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How do I remove these black marks?


please can someone advise how I get rid of these black marks?

the ones on the ashtray are presumably from cigarette burns but not sure about the dish.



That appears to be an English sterling tray. Have you tried silver polish? If so, what did you use? If you used polish and the marks remained, it may be corrosion which would have a crusty feel to their surface. If it is indeed corrosion, there is a simple way to remove it yourself. Do this in a well-ventilated area and with nitrile gloves since you will be using ammonia. Immerse the tray in a container of ammonia and let sit for ten minutes, then remove from the container and inspect. If the black corrosion spots remain, place the tray back in and let stand for another ten minutes and inspect again. If the corrosion is not gone after 30 minutes, have the tray professionaly refinished.

If the corrosion has dissolved, you may notice a slight graying of the silver. If this occurs, use Hagerty’s Silversmiths’ Wash, which is more abrasive than Tarni-Shield, Twinkle, Blitz, Weiman, Goddard’s, and Wright’s polishes. Apply a generous amount of Hagerty’s Silversmiths’ Wash on a damp sponge to bring back the surface, inside and outside of the shaker. If you find you need something even more abrasive, try a small amount of Bon Ami cleanser on a wet sponge and lightly rub to renew the silver luster. Perform the Bon Ami procedure under trickling water in your sink – this way the abrasive qualities of the cleanser are dissipated, leaving the silver brighter than if you were to maintain the full strength of the cleanser. As when polishing silver, always use the smallest amount of abrasive to do the job.

After the corrosion has been satisfactorily removed, use a rouge cloth to bring back the silver’s luster, then use Tarni-Shield Silver Polish, Twinkle Silver Polish, Blitz Silver Care Polish, Weiman Silver Polish, Goddard’s Long Shine Silver Polish, or Wright’s Anti-Tarnish Silver Polish on the exterior for protection against the elements.

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Jeff - great advice from the master! Our daughter had given me a pair of American sterling candlesticks that were badly “black spotted” and asked me to try and make them presentable…I had tried several different kinds of silver polish with less than sterling (pun) results, so I put them aside for another day.

I used your ammonia trick on them today and it worked great! I had to dip both of them twice for 10 minutes each and the black spots were gone, leaving a slightly rough whitish surface where they had been. I polished that out easily with jeweler’s rouge on a patch of wet fake chamois (its tan, comes in big sheets from the auto parts store, and is a dense foam, great for silver polishing), then followed with Goddard’s and lots of warm soapy water as I went along.

The candlesticks now look great and are ready to display for the holidays. Thanks again, Jeff.

Uncle Vic

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I know it’s an old post but what ammonia solution are you using to achieve the above? I have black stains on my candle sticks as well and can’t remove them using silver polish etc.

Are we talking 100% ammonia? Could anyone provide a link with a recommendation to Amazon. Thanks ! Attached a picture of the corrosion.

Yes, just pure ammonia like you get in the cleaners section of the grocery store. It’s worked very well for me on items that had black pitting.

Thanks Lemec for your response. I checked the Waitrose website and couldn’t find pure Ammonia on there - I also have never seen Ammonia at any of my local groceries stores. Would you mind providing me with a link of a product you know and worked for you? Much appreciated - thanks.

@Jeff_Herman Hi Jeff - I heard you might be able to help on the above? Thanks

This is the exact kind I get at my local, tiny, grocery store:

I’m surprised you don’t find any in the area where you get glass cleaners, kitchen cleanser, etc.

Lemec: you seem to be in the USA. Our OP is in the UK judging by his reference to Waitrose. Different countries, different availabilities.

Realitet: I suggest that you try silver dip (e.g. Goddard’s Silver Dip). Don’t overuse it as it can damage the surface, but as a method of last resort it may work.


Yes, I am in the US, I hadn’t realized where the OP was posting from.

Thanks - I did use a silver dip solution in the end which made a big difference - I didn’t want to leave it inside for too much as I understand these solutions are quite aggressive on the silver.

@lemec I am based in the UK indeed :slight_smile: