How to remove flatware marks from dishes

Updated July 20, 2017

Over time, silverware and stainless-steel flatware can create grey marks on your dishes. The marks are caused by scraping the utensils across the surface of plates, bowls and cups. They can become especially dark on stoneware and pottery. If you try to clean them off with plain dish soap, they can seem impossible to remove. However, with the right cleansers and a little bit of elbow grease, you can remove the discolouration and make your dishes look as good as new.

Put on a pair of rubber gloves. Place the discoloured dish in the sink and sprinkle it with baking soda. Add just enough water to make the baking soda into a thick paste.

Scrub the dish with a plastic scrubber. Apply firm pressure to the dish, but do not press down excessively. Scrub continuously in a circular motion until the grey marks begin to fade. Rinse the dish periodically so you can see how much progress you're making.

Add an oxygen-based dish soap like Palmolive Oxy if the baking soda doesn't remove the grey marks completely. Continue scrubbing and rinse to see if the flatware marks have faded.

Rinse and dry the dish completely. Add some silver polish that is safe for eating utensils, such as Wright's Silver Polish. Use a clean, dry white cloth to rub the silver polish into the surface of the dish. Move your finger along the marks, applying firm pressure.

Use more toxic alternative--such as Wenol metal polish and ZUD cleanse--only as a last resort. After using these cleansers, wash the dish with a scrubber sponge. Wash the dish again with another sponge that has never been in contact with any toxic substance. Rinse the dish and allow it to air dry.

Repeat Steps 1 through 4 as necessary whenever grey flatware marks reappear on your dishes. Repeat Step 5 only for stubborn flatware marks.


Save money by using old, cut-up socks and dish towels with the silver polish. Use exam gloves instead of household gloves for added savings. These techniques also help to remove flatware marks from glass dishes like Corningware. Prevent the build-up of marks in the future by scrubbing them with baking soda as soon as you notice them. Other safe cleansing alternatives include Bar Keeper's Friend and Bon Ami cleanser.


Take precautions not to ingest any toxic cleanser, and wash the dishes thoroughly after such cleansers are used.

Things You'll Need

  • Household rubber gloves
  • Baking soda
  • Oxygenated soap
  • Silver polish
  • Plastic scrubbers
  • Clean white cloth
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About the Author

Jennifer Claerr is a web writer who has written for online sites such as Demand Studios,, and She has a degree in art from the University of Texas at Arlington. She writes on a variety of topics, including holidays, health and fitness, travel, computers and art.