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topic 41066 p2

Aluminum shiny finish destroyed in dishwasher

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A discussion started in 2006 but continuing through 2019

February 8, 2016

Q. Hey everyone,

I was a goof this last weekend and washed my girlfriend's Starbucks stainless steel cups in the dishwasher. I just saw a sink full of dishes and a pile of clothes by the bed and did them all before I picked her up from work for dinner, but I might have ruined her favorite cups. She says the water she drinks from them tastes funny now. Is there any way to save the cups that she absolutely loves?

Thanks everyone!

Ken Newton
- Lake Stevens

A. Hi Ken. You're sure they're stainless steel rather than aluminum? I'm very surprised that a dishwasher would have any effect on stainless steel cups. Stainless flatware goes into tens of millions of dishwashers every day.


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

July 20, 2016

A. Try Barkeepers Friend [paid link to product info at Amazon] I made a paste and rub most of the grey off easily. soaked in water with some of the bar keepers friend for about 10 minutes, grabbed a scotch brite pad and with very little effort in less than 2 minutes it was like new.

Chad Wilkinson
- Sherburn, Minnesota

August 13, 2016

Q. We rented our house and someone put aluminum Pans in the dishwasher. I cannot get the black out of my dishwasher. HELP. Martha

Martha Dixon
- Bluffton South Carolina

November 20, 2016

A. Used Cerama Bryte Cooktop Cleaner [paid link to product info at Amazon] and yellow scrubber that came with it and it removed all the white residue and most of the black from my cookie sheet. Thanks for the glasstop cleaner tip.

Michele acker
- Columbus Ohio usa

January 10, 2017

A. I tried using the cream of tartar and water paste since I had it on hand. It worked out pretty well I spent less than 10 minutes and may have achieved better results if I put more effort into it. I am attaching a photo of my aluminum garlic press that went through the dishwasher. One handle has not been treated the other handle was wiped for about 30 seconds with the paste then rinsed under cool water.

Amber Clark
- PORTERVILLE, California, USA

Ed. note: Thanks Amber, but no pics received. Please e-mail them to

May 5, 2017

Q. I got a new dishwasher with a stainless steel interior. It does all pots and pans, but two cake pans, turned dark gray and mottled. Could it be a chemical reaction between the stainless and the aluminum? They weren't affected in porcelain lines dishwasher. Any suggestions?

Kathy Britten
- Karlstad, Minnesota USA

May 2017

A. Hi Kathy. The kind of reaction you are envisioning is electrochemical, and can only happen if there is contact (electrical continuity) between the aluminum and the stainless.

Whether the problem was some other stainless item touching the pan, a change to a more alkaline dishwasher detergent, or just gradual wear of some clear coating on the cake pans, the thing remains: aluminum doesn't belong in a dishwasher which uses the conventional extremely alkaline dishwasher detergents; they destroy aluminum regardless of anything else.


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

June 5, 2017

A. I just tried all the above suggestions on a formerly shiny, now tarnished, aluminum bowl. Forget the glass top cleaner, the lemon & salt, the lemon & cream of tarter, the vinegar & baking soda.

After wasting 1 hr scrubbing, forget everything except: in a large pan add water & cream of tarter (I did about 2 T); heat to just below boiling; let pan/bowl/item sit until color changes to normal -- about 30 minutes. If you have a large bowl you will need to rotate it as the color changes. It's a lot easier than scrubbing for a long time.

Jo Polst
- Price, utah USA

June 6, 2017

A. Hello,

A video that compares most of the suggestions listed on cleaning aluminum...


Andrew Terrence
- Chicago, Illinois US

June 18, 2017


A video on the laziest method to clean aluminum after dishwasher, no scrubbing needed -- Oven, roasting pan, and cream of tartar


Andrew Terrence [returning]
- Chicago, Illinois

August 24, 2017

thumbs up sign Thank you for this site! I had no idea my mother's 1950's garlic press was supposed to look this good!


Now to tackle the antique 21.5 All American pressure canner I was just given.

Catherine Bradford
- Saint Louis, Missouri USA

November 7, 2017

A. I read many of the responses, then combined all the knowledge gathered, along with what I had on hand, and discarding anything remotely dangerous, I came up with an amazing result. I tried it again & again with the same results.


My dishwashing disaster was a very old aluminum sieve that I loved. Here's what I did: I applied Bartender's Friend, smeared it around with a folded wet paper towel, and let it sit for 5-10 minutes. Then I used the same wet paper towel to rub briskly back and forth over the area. I rinsed it well and the area was cleansed of the blackish mess! But it wasn't bright, as noted by others that had used that technique. But here's what I did differently: I topped it off with a very light rub of Brillo. Now it was shiny! And it didn't take hard and lengthy scrubbing/rubbing, and no scratches. (The scratches in my photos go back many years)

Renate Shanahan
- Edison, New Jersey, USA

November 20, 2017

A. Hi I have a SMEG oven and decided to put the burners in the dishwasher. After 10 mins they looked like they were ruined. I searched to find a way to rectify this - I tried vinegar, coke, polish etc. Nothing worked until I found Silvo [paid link to product info at Amazon] tarnish guard. I polished for ages and voila they are shining again. I am in England if that makes any odds

15155-3c   15155-3a   15155-3e   15155-3d   15155-3b  

Jackie Cayless
- south ockendon essex

November 26, 2017

A. Have similar SMEG cooker with similar burners which also turned black in the dishwasher. A brillo bad removed this and restored back to a shiny finish in minutes.

Jon Pearce
- London, England

January 22, 2018

Q. Bought a set of Mid Century aluminum canisters. One was dark and spotty so I got some metal polish and worked on it. It is still much darker than the rest. Is that fixable? or do I need to just ... well, got find another one that matches :)

Victoria Henderson
- Ozark, Missouri

January 24, 2018

A. Try ammonium citrate 5% pH 7 solution (dissolve 50 gms citric acid in 1 lit water and add some ammonia until pH is 7). Hope it helps and good luck!

Goran Budija
- Zagreb, Croatia

March 27, 2018

A. My experience with Cascade Platinum is that it takes off the metal from utensils and pots & pans, and makes spoons black. I have no idea what causes this, but as far as a dishwasher detergent, it's the best out there and works exactly how they describe it. So keep the metal out and you will be okay.

J. Miller
- Las Vegas, Nevada, USA

April 18, 2018

Q. The aluminum corrosion problem with our new Bosch dishwasher is that anything aluminum is just plain eaten up: measuring spoons, garlic press, and, aluminum bottoms of otherwise stainless steel Farberware pots and pans. Nothing like this has happened in the 40 years of washing the Farberware in dishwashers. On the pot bottoms, it can start off with a coppery/bronze tint but progresses to pitting. This is our first stainless-steel-interior dishwasher, and it no doubt runs at the highest temperature in our experience. No change in detergent (Cascade Platinum, 15X Power). I get that there's chemistry going on, but why now? And what can be done to stop it from happening? The wife will not wash the pots by hand (I do most of the cooking).

Richard Kerr
- Bethesda, Maryland, USA

April 2018

A. Hi Richard. I have a Bosch dishwasher with stainless interior as well, but we don't put aluminum in the dishwasher; it's just a bad idea. Personally I don't think the stainless interior is the problem, but you may be on the right track with the water temperature. Maybe you can turn down the water heater as long as the clothes washer keeps working.


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

May 1, 2018

A. With more research and a bit of experimentation, the appearance of aluminum corrosion with a new dishwasher can likely be attributed to a combination of:
previous removal of phosphates (which had some protective effect)from dishwasher detergents;
the addition of more corrosive agents to detergents to make up for the missing phosphates;
the higher water temperature of the new dishwasher;
the higher concentration of detergent in a more water-efficient dishwasher;
and the longer contact time of the new dishwasher.

Switching from Cascade Platinum (15X) to plain old Cascade (10X) helps a good deal but does not eliminate corrosion. Aluminum-clad pots will have to endure it; the rest of the aluminum will be replaced with stainless steel.

Richard Kerr
- Bethesda, Maryland, USA

July 16, 2018

Q. My jumbo Bialetti espresso pot (cast aluminum went from shiny and smooth to charcoal-black after a wash with Cascade Platinum.
I tried scotch-brute scrub, brillo scrub, cream of tartar in boiling water soak for 6 hours. Pot is brighter but remains dull and black smudges appear if i use a paper towel to wipe it. I'l try buffing next, but i can't easily buff the interior. Has anyone tried the ammonium citrate method suggested above (from Zagreb, Croatia) ??

fred buehrer
retired - Manchester, New Hampshire

December 30, 2018

Q. So I just washed my new meat grinder in the dishwasher, and got the same effect... boil it in water for a day to get rid of the grime? Or just buy new from the manufacturer? Totally not worried about it being shiny. Just want to make some sausage.

Matt Kohser
- Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania United States

December 2018

A. Hi Matt. Sorry about that. The manufacturer should probably have warned you. I personally like the cream of tartar answer the best.


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

Cooktop Cleaner Paste

January 13, 2019

A. Based on other suggestions here, I used grade 0000 steel wool [linked by editor to product info at Rockler] and glass stovetop (paste) cleaner, and it completely restored knives and other pieces that had been "ruined" for years.

Allyson Saaf
- San Antonio, Texas, USA

August 29, 2019

Q. Hi I just put my meat grinder parts in the dishwasher and all came out grey. Black just kept coming off, I read on pinterest about ketchup cleaning aluminum, it worked great, just coat the pieces , let sit for 5 min. wipe with lots of paper towels, repeat if you need to, then rinse with water. I haven't used it yet. Can I still use the parts even thought they aren't shiny?

Dorothy Turner
retired - RR#1 Dashwood canada

August 2019

A. Hi Dorothy. I am not familiar with the use of ketchup on aluminum (cream of tartar seems the most highly suggested fix on this site). But if the ketchup solved the problem, great. There is no need for aluminum to be shiny for it to be safe and usable. Good luck with it.


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

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