These silver cleaning methods are safe and gentle, leaving no scratches and carrying no detrimental environmental issues, as the cleaning agents are non-toxic, no rubber gloves are needed, and the used solution is safe to pour directly down the sink. The real secret to silver cleaning is using enough baking soda, and if that doesn't do the trick, do it again, this time substituting washing soda, available alongside the laundry detergent at your supermarket.
Depending on the size of the silver you're cleaning, select an appropriate glass dish at least two inches deep.
Place a piece of aluminum foil shiny side up in the bottom of the dish (cut to fit, if necessary). You could also use an old aluminum cooking pot if you first use a steel wool pad to remove any old cooking residues.
Add the silver piece(s), making sure they touch the aluminum and are completely submerged, and then cover with boiling water. Add two tablespoons of baking soda and one teaspoon of salt, sprinkling evenly over the water. Let it all stand for about half an hour. You can watch the tarnish start to disappear almost right away. Carefully lift the silver out and drain onto a paper towel, or just empty the dish, silver and all, into a strainer/colander. Run some dish water into the sink and swirl the silver around several times. Rinse, and then dry with a soft cloth. And that's really all there is to it!
Of course, there are other methods/solutions that work equally well. It all depends, actually, on the type of silver you are dealing with. Some find the following works just as well as the above:
Mix a cup of warm water and a fourth of a cup of ammonia, and use this solution to gently scrub your silver with a soft brush. As an option, you can add some liquid dish soap to the mix. After you get as much tarnish as possible out of the grooves and crevices, drop your silver into the mixture and soak for half an hour. Finish by rinsing with warm water and drying with a soft cloth. Some people like to follow up by dipping the silver in rubbing alcohol and then letting it air dry, polishing it later.
For the really stubborn black stuff that seems to be stuck permanently in the grooves, others have used these little tricks:
Soak the silver in some hot tea until tea is cool; then rub in toothpaste with a toothbrush. Some have even used potato ... probably mashed, or how else could it get into the grooves? Another silver cleaner: Ajax (scouring powder) mixed with lemon juice to make a paste.
Always rinse the cleaners off and polish with a soft dry cloth.