holiday prep time: cleaning up and setting up


Last week, I decided to be proactive and plan the holiday table. While my goal remains to become a flea market regular and find an eclectic mix of red transferware plates for the holidays, for now, it’s the Maribeth salad plates from Pier 1. Paired with my everyday (and only) china, they do the trick. Next, a mix of antique pewter liquor cups and gills filled with Nandina berries and boxwood plucked from the backyard. Finally, I pulled out our wedding crystal and pewter candlesticks (last used in August) and realized I (gulp) had more cleaning left to do. Here are some of my fave pre- and post-event cleaning tricks:

Wax drips: If you have wax drips on a tablecloth or candlesticks, a short trip to the freezer will do the trick. Wait until the wax hardens, then chip off. If a wax stain remains on your linens, you will either need to pour hot water over the stain or iron between sheets of paper towels before treating and washing.

Pewter: If dusting doesn’t seem to do the trick for pewter, stick with soap and water. Anything else will ruin the patina that develops naturally over time.

Crystal: A few drops of vinegar added to warm, soapy water will make crystal stemware sparkle. If you have a pitcher or decanter that is cloudy, add the same vinegar/soap/water mixture plus enough uncooked rice to “scrub” the inside while you swirl the liquid around.

Silver: Rather than paying for a chemical cleaner, go the old fashioned (and green) route. Line a container with aluminum foil. Place the silver so every piece is touching the foil and add hot water until the items are submerged. Add a small amount of salt, then a cup or two of fresh baking soda and wait until the tarnish dissolves. When the water is cool, remove silver and polish with a soft, dry cloth. — Sarah L.

From our partners

how well does this silver polish route work? I spend way too much holiday prep time on polishing silver.

Sarah L.

Ellie, it worked pretty well for me, but admittedly I have tons of old pewter and only two pieces of silver. I double-checked my recipe before posting and there are tons of sites out there listing something similar. As long as the baking soda is fresh, it should work!

Mary T

Just a note that the post originally said baking powder where it should have said soda — I have fixed above! Sorry for the confusion.