Why Does Silverware Turn Black?

Silverware, also known as silver utensils or silver cutlery, is prone to turning black due to a process called tarnishing. Tarnishing is the result of a chemical reaction between the silver in the silverware and sulfur-containing compounds in the air or in certain foods. When silver comes into contact with these compounds, it reacts to form a thin layer of black silver sulfide on the surface of the silverware.

There are several factors that can contribute to the tarnishing of silverware:

  1. Humidity: Silverware is more prone to tarnishing in humid environments due to the presence of more sulfur-containing compounds in the air.
  2. Food and drink: Some foods and drinks, such as eggs, onions, and tomatoes, contain high levels of sulfur and can cause silverware to tarnish more quickly.
  3. Contact with other metals: Silverware that comes into contact with other metals, such as copper or brass, can tarnish more quickly due to a process called galvanic corrosion.
  4. Lack of use: Silverware that is not used regularly is more prone to tarnishing due to the lack of friction that helps to remove the tarnish.

Tarnishing is a natural process that cannot be completely prevented, but there are ways to slow it down. Silverware can be stored in a dry, cool place and should be washed and dried immediately after use to prevent tarnishing. Using silverware regularly can also help to prevent tarnishing, as the friction of use helps to remove the tarnish. Silverware can be polished with a silver polish or a mixture of baking soda and water to remove tarnish and restore its shine.

Was this article helpful?