How not to clean your Nickel bronze silverware, Dear God don’t do what I did!

How not to clean your nickel bronze silver ware

How not to clean your nickel bronze silverware

Does having to clean bronze silverware make you cringe at the thought?

Do you want a safe and easy way to clean Nickel Bronze?

Don’t make the same mistake I did and make your bronze care simple, easy and headache free!

I admit when I first found my bronze silverware I didn’t even know it was bronze. I had been looking for silverware that was a good weight that would actually last, but I didn’t want to spend a fortune on them either!  Growing up we had silverware that lasted for years, never got brown spots on them and always looked pretty. I was having such a hard time finding the perfect set.

One day at one of my favorite goodwill stores I spotted this intriguing wooden box that looked like it had been around for years, opened it up and there was the prettiest set of silverware with such a unique tropical bamboo design I was intrigued. They we very tarnished and all I could think of was how pretty the silverware would be once it was cleaned. As I walked around all I could think of was what great quality they were and how pretty they would be when we had friends over for a tiki party I was planning. We walked around for awhile and decided I just had to have them! On the way home I stopped for the silver cleaner I wanted to use for my new silverware. Little did I know that was a big mistake.

How to clean nickel bronze silverware

Once I got home I just had to try cleaning one knife so I could see how pretty it was going to be, and instead of making it beautiful the knife turned this horrible brownish black color. I had looked at the name on the silverware before “cleaning” it but since it was tarnished I couldn’t read it so good.Not one to panic, I decided to figure out why that happened.

Oh my it was not silver after all, It was Nickel Bronze. The great thing about my new find was that it is extremely durable and a great weight! Yay! While it is very nice quality it also is very porous, which meant that chemical cleaners could damage it! I needed to find a way to clean my nickel bronze silverware.

Thank goodness I only wrecked one knife and didn’t grab the whole 12 piece setting! So I went to work finding the best way to clean them. I hope you never having to go through what I did! Since the bronze nickel is porous, and I now knew that it is easy to damage using commercial polishes I wanted a better way.

How to clean nickel bronze silverware

Here’s what works beautifully!

Your going to need-

Rubber gloves, I used dish washing gloves

A big bowl

White Vinegar, Salt and flour

1) Get your gloves on! You will be using your hands to mix this

2) Make sure you put it in a big bowl because you will be mixing it with flour and it will be a mess

3) Combine 1 teaspoon of salt to 1 cup of white vinegar, I was able to do the whole 12 piece setting with this amount

4) Mix enough flour into it until the consistency resembles toothpaste. You don’t want it to run off the silverware. Make a nice paste that will stay on as you rub it on

5) You don’t need to be particular when putting it on. Remember to get ends and sides of bronze ware, it is thicker than regular silverware so easy to miss

6) Set aside for 30-60 minutes

7) Rinse in warm water getting all paste off as quickly as possible. Do not let it sit in water

8) Wipe dry with a cloth and using another soft cloth polish


It comes out gorgeous with a spectacular shimmering look to it!

Store them in a nice warm place wrapped in cloth and you will enjoy them for many many years!

Bronze metal color is super hot this year and I was thrilled to find this set. I hope you enjoy yours as much!

Leave me a comment, I would love to hear where you found your set and how your bronze ware came out!

How to clean Nickel Bronze Silverware


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  1. How has using the bronze daily done over time? I have a huge set my dad brought back from Thailand in the 1960s and I’m thinking about using it as my daily flatware.

    1. Oh Janelle what a wonderful treasure you have! I have only used for small quaint dinner with friends and special occasions.
      While they are Gorgeous, It saves me from having to go through that process. Also they need to be kept in a air tight container to help them stay shiny and beautiful.
      I would suggest washing and drying them right away after using. I guess that is why modern silverware is easy care lol
      Keep me posted!
      Jan xoxo

    2. Hi Janelle,
      I also have a huge set that my father brought back from Thailand in the 50s. My set has teakwood handles with little buddhas carved on each piece. They are exquisite. Does your set have wood handles as well? Have you ever had it appraised? I did an online search to try and find a set like mine and get an idea of what it is worth. I’ve seen quite a few from Thailand that have Rosewood handles but no teakwood and no carved buddhas. I was researching how to clean mine when I came across this site. I looked at my set for the first time in years yesterday while cleaning out the garage.
      The felt inside the box is all messed up and the flatware is tarnished. I’m going to try and replace the felt before I clean the set. I want to keep the large wood box that it came with. It’s beautiful and it has pull out drawers and slots to accommodate all the large serving pieces. I’ve got my work cut out for me with this project!

  2. Hi Jan, Nice to meet you 😉
    I saw your post last night and just tried your mixture on my cutelery set… I do have one since 1983(!) , the straight model (my mother has the bamboo one) and its cleaning has been always the struggle 🙁
    Has I have the complete set of 144 pieces, I did a bit more that the quantities you mentioned, but, it didn’t work…
    Are you using a special vinegar or a regular one? Is the salt, the I’ve we use to cook, or the thin one? I plan to go and buy more vinegar today, as I decided to start using this set on a regular basis…
    Hope to have any other tip from your experience! Thanks in advance. Cheers, filipa

    1. Hi Filipa,I used just regular cooking salt and regular white vinegar. Make sure it is a thick consistency!
      Perhaps try leaving on for longer and make sure the are coated well!
      Good luck!

  3. Hi! I found your article while researching how to clean these silverware sets. Like you I stopped at a local goodwill, picked up this heavy box, and to my surprise it was this nearly brand new set some pieces still wrapped in plastic! They are a bamboo pattern – my wife loves it! Can’t wait till we clean them with your suggested method this weekend. It was a good deal too. The set was priced at $40 but they had 50% off yellow tag items – so it made it $20 and I had $5 in goodwill rewards point so with tax paid $16 and change! Looking forward to bringing back the sparkle. Thanks for the article!!!

  4. I bought a beautiful set at a yard sale last weekend and have yet to clean them but your suggestion on how-to, I trust will work! Thanks for keeping me from making a mistake.

  5. I am so grateful – I have always fancied this set of bamboo bronzeware, but just bought one on ebay. I was horrified to read instructions on cleaning it, but your way sounds doable and worthwhile. Thank you so much for sharing.

  6. I have a beautiful old boxed 8 piece set with large spoon and fork, only just read your post and I think you have saved my set, thank you SO much,

  7. I also have a beautiful Thai set and I wondering if it is possible to get the whole set “dipped” in something so that we don’t have to go through this performance every time!

  8. Hello! I recently purchased a bronze cutlery set at my local antique shop and it is beautiful. However, the stems are partially made of wood. They are super clean and shiny already so I’m not sure whether I should just wash them in soapy water, or use the process that you mentioned. Any suggestions would be much appreciated!

  9. Wow. Thank you for this thread! I have the same bamboo pattern 144 piece set and was wondering how to care/ clean them and possibly begin using at least the serving pieces. My set was bought by my parents when we were stationed in Pattaya, Thailand back in the early 70’s.

  10. I’ve decided to use the set my dad brought when he was a Marine in Vietnam everyday since saving for a grand occasion meant never. Found your post while researching how to care for them. The Dirilyte Company used to make solid bronze flatware and serving pieces. They still sell polish through their website and ebay. I’m going to try your method first, since it is environmentally-sound and the commercial polish may not be.

    1. I hear ya, what good is it if we don’t use items we love!?
      I am a big environmental, natural organic kind of gal and will be refocusing
      this blog on natural organic health and wellness posts so stay tuned! Enjoy
      Your silverware xoxo Jan

  11. Hello,
    I just purchased the vintage bamboo set and the instructions that came woth it said you could wash in a dishwasher but must use mild detergent. I am going to use them daily and was hoping they can be put on the dishwasher.

    1. That is so lovely you will be using everyday! The air getting to them is what will discolor them so I suggest to keep them somewhere that will not get opened a lot. It will help if you can use the daily ones in ziplock bag
      Thanks Jan xoxo

  12. We have a set of bronze nickel cutlery with rosewood handles that we bought from an antiques fair years ago. We just rediscovered it after having a new kitchen fitted. It had been in the bottom of my pine dresser for years, forgotten about! It still has its original set of cleaning instructions with it in its box! It says just to wash it in clean water with mild detergent, not to use abrasive polishes. It is essential to get the cutlery into clean water as soon as possible after use to avoid stains! Ours is not tarnished but has a slight ‘bloom’ to it, possibly from it having been cleaned with brasso before we bought it. We have had it for about 20 years but never used it. We bought it to use on special occasions but never got it out. We will now! It will look beautiful in our new grey/duck egg blue kitchen.

  13. I have this old set never used Stan
    Bronze Factory solid bronze handmade in Thailand is it worth any thing about 132 pieces was bought in the service 45 years ago still in the same box

  14. I want to THANK YOU for posting this! I JUST purchased a 12 service set of Thai Nickel Bronze flatware, and want to make sure they stay beautiful for years to come. You saved me from potentially ruining my treasured find!

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