How to Clean Blackish Stains Off Stainless Steel Cutlery from Dishwasher

Stainless steel cutlery adds a touch of elegance to any dining experience. However, over time, these gleaming utensils can develop unsightly blackish stains when cleaned in a dishwasher. The good news is that you can easily restore the shine and luster to your stainless steel cutlery with a few simple steps. In this article, we will guide you through the process of removing those stubborn stains and keeping your cutlery looking as good as new.

Understanding the Problem

Before diving into the solutions, it’s essential to understand why your stainless steel cutlery develops blackish stains when washed in a dishwasher. These stains are typically caused by a combination of factors:

1. Mineral Deposits

Hard water contains minerals like calcium and magnesium. When your dishwasher sprays water onto your cutlery, these minerals can adhere to the stainless steel’s surface, leaving behind a cloudy, blackish residue.

2. Heat and Chemical Reactions

Dishwashers use hot water and detergents to clean your dishes. The heat, combined with certain chemicals in the detergents, can react with the stainless steel, causing discoloration.

Removing Blackish Stains – Step by Step

Now that we have a better understanding of the problem let’s explore how to effectively remove those unsightly blackish stains from your stainless steel cutlery.

Step 1: Gather Your Supplies

You’ll need the following items:

– White Vinegar

– Baking Soda

– Soft Cloth

– Microfiber Towel

– Soft-bristle Toothbrush

Step 2: Preparing the Solution

  1. In a bowl, mix equal parts white vinegar and water.
  2. Create a paste by mixing baking soda with a small amount of water.

Step 3: Soaking

  1. Submerge your stained cutlery in the vinegar solution for about 15-30 minutes. This will help loosen the mineral deposits.

Step 4: Scrubbing

  1. After soaking, use a soft-bristle toothbrush to gently scrub the stained areas with the baking soda paste. Be careful not to use abrasive materials that could scratch the stainless steel.

Step 5: Rinse and Dry

  1. Rinse your cutlery thoroughly with water and dry it with a microfiber towel to prevent water spots.

Step 6: Buffing

  1. To restore the shine, buff your cutlery with a soft cloth.

Tips for Prevention

Prevention is always better than cure. Here are some tips to help you avoid future blackish stains on your stainless steel cutlery:

– Use Soft Water

Consider using a water softener to reduce mineral content in your dishwasher’s water supply.

– Choose the Right Detergent

Opt for a dishwasher detergent specifically designed for use with stainless steel.

– Hand Wash When Necessary

For particularly delicate or cherished cutlery, consider handwashing to avoid exposing them to the harsh dishwasher environment.


With a little know-how and the right tools, cleaning blackish stains off stainless steel cutlery from your dishwasher is a breeze. By following the steps outlined in this article and taking preventive measures, you can ensure your cutlery maintains its shine and elegance for years to come.


1. Can I use lemon juice instead of vinegar to remove stains?

Yes, lemon juice can be an effective alternative to vinegar for removing stains from stainless steel cutlery.

2. Will using abrasive scrubbers damage my stainless steel cutlery?

Yes, abrasive scrubbers can leave scratches on the stainless steel’s surface. It’s best to use a soft-bristle toothbrush or a soft cloth for cleaning.

3. How often should I clean my stainless steel cutlery to prevent stains?

Cleaning your cutlery after each use and following the preventive tips mentioned can help you avoid stains altogether.

4. Is it safe to use bleach on stainless steel cutlery?

No, bleach can damage stainless steel and should be avoided.

5. Can I use this method for other stainless steel items, like appliances?

Yes, you can use a similar method to remove stains from other stainless steel items, but be cautious about using abrasive materials on delicate surfaces.

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