How to Clean Tarnished Stainless Steel Flatware

Written by david mckinney
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With less polishing and upkeep required, stainless-steel flatware stays cleaner and shinier as a rule than silver flatware. Unlike silver, stainless steel has a nickel component that generally keeps it looking tip-top most of the time. But that does not mean a stainless-steel spoon or fork will not tarnish on occasion. Sometimes, small rust-coloured spots can appear on stainless-steel flatware. The good news is that cleaning tarnished stainless steel takes little time and can be done inexpensively using ordinary household commodities.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Latex gloves
  • Liquid dish detergent
  • Toothbrush
  • Non-abrasive cleaning cream with bleach
  • Sponge
  • Dish towel

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  1. 1

    Put on latex gloves. Place tarnished stainless steel flatware in a mixture of 2 gallons of hot water and 1 tsp of liquid dish detergent. Let soak for 10 minutes. Remove flatware from water mixture.

  2. 2

    Use toothbrush to scrub tarnished area of flatware. Apply 1 tsp of non-abrasive cleaning cream with bleach, such as Soft Scrub, to a damp sponge and scour any affected areas that ordinary dish detergent and water failed to remove. Let sit for 3 or 4 minutes.

  3. 3

    Rinse flatware. Apply another drop or two of liquid dish detergent and rewash flatware to remove any residue from the non-abrasive cleaning cream. Rinse again. Dry with a clean towel.

Tips and warnings

  • Avoid using steel wool or abrasive scouring powders, like Comet, which can leave scratch marks on your stainless steel flatware.

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