Silver cloth is a non-abrasive fabric that protects sterling silver and silverplate items from tarnish while in storage. It works by absorbing sulfur compounds in the air, particularly hydrogen sulfide. This prevents the chemical from reaching the silver. The material can be purchased at most hardware stores or from online retailers that sell jewelry packaging and storage products. It can also be made at home by soaking a soft square of flannel in a solution of liquid silver polish and cleaning agents and then drying the cloth with gloved hands.
Unlike many silver polishing cloths, silver cloth does not require washing before use. Washing destroys the polishing and anti-tarnish materials woven into the cloth. It can be used for years as long as it is not washed or contaminated with other substances that could damage silverware, such as dyes and chemicals.
Most silver cloths work best when stored in a tight-fitting storage chest or box along with a dry desiccant such as silica gel or activated charcoal to absorb the acidic airborne pollutants that cause tarnishing. The humidity should be low, too, as high humidity can accelerate tarnishing.
The fabric is a heavy-duty cotton flannel that has been impregnated with a non-abrasive blend of silver polishing and anti-tarnish agents. It is sold by the yard and commonly used to line silver chests or cases, jewelry boxes, drawer liners or to make silver flatware rolls and bags. Many customers have had a zippered bag or flatware roll made from Pacific silvercloth for several generations and still keep their silver absolutely tarnish-free.