The best way to clean silver and silver plate is by hand rubbing it with commercial polish or a paste of baking soda and water. Wear rubber gloves to protect your hands. Wash and dry dusty pieces beforehand. Apply the polish with a soft, dry cloth, rubbing lengthwise, not crosswise or in circles.
Use a small, soft brush to clean crevices. Coat a string with paste and rub it between tarnished fork tines. Wash the silver, rinse it, and buff with a soft cloth or chamois.
Two other polishing methods, dip polishes and the electrolytic process, are easier, but can dull or whiten the silver. They are not recommended.
To retard tarnishing, store silver in a specially lined chest or drawer, or wrap it in tarnish-inhibiting fabric. Do not use plastic wrap: it can cause hard-to-remove spots. Also, rubber bands can stain silver, even through layers of wrapping.