Make silver sparkle without the chemicals in conventional metal cleaners — including the neurotoxin ethylene glycol and the respiratory irritant ammonia. Try these natural, effective polishing methods from Annie B. Bond, author of Home Enlightenment: Create a Nurturing, Healthy, and Toxin-Free Home (Rodale, 2008).
Jewelry and flatware
The baking soda in chalky white toothpaste (not gel) gently abrades stains. Or make a paste with water and baking soda. Put a dab on your finger and rub into silver pieces. Rinse with hot water and polish with a soft cloth.
Serving pieces and platters
Place large serving pieces in the bathtub with one 1-foot-square piece of aluminum foil, 2 teaspoons baking soda, and 2 teaspoons salt; cover with water and let sit. The chemical reaction will dissolve the tarnish. Remove and polish dry with a soft towel. This technique releases sulfur, so make sure to open a window first.
Find out what is in your favorite cleansers and more by going to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Household Products Database.