons? What type of spoons do you like to collect?

Any Added Spoon Care Tips?

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    • profile image

      pam 3 years ago

      My spoons have white plastic ?? Ivory??insets that are painted.. Is it safe to clean them with this metho?

    • favored profile image

      Fay Favored 3 years ago from USA

      My sister has collected spoons and thimbles for years. I'm not sure how she cleans them so I'll be sure to share this to my kitchen board. BYW - nice collection.

    • Rymom28 profile image
      Author

      Rymom28 5 years ago

      @Magda2012: Glad to have helped!

    • Magda2012 profile image

      Magda2012 5 years ago

      Great lens. I don't have the spoon collections, but the information is useful to help me cleaning up the other metal stuff. thanks a lot

    • Rymom28 profile image
      Author

      Rymom28 5 years ago

      @soaringsis: We live in a really humid place and mine had been in storage which I think caused the tarnishing. Pewter also seems to last better than the silver because I too have never had my pewter spoons get really dirty. Thank you for leaving a comment!

    • profile image

      soaringsis 5 years ago

      I have a spoon set, they look like Pewter to me.I have them hanging on the wall in the case similar to yours. I just dust them. They don't appear to be tarnished. Great lens. Thanks for sharing.

    • SgtCecil profile image

      Cecil Kenmill 5 years ago from Osaka, Japan

      Nice pictures and vids. That "BEFORE CLEANING" tip will be a lifesaver for everyone who reads this lens.