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Give a Natural Shine to the Holidays: Metal Polishes

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:

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.

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.

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.

Read more: Home, Household Hints, Non-Toxic Cleaning, , , ,

By Annie B. Bond

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Annie B. Bond

Annie is a renowned expert in non-toxic and green living. She was named one of the top 20 environmental leaders by Body and Soul Magazine and "the foremost expert on green living." - Body & Soul Magazine, 2009. Learn Annie's latest eco-friendly news on, a website dedicated to healthy and green living.

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11:12PM PDT on Jun 8, 2013

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

10:05AM PDT on Apr 13, 2013


5:35PM PST on Feb 21, 2013

Thanks for the tips!!!

2:27PM PDT on May 2, 2012

Useful tips.

5:21PM PST on Jan 11, 2012

great stuff-- I have some brass to polish!

3:20PM PST on Dec 16, 2011

Thank you

9:51PM PDT on Jul 28, 2011

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.

1:40PM PDT on Jun 30, 2011

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 site contains proper silver cleaning techniques

9:37AM PDT on Jun 22, 2011

I have heard that you should put salt on a piece of lemon and rub it on brass. Common sense tells me that will scratch it! Try Brassmate on brass and copper. Just submerge a piece in it and move it around for 30 seconds. Thats it! No rubbing or scratching. Simple.

12:58PM PDT on Apr 29, 2011

A combination of salt and vinegar also works well on brass.

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Thank you for sharing


Thanks for sharing :-)

Thanks so much for sharing! Great advice.


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