Give a Natural Shine to the Holidays: Metal Polishes

I like to make my home as beautiful and welcoming as possible during the holidays, and one way I do this is to polish all the silver, pewter, and brass, so it reflects the light of candles. Here are the formulas I use to polish safely and without chemicals:

Silver
If you have a small job, the best silver polish is white toothpaste. Dab some on your finger, and rub into the tarnish. For bigger pieces, use baking soda and a clean, damp sponge. Make a paste of baking soda and water. Scoop the paste onto the sponge, and rub the paste into the silver. Rinse with hot water and polish dry with a soft, clean cloth. For badly tarnished silver, leave the baking soda paste on the silver for an hour or so, before cleaning off with the help of the sponge and hot water.

Brass
There are easy, good ways to clean brass without using a synthetic commercial cleaner that may have toxic ingredients.

Most commonly used kitchen cupboard or refrigerator ingredients that contain a natural acid, such as vinegar, Tobasco Sauce, ketchup, tomatoes, milk, and lemon or lime juice, will remove tarnish on brass. The tarnish washes away with an acid rub or soak. You might have to remove the lacquer cover if the brass is new. Do this by submerging the brass in boiling water with a few teaspoons each baking soda and washing soda (available in the laundry section of the supermarket). Once the lacquer has peeled off, polish dry.

Pewter
It is hard to clean pewter, but the tarnished look is part of its appeal. The best folk formula I know to clean pewter is to grind up a piece of chalk and add enough vodka or gin to make a paste. Massage the paste onto the metal, rinse, and polish dry with a clean cloth.

By Annie B. Bond

20 comments

William C
William C10 months ago

Thanks.

SEND
W. C
W. C10 months ago

Thank you.

SEND
Terry Bell
.4 years ago

Thanks for the article! You can also use an all natural silver polish such as an ecology polishing pad for hard to remove tarnish.

SEND
Aud Nordby
Aud n4 years ago

ty

SEND
Aletta Kraan
Aletta Kraan4 years ago

Thanks for the tips!!!

SEND
Elizabeth O.
.5 years ago

Useful tips.

SEND
Kathleen L.
Kathleen L5 years ago

great stuff-- I have some brass to polish!

SEND
Michele Wilkinson

Thank you

SEND
Robyn L.
Robyn P6 years ago

gee, a lot of identical posts for a product here.

and a glaring typo. It is Tabasco sauce, after the tabasco pepper. Not "Tobasco."

I'm waiting for Care 2 to start editing and fact checking.


SEND
Jeff Herman
Jeff Herman6 years ago

Annie, I respectfully disagree. Toothpaste should NEVER be used as a silver polish. Some toothpastes contain baking soda or other ingredients which are much too abrasive; even trace amounts can cause serious damage. Use polishes that are specifically formulated to remove tarnish from silver. My Web at hermansilver.com site contains proper silver cleaning techniques


SEND