I intended to submit this for the Kosher Cooking Carnival Pesach edition hosted by my friend Mom In Israel. But life threw me a few loops and I was tardy.
I picked up a cleaning book at the library that had a tip for polishing silver (you know, that messy job that you never get to, subtly insulting your inlaws who may have bought you the candlesticks or other Judaica that is now barely recognizable). After reading the following tip, I ran home to test it out and lo and behold, it works, although it needed a bit of tweaking for greater effectiveness. I doubt any reader of my blog spends money to have someone else clean their silver, but I know other people who happily pay a lot of money for someone else to shine their candlesticks. So, if I'm knocking some money off any reader's budget by sharing this tip, I will feel quite gratified. (It also worked well for the Silver Plate Kiddush Cups we have).
Line a plastic bin with aluminum foil shiny side up. Put a handful of baking soda in the bin, pour boiling water on top. The tarnish will come right off.
It worked and was far easier and did a far nicer job than the messy silver polishes, but it needed a bit of tweaking. After a little experimentation, I found that it was best to boil water in a large bowl because you want to cover everything at once. A sink lined with foil provides more space than a bin, although a Parve bin and a tea kettle will keep parve items parve. A multi-use sink would be fine for things you don't plan to eat off of, like Candlesticks. You will need to wear a rubber glove to mix the boiling water with the baking soda while turning the silver items if the water doesn't cover everything completely. You will also want to buff up the items with a soft cotton cloth immediately.
This is also a fantastic science experiment for older children. I can't remember enough chemistry to describe how the reaction works, but you will recognize the smell immediately if you have taken AP Chem.