How to Remove Scuff Marks From Dishes - Dengarden - Home and Garden
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How to Remove Scuff Marks From Dishes

A little while ago, I decided to try to clean up my scuffed-up dishes. I tried a few different methods, and there was one clear winner.

Remove scuff marks from dishes with this easy method!

Remove scuff marks from dishes with this easy method!

A quick poll

Our Dishes Looked Horrible

Every few months my husband and I look at our dishes, the ones we got as a wedding gift over 13 years ago, and say that we have got to get new ones. They look horrible.

They scuff easily. Since the first time we used them all those years ago, lots of those ugly gray marks, which come from silverware, started appearing. We've always told ourselves that we would clean them up, but we never have.

We've also never gotten around to buying new dishes. They aren't cheap, and we still have a sentimental tie to these.

So a little while ago I decided to try to clean them up. I tried a few different methods with varying degrees of success. They definitely look better, but nothing I tried got the marks out completely.

You'll need a lot of elbow grease and time, but if you want to save some money, and prolong the life of your dishes, it's worth it.

This is what 13 years of scuff marks on a dinner plate looks like. The surface of these dishes used to be ivory!

This is what 13 years of scuff marks on a dinner plate looks like. The surface of these dishes used to be ivory!

Look at the photo above. This is what 13 years of wear and tear has done to my dishes. I'm embarrassed to even show this photo. Until I saw it, I never realized how bad they had become.

In my quest to clean up these horrible looking plates, I tested four different cleaning products. Here are the results.

To clean the scuffs off of my dishes, I tested four different products. Here is a picture of the results.

To clean the scuffs off of my dishes, I tested four different products. Here is a picture of the results.

Pastes made with water and cleaning products.

Pastes made with water and cleaning products.

Product Testing

I tried out four different products to see which one would work best on these tough marks.

  1. Laundry detergent booster
  2. Gel bleach
  3. Baking soda
  4. Whitening toothpaste

I got different results for each product—and there was one clear winner.

Test Results

This was a unscientific test done in my dining room.

Product testedPreparationResultsNotes

Laundry Detergent Booster

Made a paste with water and detergent. Using a damp cloth, I rubbed the marks in a circular motion.

Some scuff marks were removed, but not as many as I had hoped.

Was abrasive and took a lot of cleaning for minimal results.

Gel Bleach

Used a damp cloth and wiped off marks.

Only the lightest marks were removed.

Non-abrasive. Easy to use with poor results. Use with care because it is bleach and can stain.

Baking Soda

Made a paste with water and baking soda. Using a damp cloth, I rubbed the marks in a circular motion.

Many scuff marks were removed, but it took a lot of work.

Somewhat abrasive with ok results.

Whitening Toothpaste

Used a damp cloth, put some toothpaste on the plate and cleaned vigorously.

Removed all but the deepest scuff marks.

Mildly abrasive, but had a fresh scent. Did have to clean vigorously for results.

The best scuff-mark remover was the whitening toothpaste!

The best scuff-mark remover was the whitening toothpaste!

And the Winner Is . . . Whitening Toothpaste!

The clear winner in my unscientific test was the whitening toothpaste. Not only did it remove the most scuffs, it brightened up the dishes and was easy to use.

Surprisingly, the gel bleach was the worst performer. I think there needs to be some abrasion to get the deeper scuff marks out.

Unfortunately none of the products I used removed the scuffs completely, but my dishes do look better.

Note of Caution

Always test your dish surfaces before trying to clean them with any product. With the exception of the gel bleach, every product I used was abrasive to varying degrees.

The abrasion could remove some of the shine of the dishes.

How to Remove Scuff Marks With Whitening Toothpaste

Materials

  • 1 tube of whitening toothpaste with peroxide and baking soda in it
  • 1 damp washcloth

Instructions

  1. Squeeze out about 1 tablespoon of toothpaste onto the scuffed surface of your plate.
  2. Using the damp cloth, scrub in a circular motion.
  3. Rinse out the cloth and keep scrubbing. You may need to scrub some spots vigorously.
  4. If needed, squeeze out some more toothpaste and rub some more.
  5. Rinse and wash the plate before using.

That's all there is to it!

With a lot of elbow grease and whitening toothpaste, I managed to clean up my plates.  They aren't perfect, but they look better than they did before.

With a lot of elbow grease and whitening toothpaste, I managed to clean up my plates. They aren't perfect, but they look better than they did before.

Final Thoughts

From the photo above, you can see that even with the toothpaste and lots of vigorous scrubbing, many scuff marks remained.

The toothpaste did a much better job on the dishes that had not been used as often as my dinner plates, like the saucer in the photo below.

I learned a couple of lessons from trying to clean my dishes:

  • DO NOT wait 13 years to clean the scuff marks off of your plates.
  • Check to make sure the dishes you buy don't get scuffed easily.
  • This project takes time. The longer you scrub, the better the results.

Good luck!

Before and after using whitening toothpaste to remove scuff marks from dishes that had not been used as much (like the saucers).

Before and after using whitening toothpaste to remove scuff marks from dishes that had not been used as much (like the saucers).

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2014 Claudia Mitchell

Comments

Linda J on June 25, 2020:

I have had success with damp magic eraser or "Bar Keepers Friend" liquid or powder.

More experiments!

Claudia Mitchell (author) on April 04, 2020:

No I've never tried to remove those marks. Best of luck.

Richard from Texas on April 02, 2020:

That's really amazing Claudia. Who'd have thought that?. We have a lot of similar marks on the bottom of our stainless steel sink. Have you ever tried to remove those marks? I may have to try your solution.

Thanks for the tips.

Claudia Mitchell (author) on May 04, 2015:

Thank you adrienne2 - I appreciate the kind comments and am glad you enjoyed the article. It was a fun experiment and helped me get a little more life out of my dishes.

Claudia Mitchell (author) on April 30, 2015:

Good luck Jeannieinabottle - Get that elbow grease ready too. There is definitely some scrubbing involved. Thanks for reading!

Fierce Manson from Atlanta on April 29, 2015:

Who knew whitening toothpaste for scuff mark on dishes! I can not wait to try this, I love the lay out of your hub, and the experiment with different products. Great hub!

Jeannie Marie from Baltimore, MD on April 29, 2015:

I never realized I could use toothpaste to clean my dishes. I have a few that look that way, too. Guess I am grabbing out my whitening toothpaste to do the job! Thanks for the info!

Claudia Mitchell (author) on May 13, 2014:

Good luck with this method Larry. I was always embarrassed by my scuffed dishes. Thanks so much for reading and commenting.

Larry Rankin from Oklahoma on May 13, 2014:

I see those marks pop up from time to time on my dishes, and I thought you just had to live with them. It is good to know there is hope. Very informative.

Claudia Mitchell (author) on March 11, 2014:

Thanks Vespa - Hope you give the method a try and it works. I honestly wonder how many products really do what they promise to, but this method worked well on our dishes. Apologies that it took so long to respond, I took some time away from HP.

Vespa Woolf from Peru, South America on March 05, 2014:

Wow, what an interesting and unique experiment! I wonder now if whitening toothpaste really does work on teeth, or if it would need as much muscle work as cleaning your dishes? I do have some mildly scratched dishes so I may try this. Thank you for sharing this useful information.

Claudia Mitchell (author) on February 23, 2014:

Thanks for your support and the lovely angels today pstraubie. I always appreciate them and hope you are well.

Claudia Mitchell (author) on February 23, 2014:

Hi luvtowrite - I would be really careful on decorative dishes. Maybe test one that is not in great shape, if you have one. It is slightly abrasive and it would be a shame to mess up a special plate. Good luck and thanks for reading.

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on February 21, 2014:

Glimmer Twin Fan this is so nice to know. I have got to try the toothpaste method.....Thank you so much

Angels are on the way to you today :D

liked on facebook

Luvtoo Write from Chicago, IL on February 11, 2014:

Sounds like a great idea! I wonder if this will work on my decorative dishes without fading the design or make the scratches worse?

Claudia Mitchell (author) on February 10, 2014:

Hi Deb - You may want to test your plates before you try this on any really special ones. The baking soda in the toothpaste is mildly abrasive so you would want to be careful. Thanks for reading and saving!

Claudia Mitchell (author) on February 10, 2014:

Thanks so much Sharkye11! Sorry it took so long to get back to you. I decided to do this because I was mortified when I really took a look at our dishes. Glad you enjoyed the hub.

Deb Hirt from Stillwater, OK on February 07, 2014:

I will definitely file this away for future reference. I do NOT want my bird plates getting damaged.

Jayme Kinsey from Oklahoma on February 07, 2014:

This is useful! My plates don't have scuff marks per se, but they do have some staining from the water. I am definitely going to try this and see if it removes the grey patches. They are on the bottom of my plates, but they look a little too much like leprosy to appetizing! Voting up!

Claudia Mitchell (author) on January 29, 2014:

Hi Suzanne - I like collecting these types of tidbits too and like you, my plates were in need of a face lift. So glad you found this helpful. Thanks for stopping by.

Claudia Mitchell (author) on January 29, 2014:

sparkleyfinger - Thanks so much for your kind comments. I appreciate your support.

Suzanne Day from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia on January 29, 2014:

Very useful, I didn't know whitening toothpaste could be used for cleaning scuff marks! Thanks for pointing it out, I love collecting useful tidbits and I know there's some much-loved plates in my kitchen that could use this. Thumbs up and voted useful!

Lynsey Hart from Lanarkshire on January 28, 2014:

Great hub! You packed it out well by including your experiment, and I liked the comparison photo. Voted up and useful! Well done!

Claudia Mitchell (author) on January 28, 2014:

Hi Eddy - Glad you found the hub helpful. Thanks for stopping by!

Eiddwen from Wales on January 28, 2014:

Interesting and very useful.

Voted up for sure.

Eddy.

Claudia Mitchell (author) on January 25, 2014:

Good luck getting the scuffs out of the bowl Heather! Unfortunately the toothpaste did not remove all of the deep scuffs on my plates, but they look better than they did. I'm thinking I might have to get some Barkeeper's Friend and try that too, but like you, I don't like using things on my dishes that aren't good for me. Thanks for stopping by.

Claudia Mitchell (author) on January 25, 2014:

Hi randomcreative - Thanks for stopping by and reading and I'm glad you found the hub useful. After some of the comments I may have to do a couple more tests with some other products mentioned and add those results to my hub too.

Claudia Mitchell (author) on January 25, 2014:

Hi DzyMsLizzy - Yeah - giving this hub a title was not the easiest. You are lucky that you don't have many scuff marks. Those corelle dishes are good. Thanks for all of the support. Not sure if you get the same effect mixing baking soda and peroxide. Thanks for stopping by.

Claudia Mitchell (author) on January 24, 2014:

Thank you tillsontitan! I hope it will help lots of people. Unfortunately I waited way too long and some of the scuff marks just won't come off. Glad you enjoyed the hub!

Claudia Mitchell (author) on January 24, 2014:

Thanks younghopes. I appreciate your kind comments and your support.

Heather from Arizona on January 24, 2014:

I have a large green bowl that's white inside and FULL of scuff marks because it is my favorite go-to bowl for all of my recipe Hubs and food blogging. I recently tried "bar keepers friend" to buff out some of the scratches. They definitely became lighter but they'll be back since I use my electric mixer in it just about every day. After reading this Hub, I'll definitely use toothpaste in the future since it's meant to go in your mouth and Bar Keepers friend isn't. Thanks for sharing :)

Claudia Mitchell (author) on January 24, 2014:

Hi Crystal - You're right, I was surprised about the results too, but I'll go with them. My husband likes this toothpaste so it's a win win situation for me. Thanks for reading!

Claudia Mitchell (author) on January 24, 2014:

Good luck with your dishes Bill and definitely get ready to use a little elbow grease depending on how scuffed your dishes are. Thanks for the support and have a great weekend.

Rose Clearfield from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on January 24, 2014:

I cannot believe the difference with the toothpaste! Thanks for sharing such a comprehensive overview of the different products that you tried. Great resource.

Claudia Mitchell (author) on January 24, 2014:

Sorry breakfastpop - No ideas for the floor, but I'll think about it. Believe me, we were very close to getting rid of these dishes. But this gave them a little while longer. Thank for stopping by and reading.

Liz Elias from Oakley, CA on January 24, 2014:

Hmm...I had to come read this, as, in my mind, "scuff marks" are things that happen to floors from shoes, so my initial reaction was, "how on earth do you get scuff marks on your dishes?" LOL

After reading about your experiment, however, I see what you mean, and I would surmise, given the ingredients required to be in the successful toothpaste, that perhaps you could mix baking soda with peroxide instead of water for similar results?

I guess the problem depends upon the type of dish and its finish to start with. My dishes are at least as old, and I have very few of these marks, despite heavy use. They are "Corelle" from Corning Ware. ... I chose those because they are very break-resistant--perfect for klutzes such as myself. ;-)

Voted up, interesting and useful.

Claudia Mitchell (author) on January 24, 2014:

Hi MichelleNatalie - Thanks so much for stopping by. I was pretty happy with the results and I'm glad you enjoyed the hub.

Mary Craig from New York on January 24, 2014:

Not only is t his a great topic but you handled it so well. You've given step by step directions along with pros and cons, what more would we ask for!

Voted up, useful, awesome, and interesting.

Shadaan Alam from India on January 24, 2014:

This is so awesome and the way the pics look it tells the whole story, great hub, sharing it

Claudia Mitchell (author) on January 24, 2014:

Thanks AliciaC! I'm glad you found the hub helpful. Hopefully it will work with your dishes if they need it.

Crystal Tatum from Georgia on January 23, 2014:

I never would have thought it. Thanks for sharing this great tip. Excellent job with the illustrations as well.

Bill De Giulio from Massachusetts on January 23, 2014:

How interesting. I had no idea. We'll have to give this a shot. Great job with the testing and before/after photos. Thanks for sharing this, very useful.

breakfastpop on January 23, 2014:

I have to admit I am impressed by your ingenuity. I would probably throw the dishes out! It's my floor that is driving me insane. Suddenly, every show print leaves a perfect impression. Any ideas?

Michelle Natalie from California on January 23, 2014:

Wow, that's amazing! I would have never thought of that. This is great stuff Glimmer! Talk about that glimmerie shine!

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on January 23, 2014:

This is a very useful hub, Glimmer. Thanks for sharing the results of your experiments. I will definitely remember how helpful whitening toothpaste can be in removing scuffs from dishes!

Claudia Mitchell (author) on January 23, 2014:

Hi kidscrafts - It was a fun test to do. I think my daughter's Science Fair entry was inspirational and those dishes really needed to be cleaned. Thanks for reading and commenting.

Claudia Mitchell (author) on January 23, 2014:

Thanks luvtoowrite. Hope it works on your dishes.

Claudia Mitchell (author) on January 23, 2014:

That's right Sheri! Definitely getting my money's worth out of the tube of toothpaste. Good luck on your dishes and thanks for stopping by!

kidscrafts from Ottawa, Canada on January 23, 2014:

Interesting experience! Well illustrated!

Sheri Dusseault from Chemainus. BC, Canada on January 23, 2014:

Hmmm...brush your teeth then brush your dishes! Great hub!

Luvtoo Write from Chicago, IL on January 23, 2014:

Nice! Thanks for taking the time to do these tests. I will have to try it on my own dishes.

Claudia Mitchell (author) on January 23, 2014:

Thanks Millionaire Tips! It's nice to see you again. Good luck with your dishes.

Shasta Matova from USA on January 23, 2014:

This is so useful and interesting. I am going to have to try that on my dishes! Thanks for the experiment.

Claudia Mitchell (author) on January 23, 2014:

Hi Jackie - What a great idea. You could find some treasures, clean them up and then sell them for a profit because they look better. Never thought of that! Thanks for reading. Have a great day!

Claudia Mitchell (author) on January 23, 2014:

Thanks so much Christy! Those marks drive me crazy. I definitely regret not cleaning them sooner because some of the really deep marks just won't come out. Like you I don't like using bleach. Glad you stopped by!

Claudia Mitchell (author) on January 23, 2014:

Hi teaches! Glad you liked the hub. I have a big set of dishes so it is taking me a while to get them done, but it has been worth it. Hope it works on your dishes too. Thanks for stopping by.

Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on January 22, 2014:

This is great and not for my dishes but I come across a dishes at yard sales or flea market that are so gorgeous but has those lines, now there is hope! I will be looking for a toothpaste sale! lol Probably have that very kind at Dollar Tree I bet. Thank so much for sharing your discovery~ ^+

Christy Kirwan from San Francisco on January 22, 2014:

Wow, this is so awesome! Thanks for doing this test. My own dishes get these ugly marks, and I'm delighted to hear about a safer way to remove them than bleach.

Dianna Mendez on January 22, 2014:

Oh, this is quite a great topic, well covered, and should be awarded! I have a few dishes that could use this treatment. Thanks, you have just saved me some money! Blessings.

Claudia Mitchell (author) on January 22, 2014:

Thanks for the pin RTalloni! This is one of those things I've been wanting to do for some time and I finally did it. I definitely waited too long and some of the scuffs just won't come out, but they really look perked up.

Claudia Mitchell (author) on January 22, 2014:

Hello MsDora - Thanks so much for stopping by and reading. Hopefully lots of people will find this article helpful! Have a nice day.

Claudia Mitchell (author) on January 22, 2014:

Good luck Tolovaj. I hope it works well for you.

Claudia Mitchell (author) on January 22, 2014:

Thank you ChitrangadaSharan. I was excited to reach my 100th hub. Now on to the next 100. I'm glad you found the hub helpful.

Claudia Mitchell (author) on January 22, 2014:

Bill - A tube of toothpaste is a heck of a lot cheaper than a new set of dishes. Good luck getting your dishes clean and thanks for reading.

Claudia Mitchell (author) on January 22, 2014:

Thanks Daisy! Good luck getting your scuff marks out. My daughter helped me with the test so it was fun. I do regret not doing it sooner because the dishes will never be like they were when we first got them.

Claudia Mitchell (author) on January 22, 2014:

Hi VVanNess - Good luck cleaning them. Unfortunately, as I found out, some of my scuffs are permanent, but I did get the dishes somewhat cleaned up. Thanks so much for reading and I hope this hub helps!

RTalloni on January 22, 2014:

Thanks for sharing your evaluation of these methods with us. Pinning to my Solve It: Indoors board.

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on January 22, 2014:

Great article with tests and results that everyone can use. So thoughtful of you to share. Thank you and voted up.

Tolovaj on January 22, 2014:

I definitely have to try this, results looks pretty convincing. Thank you very much!

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on January 22, 2014:

This is a very useful informative hub and everyone will be benefited by your tips! Thanks and voted up!

Congratulations for reaching your 100th hub!

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on January 22, 2014:

Well now, that was quite useful. I had no idea how effective those treatments could be. Thanks for some great information; definitely going to try this.

Daisy Mariposa from Orange County (Southern California) on January 22, 2014:

Glimmer,

I recognize those marks! Thanks for all the research you did prior to writing your very helpful article. I'm going to bookmark your Hub, and buy a tube of toothpaste that's dedicated to the cleaning process.

Victoria Van Ness from Fountain, CO on January 22, 2014:

Oh nice! You must have written this for me, as I continue to post step by step pictures of my recipes with scuffed bowls. Thank you! I might have to rewash all of my dishes this afternoon so I can clean off all of the scuff marks. I just assumed they were permanently scratched. Thank you!