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How to buff pewter and why babies may shed tears with all-natural baby

Resident Expert

Q. I would appreciate help in finding a product to clean and polish pewter. - J.M., Wilton, Conn.

A. The best way to bring pewter back to its original luster is to have it professionally refinished and re-buffed, says Dave Stevens of BHS Industries, a pewter manufacturer based in Wallingford, Conn. The pewter object is placed on a buffing lathe, which spins at 3,200 r.p.m. The process can cost from $3 to $50.

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To stop pewter from getting dark in the first place, you need to put on a lacquer coating. While Mr. Davis insists that industrial lacquers are superior, he concedes that "the products you can buy at Kmart or Wal-Mart are better than nothing."

Most household tips on cleaning pewter use denatured alcohol in some capacity.

Q. I bought Tom's of Maine Natural Baby Shampoo. The label says it has all-natural ingredients and is gentle. Does "baby shampoo" mean "no tears?"

- C.G., Needham, Mass.

A. Baby shampoo does not mean "no tears," says Patti Murphy a spokeswoman for Tom's of Maine. The company's baby shampoo is not a no-tears formula. Many commercial companies that have no-tears products use a chemical to mask the burning sensation when the shampoo gets in the eye. Tom's of Maine's company philosophy is that it's natural and healthy for the eye to flush the shampoo out.

Tony Farrish, a co-owner of Rainbow, a company that also makes all-natural products, says the three most common differences between adult and baby shampoo are that baby shampoo has no coloring, no fragrance, and no flavoring, all of which may contribute to a burning sensation in the eye.

Readers: Pose your questions and we'll seek out experts on home repairs, gardens, food, and family legal issues. Send queries to the Homefront Editor, The Christian Science Monitor, One Norway Street, Boston, MA 02115 or e-mail

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