Guide to caring for your cutlery

Finding the best cutlery depends on whether it's for everyday use, formal evening meals at a dining room table, casual picnics, or for the kids to use. As with dinnerware a high quality set of cutlery adds extra style to mealtimes, and with the right care and attention a cutlery set can last a lifetime.

The vast majority of products come in three types of finish - stainless steel cutlery, silver-plated cutlery and sterling silver cutlery. How you look after them depends on the material, so help keep your knives, forks, and spoons looking great with this handy guide.

General cutlery care

Whether it's stainless steel cutlery or silver-plated cutlery, different types of cutlery require different types of care. That being said, there are a few key rules that apply to any kind of metal eating utensil to ensure they're kept in good condition.

Never leave wet cutlery out to dry. This is the quickest way to degrade the surface and the fastest route to spots to appear on the cutlery. Leaving it on a rack to air dry can cause stains to develop. Once it's washed, dry it and put it away.

Remember not to use wire wool, or washing powder, as this can damage the metal. Use a soft sponge and washing up liquid for the best results, and remember to always check that the cutlery is dishwasher safe.

Caring for stainless steel cutlery

A common misconception is that stainless steel is stain proof - it isn't. Stainless steel is a durable material that is very resistant to stains, but continuous contact with acidic foods, as well as salt and water, can result in marks on the surface. Make sure your cutlery is stored in a drawer that isn't susceptible to dampness or humidity.

Most stainless steel cutlery is dishwasher safe, but always check before you buy. Dishwashers should be emptied quickly once the cycle has finished, and giving the cutlery an extra wipe over with a tea towel to ensure that it is 100% dry will help keep it in good condition.

Caring for silver-plated cutlery

Due to its durability and aesthetic appeal silver-plated cutlery is a popular choice for the dinner table. It is easy to care for, and will keep its shine if you follow some simple steps.

Silver is a softer metal than stainless steel, so keeping the two together can cause damage to the silver surface. With this in mind stainless steel cutlery shouldn't be left in contact with silver-plated cutlery, whether in a dishwasher or in the kitchen drawer.

For extra protection you can opt to store your silver cutlery in a canteen or anti-tarnish roll as this will help it to keep a bright surface. And remember to dry the individual knives, forks, and spoons by hand.

By using a cloth and silver polish, you can keep your silver-plated utensils looking as good as new with a near mirror-perfect shine. Never use wire wool or abrasive cleaning materials as this will cause irreparable scratches. A sponge and washing up liquid are best for washing it by hand and you should avoid using dishwasher powder with this method.

Caring for sterling silver cutlery

One of the most beautiful types of cutlery, sterling silver knives and forks make for a premium product that adds sparkle to any kitchen. As with any premium product, sterling silver cutlery requires a little extra care and attention.

Certain acidic foods and foods that contain sulphides can tarnish the silver, meaning it is always important to clean and clear food particles from the cutlery soon after use. Always wash separately from stainless steel cutlery as having the two together can cause a chemical reaction that damages the silver, not to mention that stainless steel is harder and can scratch the silver too. It is advisable to store silver cutlery in a felt lined drawer for extra protection.

If your silver cutlery has developed stains, use a good quality cloth and silver polish to remove the stains.

A high-quality cutlery set is a fantastic addition to any kitchen, and with the right care and attention a set can last a lifetime. Browse Tesco's range of cutlery today, and find the right set for you and your home.