How to Remove Scuff Marks from Dishes
A quick poll
What do you do with old, scuffed dishes?
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, that 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.
Horrible scuff marks on dishes
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.
On my quest to clean up these horrible looking plates I tested 4 different cleaning products. Here are the results.
Removing scuffs with various products
I tried out four different products to see which one would work best on these tough marks.
- Laundry detergent booster
- Gel bleach
- Baking soda
- Whitening toothpaste
I got different results for each product and there was one clear winner.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Toothpaste did the best job
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 the scuff marks with whitening toothpaste
To remove the scuff marks with toothpaste you'll need:
- 1 tube of whitening toothpaste with peroxide and baking soda in it.
- 1 damp washcloth
- Squeeze out about 1 tablespoon of toothpaste onto the scuffed surface of your plate.
- Using the damp cloth, scrub, in a circular motion.
- Rinse out the cloth and keep scrubbing. You may need to scrub some spots vigorously.
- If needed, squeeze out some more toothpaste and rub some more.
- Rinse and wash the plate before using.
That's all there is to it.
Removing scuff marks with whitening toothpaste
Final thoughts on cleaning the scuff marks off of dishes
From the photo above, you can see that even with the toothpaste, and lots of vigorous scrubbing, many scuff marks were left on the plate.
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.
Results after cleaning a more gently used plate
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
© 2014 Claudia Mitchell