We have a silver tray/cup set that I absolutely do not want to put in the labor of polishing, having tried it before. But I don’t know how to find someone to do it professionally. Furniture restorers? Antique shops? Am I out of luck and doomed to a lifetime of carpal tunnel syndrome?
If you don’t want to rub-polish it, you can get rid of tarnish by filling an aluminum pan (aluminum is important) with very hot water, adding a spoon of baking soda, and submersing the silver in it. A chemical reaction will take the tarnish off.
Dopers have told me that this is much safer for the silver than cleaning a copper penny with vinegar and salt is for the copper penny… but I haven’t tried it. The one caveat is that it will take tarnish out of the nooks and crannies of the pieces, thus stripping them of the desirable aged “patina” that hand-rubbing gives.
Go to a jeweler. I recently had a silver necklack pendant buffed and given a once-over with some fancy special cloth. For free.
Make sure to shop around though. For the above service, other places wanted to ship out the piece and charge me at least twenty bucks. A local jeweler did it all for free and it took five minutes. Though a silver tray and cup set would have costed money.