Tarnished Silverware? Try This Trick!

by | Updated: December 3rd, 2016 | Read time: 2 minutes

Ever made the mistake of putting real silver in the dishwasher? Oops. If your flatware is looking funky or that silver platter has an unsightly, dull film, chances are you’re dealing with “tarnish.” Don’t panic! Getting rid of tarnish is a quick fix when you follow this simple tip, courtesy of method:

How to Clean Tarnished SilverwareWhat is tarnish, anyway? Caused by a chemical reaction between certain soft metals and sulfide, tarnish is a film of corrosion that appears as a dull brown, black or grey coating.

Why does tarnish appear? When a silver surface comes into contact with sulfide, either in water or through the air, a natural process is set in motion that leads to visible build-up. Tarnish can appear on silver, copper, brass, aluminum and similar metals. Tarnish build-up happens more quickly in humid environments (such as a dishwasher!).

How can you remove tarnish?

On flatware: To rid your utensils of tarnish, follow these simple steps: First, fill a shallow glass or ceramic pan with a few inches of hot water (100-200 degrees). Next, add a thin layer of baking soda. Cover with a sheet of aluminum foil, making sure the foil is immersed and in contact with the layer of baking soda. Place your utensils on top of the foil, and the tarnish should disappear! (If it doesn’t, it’s likely that the film was caused by something other than tarnish.)

In your dishwasher: To rid the inside of your dishwasher of tarnish (yes, it sometimes ends up there, too!), you’ll need a bottle of 3% peroxide and 6 oz of lemon or lime juice. Run an empty dishwasher on the normal wash cycle for one minute and pause the cycle. Open the door and pour the peroxide and citrus juice into the water at the bottom of the dishwasher. Close the door and immediately resume the wash cycle. This trick works by turning sulfides into soluble substances that are safe to go down the drain. Goodbye, tarnish!