Cleaning brass and silver with chemical cleaners might be effective, but many of these store-bought cleaners contain dangerous ingredients. If you have small children or you simply don't want irritating chemicals on your skin, you can clean metal items in your home with ingredients that you probably have in your pantry. Baking soda can clean both brass and silver, and a sheet of aluminum foil will help restore the shine to tarnished silver pieces.
Stir 1 tsp. of salt into 2 cups of white flour in a small bowl.
Add approximately 1 cup of white vinegar to the flour and salt mixture and stir to create a thick paste.
Cover the brass with a thick coat of the paste. Wait for the paste to dry completely and start to flake.
Rub off the dry paste with a soft, clean cloth.
Dip a fresh lemon slice into a shallow bowl of baking soda to coat the cut sides of the lemon.
Rub the brass with the lemon slice to remove any remaining tarnish and shine your brass.
Rinse off the lemon juice and baking soda with warm water and dry the brass thoroughly with a clean towel.
Crinkle up one sheet of aluminum foil loosely and place it in a glass baking dish with the shiny side of the foil facing up.
Place your tarnished silver items in the baking dish so that they touch the aluminum foil but do not touch each other.
Pour boiling water into the baking dish to cover all of the silver items.
Sprinkle 2 tbsp. of baking soda onto the water for each quart of water in the baking dish.
Wait five minutes to give the baking soda and aluminum time to clean your silver.
Remove the silver pieces from the baking dish and dry them thoroughly with a clean towel.