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Wash or rinse cutlery as soon as possible after you've used it. Foods with a high sulphide content (including eggs, fish, and green vegetables) and salty and acidic foods stain cutlery if left stuck on for any amount of time.
Dry your cutlery as soon as it is clean, even if washed in a dishwasher. Some stainless steel utensils will get marks when they are air-dried, and knife blades are particularly vulnerable to corrosion when exposed to hard-water minerals.
Don't store cutlery loose in a tray or drawer—you just increase the risk of scratching the pieces. Store similar-sized knives, forks, and spoons in their own compartments in a cutlery tray. If you don't have room for tray in one of your kitchen drawers, you can buy a silverware stand that sits on your counter.
Clean silver-plated cutlery with soda. Placing a piece of aluminum foil in a plastic bowl, set your cutlery on the foil, and add a handful of washing soda. Run hot water into the bowl until your silverware is clean. Rinse, dry, and polish.
In a pinch, a number of items can serve as eating utensils, but before using any item, make sure you clean it thoroughly. Be creative when you have no silverware, and you'll find that almost anything can serve as an eating utensil.
Substitutes for a knife include a seashell edge, a metal nail file, a letter opener, the serrated edge of an aluminum foil box or plastic wrap box, a single-edged razor blade, scissors, or even a sharp-edged rock.
As a makeshift fork, use a sharpened twig, a knife, a skewer, or your fingers.
As a substitute spoon, you could use a seashell, a small stone with a hollow, a tin lid, or molded aluminum foil.
Also stock up on plastic utensils when you go out to eat so you can have a few spares to pack in your lunch or to use when nothing else is clean. You can keep a few throw-away spoons and forks in your car for emergencies, too.