How do I clean my antique candle holders?

Make your antique candelabra shine in time for the festive season with these useful cleaning tips and tricks!

A woman holds a silver-gilt candelabra, one of a pair whilst wearing gloves

The beauty of an antique silver candelabrum adds undeniable opulence to any interior and a wow factor to table settings.

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Whether solid or plated, candelabra were made to be used but, like all silver objects, they are prone to tarnish.

Tarnish begins as a thin yellowish-brown layer, which then turns bluish and then black. If you use your candelabra as they were intended, you may also have deposits of hardened wax to remove to keep them looking their best.

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You will need

  1. Warm soapy water
  2. Cotton or plastic gloves (not rubber as this reacts with the silver)
  3. Goddard’s silver polish
  4. A toothbrush/cotton buds
  5. Soft dry cotton cloths
1

Begin by placing the candelabrum on a table and stand up to clean it. Don’t be tempted to put it on the floor and lean over it – the joint at the base of the stem is fragile and easily broken by inadvertently applying too much pressure on it in this way.

2

Carefully take the candelabrum apart, removing each of the sconces and branches, one by one, from the main stem.

3

Wash in warm soapy water and dry thoroughly – this will usually remove tarnish as well as dust.

4

If the sconces are covered in hardened wax deposit, soak them in hot water until the wax softens and can be gently removed. Avoid using anything sharp to scrape it off.

5

Clean the dry candelabrum very gently, applying Goddard’s silver polish with a soft cloth. Use a toothbrush or cotton buds to remove tarnish from intricate nooks and crannies.

6

Buff with a soft cloth, to restore shine.

7

Wash again, taking care to remove all polish. Dry and buff again. According to experts, this final post-polish wash helps significantly to maintain the shine and prevents tarnish from returning for longer.