How Do I Remove Stains From Stainless-Steel Cutlery?

Stainless-steel cutlery is relatively stainproof, but occasionally a cleaning solution or hard water can leave stains or marks. Common causes of stains on stainless steel include hot grease, strong detergent and condiment vinegar. Steel-wool fragments can cause stainless-steel cutlery to develop a rust-coloured stain. Silver cleaner contains acid that etches the steel to a dull grey. Careful cleaning and care of your stainless-steel cutlery can help prevent and treat stains.

Mix together 2 tablespoons baking soda and 1 1/2 teaspoons water to make a paste. Wash your stainless-steel cutlery with the paste, using a soft cloth or brush. Rinse thoroughly with warm water.

Rub your stainless steel-cutlery with a soapy cloth dipped in mild dish detergent. Rinse the detergent off the cutlery with warm or hot water.

Apply a solution of one part nitric acid to nine parts with a cotton bud to remove rust stains. Rinse thoroughly with ammonia.

Dry the cutlery thoroughly with a towel.


Keep your cutlery away from acid and bleach to avoid staining or ruining it.


Handle concentrated nitric acid with care. Wear rubber gloves while mixing the solution and dilute extensively before discarding the mixture down the drain.

Things You'll Need

  • Baking soda
  • Soft cloth or brush
  • Mild dish detergent
  • Nitric acid
  • Cotton bud
  • Ammonia
  • Towel
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About the Author

Writing since 2009, Catherine Hiles is a British writer currently living Stateside. Her articles appear on websites covering topics in animal health and training, lifestyle and more. She has a Bachelor of Arts in communications from the University of Chester in the United Kingdom.