Best way to clean Silver on tack? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 05-13-2010, 11:12 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Washington State
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Best way to clean Silver on tack?


I am a member on a university equestrian team and I have recently been given responsibility for putting on a tack cleaning fundraiser event. Without being too arrogant, I'm a miracle worker with leather... but I'm an english rider and have always worked with english tack in the past, which doesn't have much silver on it. We are expecting to receive both english and western tack during our event and I need to be "educated" as far as cleaning tarnished and/or dirty silver on tack.

Any other tips about cleaning western versus english tack would be much appreciated.

Thanks in advance!
Eolith is offline  
post #2 of 6 Old 05-13-2010, 11:37 PM
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Eek, I think this is my fault. I emailed today asking about silver. You will get our nice old saddle that day. My 8 year old has picked her college because she found out my alma mater has an equestrian team!

Fowl Play is offline  
post #3 of 6 Old 05-14-2010, 01:25 AM
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Here is a link that describes caring for a western show saddle. You can use many things on silver, including the spray they mention, various commercially made creams, WHITE toothpaste, or a past made from baking soda and water. The most important thing to have if you expect to do lots of silver is terrycloth, and lots of it. You use it to clean, and then use a clean piece to polish. I guarantee that your terrycloth will be black, so don't use good towels, LOL. Some headstalls and breastcollars, and to a lesser extent reins, have rawhide and silver. Make sure you don't let your silver polish get on the rawhide or the leather. Here is a link that describes cleaning rawhide. Care and Cleaning Rawhide Trim
A lot of saddles are tooled, which can make them difficult to clean. Not terrible, but compared to an English saddle, not so easy either. If you polish belt buckles, be aware that a damaged finish on goldtoned areas should not be polished with many cleaners. I had an award buckle that I didn't realize had a damaged finish, and I polished the gold right off.

You need:
Leather cleaning supplies, which it sounds like you've got a grip on. I would add a soft brush or something for deeply tooled leather.
Silver polish, either store bought or home made, and plenty of terry cloths. I like the cheap bar rags you can get at Wal-Mart. Last time I bought them I got 20 for $6 or something.
Elbow grease and lots of helpers! It sounds like a wonderful idea, and I hope you all raise a lot of money. Good luck!
aforred is offline  
post #4 of 6 Old 05-14-2010, 04:58 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Fowl Play View Post
Eek, I think this is my fault.
Certainly not your fault! A lot of western tack has silver and our team needs to do as good a job as we can with it. I'm actually glad that you brought it to my attention... and just because I personally do not have as much experience with the western tack doesn't mean much, our team has several western riders who I'm sure will be far more familiar with the process. I'm actually looking forward to learning a bit more about it, seeing as I'm starting to learn western riding myself and need to know about the tack!

Thanks so much for the links and the advice aforred! As for the tooling, I was thinking of buying a whole bunch of cheap soft-bristled toothbrushes for the job... those would do the job wouldn't they?
Eolith is offline  
post #5 of 6 Old 05-14-2010, 05:03 PM
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I keep a couple of old, soft-bristled toothbrushes around to clean my heavily tooled western saddles. They are great for getting the saddle soap in there and the dirt out without damaging the leather.
Ridehorses99 is offline  
post #6 of 6 Old 05-14-2010, 07:51 PM
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My husband is a silversmith, so I posted this querry to him. He said to avoid getting conventional silver cleaner on the leather, don't use a liquid silver polish. Get some polishing cloths made especially for cleaning jewellery. You can get them at any jewellery counter at a department store. The good ones have an inner cloth loaded up with polishing rouge and the outer cloths are super soft flannel. Use the rouge first in a circular motion and buff with the soft cloth. That's it!

~Lindsay~ Mom of 2, wife to the goldsmith, doula and childbirth educator in training, life-long horse dork
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