Cutlery care guide

At johnlewis.com and in our shops we carry a wide range of formal and casual cutlery with 3 types of finish: stainless steel, silver-plated and sterling silver. Whichever you choose, with a little effort they’re easy to care for, so you can keep them gleaming and tarnish-free when they’re not in use.

Stainless steel

Cleaning stainless steel

While stainless steel is stain resistant, it’s not stain proof.

  • Wash separately from silver and sterling silver plated cutlery - any contact while wet can result in a chemical reaction that can damage the silver
  • Restore shine with stainless steel polish
  • Take special care with knives - the higher percentage of chrome makes them more prone to corrosion

Stainless steel cutlery

The highest quality is 18/10, meaning it contains 18% chrome for durability and protection against corrosion, and 10% nickel for lustre and resistance to high temperatures. Stainless steel knife blades contain 13% chrome and no nickel, ensuring a longer lasting, sharper edge.

Silver-plated

Silver-plated cutlery

Silver coating is applied to cutlery made from a mixture of copper, zinc and nickel. The minimum British standard is 20 microns – our entire range of silver plated cutlery has at least a 30 micron rating. Both silver-plated and sterling silver cutlery are corrosion-resistant, but can be tarnished by sulphides in the atmosphere and in certain foods, such as egg

Cleaning silver plated cutlery

  • Wash separately from stainless steel – any contact while wet can result in a chemical reaction that can damage the silver
  • Restore the shine with a soft dry cloth, and store in an anti-tarnish roll or canteen

Sterling-silver

Sterling-silver plated cutlery

Our sterling silver cutlery (available to order only) is 92.5% pure silver, and every item is hallmarked to guarantee quality. Silver is a soft metal, which scratches easily, but with proper care, over time it develops a beautiful sheen.

Cleaning sterling silver-plated cutlery

  • Wash separately from stainless steel to avoid damage
  • Use silver dip or a silver polish to clean tarnished silver, following manufacturers’ instructions, and use a silver cloth.

Cleaning advice

Caring for your cutlery

Our Cleaning department sells stainless steel polish, while Silverware sells anti-tarnish rolls and canteens, which are designed for larger collections of cutlery and can be bought separately. They’re usually lined with a soft fabric like flock to protect the cutlery from scuffs and tarnishing.

General cleaning tips

  • Unless clearly marked, all our cutlery patterns are
    dishwasher safe
  • Always use liquid detergent, not powder
  • Don’t use wire wool or abrasive cleaners
  • Restore shine with a dry soft  cloth