Many people think sterling silver flatware is not dishwasher-safe. However, a number of leading brands of silver, such as Puiforcat, Vienna Silver, Christofle and [Georg Jensen], clearly state that their sterling flatware can be washed in the dishwasher. You should consult your manufacturer through your retailer, or directly, to be sure of the manufacturer’s recommendation. (Note that some manufacturers will take a cautious approach, advising hand-washing when the dishwasher is perfectly safe. If the flatware is a good brand, and new, test a few pieces.)
Washing in the dishwasher has the dual advantage: your flatware will be cleaner, and the more often you use and wash your flatware, the less it will tarnish. A few rules:
- Use a gentle detergent that does not contain citric acid (e.g. lemon).
- Do not mix metals in the dishwasher Turn your heated drying cycle off. Heated drying will destroy metal.
- Ideally, wipe your flatware down with a soft cloth after washing. In the alternative, save this step for later, before the next use (or before your next dinner party).
If your meal has included such things as eggs, mayonnaise (or salad dressing containing these ingredients) or seafood, it is essential to rinse soon after using your flatware. These foods are notorious for causing tarnishing—sometimes extreme—if not rinsed soon after using.
If you have older sterling, it can still go into the dishwasher, but your knives should probably not go into the dishwasher. If placed in the dishwasher, bleeding can occur between the handle and the blade.