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Silver polish (Tarn-X) stained my stainless steel sink

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What will take tarn-x stains off a stainless sink?

Lc crosby
- Sparks nevada
August 15, 2022

A. Hi Lc. People have been offering their solutions to that problem for 17 years on this page. Start simple with toothpaste; if it doesn't seem to be working at all, then move on to an abrasive cleaner like Barkeepers Friend [affil. link to info/product on Amazon], and if that's not enough you'll need an abrasive kit like Scratch-B-Gone [a finishing.com supporting advertiser].

Luck & Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey

Closely related Q&A's, oldest first:


Q. I spilled silver polish in my stainless steel sink and did not realize it until sometime later.
Is there a way to get the stains out?

The silver cleaner spilled in the sink was Tarn-X.


Faith O'Kelley
- Asheville, North Carolina


BarrysRestoreItAll manufactures an easy to use kit, called Scratch-B-Gone for the remediation of Stainless steel and quick removal of scratch, stain, chemical burn and rust from all surfaces of real Stainless steel appliances, sinks, and grills. Give us a call, No Worries...

Barry Feinman
Barry Feinman
supporting advertiser
Carlsbad, California


thumbs up signThe product worked! Thank you so much.

Faith O'Kelley - Asheville, North Carolina

July 28, 2008 -- this entry appended to this thread by editor in lieu of spawning a duplicative thread

Q. A cleaner, brand name Tarn-x, was wiped on the stove and left on. Later, the stove was wiped down after seeing various dark streaks and circles on what appear to have been former food spills and Tarn-x residue. The stove was washed down with soap and water; next I used Wright's Silver Cream [affil. link to info/product on Amazon] and it took the stove back to where it's original color was except for the heaviest of the streaks and dark colorations. What can I do to bring the entire stove back to it's original Stainless Steel color?

Gwendolyn Doggett
- Camp Springs, Maryland

April 6, 2009 -- this entry appended to this thread by editor in lieu of spawning a duplicative thread

Q. I have dark grey stains on my stainless sink from Tarn X I have scrubbed with everything. Any help out there would be great.

Kathy Lennon
Artist - Oshkosh Wisconsin

March 28, 2011

A. I too got Tarn-x on my new kitchen sinks. After coming to this site, I remembered that to sell my other house, I used car polish to clean and polish the old sinks. I signed off and tried it. It took three applications, but there are no remaining black marks. I had used Meguiers at the old house. Today, I used some polish my friend put in a bottle for me last year, so, sorry about not knowing the name. Put some on a rag and rub hard. Let it dry and rub hard again. Repeat until gone. Your rag turns black and your sinks return to their original color. My sink seemed to have deeper brush groves around the top and that area took the most rubbing -- but all the stains came off.

Laurel Zigler
- Ontario, Oregon USA

January 17, 2012 -- this entry appended to this thread by editor in lieu of spawning a duplicative thread

Q. I was cleaning my silver cutlery and some of the silver cleaning liquid got onto the stainless steel sink and has left marks as though the steel has been bleached. Any ideas of how to remove the marks please?

Rita Shah
- London, England

January 20, 2012

A. Hi, Rita. As you see, we added your posting to a thread that already addresses this subject and offers three potential solutions.

Hopefully other readers will avoid problems by recognizing that silver polish can stain stainless steel. Good luck.


Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey

June 4, 2012

Q. I left a rag full of Tarn-x in my brand new, of one week, stainless steel sink over night. It now has a black mark on it; how do I remove this stain? I'm sick about it; the sink is one week old. Thanks for your help.

Evelyne Hadida
- Montreal, Quebec, Canada

June 6, 2012

A. After reading all the advice about cleaning my Tarn-x stain in my stainless steel, I got home and wiped the sink with Barkeeper's friend and to my surprise I was able to get rid of the stain 98%. You can hardly see the mess that I had. So, thanks to everyone who told me about the Barkeeper's friend; it's just too bad this product is not easily available in Montreal. I was lucky that I had bought some in Florida last time I was there; this product is great and I'll be cleaning my stainless sink with it from now on.
Once again, thanks.

Evelyne Hadida
- Montreal, Quebec, Canada

October 4, 2014

thumbs up signThanks everyone for the posts. My Google search brought me here and Barkeeper's Friend worked! phew. :-)
For anyone in Montreal: I have seen Barkeeper's friend at Ares and at William's Sonoma.

Lori Goodfellow
- Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Barkeeper's Friend 2-pack

Affiliate Link
(your purchases make finishing.com possible)

May 20, 2015

Q. Where can I get Bartenders^Barkeepers Friend? I live in Florida.
pal simmons
- Hernando, Florida USA

May 2015

A. Hi Pal. I'd assume it's available at some supermarkets and hardware stores, and there's always Amazon.


Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey

Silver Polish Ruined Stainless Steel Serving Set

January 1, 2015

Q. A house cleaner is believed to have used Weiman silver polish on a stainless steel salad serving set that we had received as a wedding gift. The result of the "cleaning" is that what was once a lustrous shine is now almost entirely dull, with large patches of greenish-darkened metal, and a few places where there is now copper-colored metal. I do not understand metallurgy sufficiently to know if one metal was plated over another, and now the underlying metal is now exposed, or if the discoloring is the result of some type of oxide on the metal. Some suggested cleaning materials (including vinegar, stainless steel cleaner, Bar Keepers Friend) have been used, but with no effect. I would like to know, first, what happened; and second, is there any practicable restorative course of action available (e.g., cleaning product, plating)?


Lawrence Hughes
- Flushing, New York

December 2014

A. Hi Lawrence, sorry for your troubles, but "patches of greenish-darkened" and "copper-colored" and "one metal plated over another?" don't sound at all like typical observations of stainless steel behavior. Why do you believe the set is stainless steel -- does it say so? It sounds like maybe it was silver plated and Weiman silver polish was appropriate. I hate to mention this while you're still suffering the loss of a wedding gift, but for the plating to wear away is unfortunately a very normal thing if you are talking about something old :-(


Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey

March 8, 2015

Q. Ted: The serving set looked like stainless steel, and my understanding that stainless steel is the most common material for flatware. Beyond that, I don't know what else the metal could be. The serving set came in a gift box, not a manufacturer's box, and no labels. The set is certainly not silver. What other metal could have been used? Is there an easy test to determine? (Sorry for the delayed response; time got away from me.)

Lawrence Hughes [returning]
- Flushing, New York

March 2015

A. Hi again Lawrence. Stainless steel is rarely plated, especially for serving sets. Rather, it's the same material through and through (an alloy of steel, chromium, sometimes nickel, plus very small amounts of other stuff).

What you are describing sounds like the set is made of brass or steel and was nickel and chromium plated. I'm surprised that silver polish would destroy the plating that way -- but I guess it did, exposing at least patches of brass or an underlayer of copper plating. It can be replated, but perhaps not affordably. Replacement would probably be cheaper.


Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey

April 10, 2015

Q. My grandma said I stained her stainless steel sink. I have no idea what happened but nothing cleans it. It is a large gray stain. Can you tell me what it is or how to repair it? Thanks,


alex fulton
student - chicago, Illinois, USA

June 12, 2016

A. For anyone who has stained their sink with the silver cleaner tarn-x, a product called Barkeepers Friend [affil. link to info/product on Amazon] will remove the stain! My sink was 2 weeks old and I tried lemon juice and baking soda and white vinegar. Those worked a little with two hours of scrubbing. I ordered bar keepers friend on Amazon and used it on the stain. It took the whole stain out. If you are searching the web for any cleaner that really works on a stainless steel sink, this is it. Remember to always rub in the direction of the grain. I used a soft cloth to run the cleaner in. I used the powder formula. Hope this helps. There's hope!

Danna Hawkins
- Birmingham, Alabama usa

February 24, 2017

A. To Alex Fulton's question (dated April 10, 2015):

Not sure if I have the same thing, but from your photo it looks very similar. I also am not sure how mine came about, but what worked for me was toothpaste! I left a reasonably thick layer on for 5-10 minutes then used a 'stainless steel scourer, and scrubbed scrubbed it all off!

Hope that helps you out!

Zeina Farah
- Athens, Greece

November 26, 2017

thumbs up sign Thank you so much! My nephew was using Tarn-X and spilled it down the front of my stainless steel dishwasher front creating long black drip marks. It about killed me to see it. I did not want to mention it to him because he was living with me after losing his home to the fire storm this past Fall in California. I used my liquid Barkeepers Friend and scrubbed like crazy and it came off! BKF saved the day!

Darling Rubin
- Santa Rosa, California USA

December 3, 2017

Q. Can anyone give me the directions for using Tarn-x? The bottle I have has most of the directions rubbed off & I just have a few really bad places on a silver trophy I've been cleaning with Wright's Silver Cream which has been working wonderfully. It's too big to dip it into a bowl but I can't even read how to apply it.

Ms Denny Wright
- Corpus Christi, Texas USA

December 2017

A. Hi Denny. Courtesy of Horizons for the Blind, the Tarn-X directions are available at


pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey

March 16, 2018

Q. Hi hoping you can help. My husband was soaking an object in CLR and some splashed and he didn't realize it so the CLR probably sat on the surface of our brushed stainless steel sink for 15-20 hrs.

38061-3b   38061-3a  

I see lots of solutions for smooth sinks but nothing for brushed steel.

Joanne McCloskey
- Windsor, Ontario. Canada

March 2018

A. Hi Joanne. If a mild polish is unable to remove the discoloration, you may need an abrasive kit like Scratch-B-Gone [a finishing.com supporting advertiser] (see topic 24168 for example), but blending scratches is harder work to do right than trying Barkeeper's Friend, rubbing in the direction of the grain, as Danna H. suggests above. Good luck.


pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey

April 18, 2018

Q. I have the same problem with my stainless steel sink too and I was just looking at Bar Keepers Friend on Amazon UK but there are several varieties to choose from.
Which one is best for this situation?

- Worcester, UK

April 2018

Barkeeper's Friend 2-pack

Affiliate Link
(your purchases make finishing.com possible)

A. Hi Sharon. All manufacturers seem to do this to us: as soon as one of their trade names becomes successful they slap it onto every product they make :-(

But people are talking about the powdered cleanser polisher, and the container even says "Stainless Steel" up near the top (at least here in America).


pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey

March 9, 2019

A. Another product that I use to polish my sink (as well as cleaning toilets, tubs, showers stalls, glass top stove tops, cast iron stove grates and grill racks, white sneaker soles,) is Bon Ami. I believe it is similar to bar keepers friend)

Debbra Fiebert
- Roslyn, New York, USA

June 19, 2019

A. Same thing happened to me. Was cleaning silverware in stainless steel sink (only two months old!) and rinsed to find hideous stains on sink. Tried stainless steel cleaner, household cleaners. Nothing worked. Don't know what made me try TOOTHPASTE, except that I've used it on jewelry in the past. Worked like a charm. Made have to apply it a couple of times and rub it in, but it really works!

Delilah Hopkins
- Scarsdale, New York, USA

April 11, 2022

Q. Hello. I too put jewelry cleaner in a stainless steel sink and it left discoloration. Does Scratch-B-Gone remove those? They are not scratches.

Carol Mison
- Sturbridge, Massachusetts

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