As we've stated earlier, sterling is 92.5% silver and 7.5% something else, often copper. If you wash your new sterling in a dishwasher, water droplets may form on the surface of your pieces. As the pieces dry, the water reacts with the copper and forms brown spots.
After repeated use and washings, the copper on the surface of the pieces gradually wears away, leaving a pure silver surface. The problem will be eliminated. Here are some ways to avoid the problem to begin with, any one of which should work.
- Wash your flatware by hand for at least the first ten times you use it.
- Use a wetting agent in your dishwasher.
- Remove the sterling pieces before the dishwasher drying cycle begins, then hand dry.
Of course, we prefer never to use a dishwasher to wash sterling flatware. See our earlier post, Washing Sterling Flatware in a Dishwasher.
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