How Do I Clean Tarnished Stainless Steel Cutlery?

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Is the original gleam gone from your stainless steel silverware set? Stainless steel is a solid choice for your everyday silverware with the strength to hold up to everything from your hearty meatloaf to your piping hot tomato soup. But this common, durable silverware material can quickly become cloudy or tarnished with regular use. Simple home remedies make an effective cutlery cleaner that can restore some of the original shininess.

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You can clean tarnished stainless steel silverware with vinegar, lemon juice, or baking soda to remove cloudiness and restore shine. Rubbing these materials onto the tarnished areas with a soft cloth can improve the look.

What Causes Tarnishing?

Your silverware goes through a lot on a regular basis. The pieces face hot and cold foods, some of which are acidic or otherwise tough on the metal. While stainless steel is a very durable silverware material that resists corrosion, bending, and breaking, it can become cloudy or tarnished with regular use. Even though stainless steel is dishwasher-safe, several trips through the dishwasher can also make your forks, knives, and spoons look less shiny than they were when you bought them.

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Vinegar and Water Method

Since distilled vinegar is mildly acidic, it's an effective cleaner for almost any surface, including your tarnished stainless steel silverware. Create a mixture of one part vinegar to eight parts hot water. Soak the tarnished silverware for about 10 minutes, rinse well, and polish the pieces dry with a lint-free cloth.

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You can also use the vinegar directly on the silverware instead of soaking it in a vinegar and water mixture. Wet a soft, lint-free cloth with distilled vinegar and wipe it onto the tarnished parts of the cutlery. Use more vinegar if necessary and continue polishing the silverware with the cloth. When you get it shiny and clean, rinse the silverware well in hot water and dry the pieces with a dry microfiber cloth to prevent spots.

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Lemon Juice Method

A similar household item that works to clean tarnished silverware is lemon juice since it has natural acidity that can help clean things. You can either use bottled lemon juice or squeeze fresh lemon juice. Dip a clean, lint-free cleaning cloth into the lemon juice and rub it directly onto the tarnished parts of the silverware until the pieces look shiny again. Rinse the cleaned silverware well with hot water and dry everything with a clean cloth before putting the silverware in your utensil organizer or flatware storage container.

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Baking Soda and Dish Soap

If you still can't get your stainless steel silverware to shine, grab some baking soda and dish soap to create a gentle yet effective scouring cutlery cleaner. Mix a few drops of the dish soap into the baking soda until you have a thick paste. Scrub the paste onto the silverware one piece at a time using an old toothbrush to clean away the tarnished areas. You might need to follow up with vinegar or lemon juice to get rid of all the marks and make the flatware set shine. Rinse it well and dry the cutlery before putting it away.

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