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Cleaning Dirilyte Gold-tone Flatware

Q. I have a large collection of Dirilyte Empress flatware and accessory pieces. Most of the pieces were acquired 1976-1980. None of them have BP markings with the Dirilyte but I assume most have that coating because they are shiny and near perfect. I do have 2 large serving spoons and large serving fork that are very spotty and tarnished, again with no BP markings. Since they look so bad, what should I try first to clean them with (soap and water made no difference). I've read all of the entries in this thread making notes.

Jean Ferraraccio
wife, grandmother - Nacogdoches Texas
May 23, 2023

A. Hello Jean.
Sometimes such spots are a lack of polish or smoothness, a small scale porosity. If the suggestions on this page aren't doing much, maybe the Cream of Tartar [affil link] approach described on thread 41066 will restore the look. Let us know.
Luck & Regards,

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

↓ Closely related postings, oldest first ↓

Q. I recently acquired a service for 12 of "gold-tone" flatware. It is marked DURALITE. It is discolored and appears spotted. I cannot find ANY reference to DURALITE on the WWW. Do you know of this type of finish/product? Can you suggest how to clean it? My aunt said that I would need cleaner made especially for DURALITE.

Thank you,

Fred O [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Kirtland, Ohio

A. It's Dirilyte. Make sure you don't store the flatware in a silverware case. It will cause the Dirilyte to tarnish more.

Trish W [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Boston, Massachusetts

A. The Dirilyte Line Company is still in business in Warsaw IN. They make a polish for Dirilyte which is excellent. I have used it on brass candlesticks as well as on my Dirilyte. It was better than any other polish I have ever tried.

Suzanne R [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Burr Ridge, Illinois

A. I just read responses from others regarding Dirilyte and need to update their information.
The former Dirilyte Company in Warsaw Indiana is now Harms Polishing. They used to polish, and seal-coat Dirilyte but stopped seal-coating it in 1994 when the chemical became unavailable.
As of October 2006 they have sold off their company that made metal artificial joints. That company was the division that polished Dirilyte, so they no longer will polish or seal Dirilyte. The company suggests taking your Dirilyte to a jeweler or just doing it yourself using their polish-- which they do still make. You can find it on the internet.

Alice Vernon
- Oakwood, Illinois

A. This is a correction to a typo in my message regarding the former Dirilyte Company in Warsaw, IN. The company who purchased Dirilyte is Hand Industries, Inc. They are still in Warsaw, IN. In my earlier response, I pointed out that they sold off the division that formerly polished Dirilyte for owners in October of 2006. And they know no company who does that now. Their recommendation was to take it to a local jeweler, OR to just do it at home using the Dirilyte polish that is still available online and in some retailers.

Alice Vernon (returning)
- Oakwood, Illinois

A. I grew up with Dirilyte and would very much like to have my own. My mom has all pieces -- flatware, coffee and tea service, serving pieces, and glasses. The stuff made before the 70s was not sealed and requires a special polish made by the company. The stuff made after the 70s is "sealed". Be careful about polishing that stuff. polishing is a pain and I remember spending hours getting the "purple" off. you can have your Dirilyte sealed by the company.

Mel M [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Las Cruces, New Mexico

A. Dirilyte is difficult to polish and EXTREMELY expensive. The set for 12 I own is pre WWII Empress set. Last appraisal was $45,000 (complete set including coffee/tea service.) Stuff from the 70's is not the same. DO NOT SEAL, it will only peel and ruin a good meal. I suggest you find some poor young fool to polish it all for you. And do NOT use ANY kind of abrasive. HAND WASH ONLY, running them in the dishwasher will severely tarnish the finish, if it does not stain in the dishwasher it is NOT Dirilyte. Eggs are a pain to remove so don't use them for breakfast.

Stephen T [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Miami, Florida

Peek Metal Polish

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A. I just tried a product called Peek.
It also polished silver, jewelry, etc.! It is less toxic than the Dirilyte polish.

Faye S [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Potsdam, New York

Q. What is a safe cleaner for (Dirigold) Dirilyte? I have an 8 piece setting from Sweden purchased by immigrant Swedes who went back for a visit to Sweden in 1922.

Caroline Carlson
hobbyist - Hayward, California

A. You can order polish from the Dirilyte Company at www.Dirilyte.com. I believe it is $21.95 plus $4.95 for shipping (2007 prices).

Dave Hayes
- Westchester, New York

Peek Metal Polish

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Q. I own a set of Dirigold flatware and have a problem keeping them spot free. After polishing with Maas it looks great. But after one use, and then washing and drying by hand, the bowl of the teaspoons get a round, black tarnish spot which has to be removed with fine steel wool and then repolished. Can you tell me the cause of this problem?

Jacqueline Travis
- Chester, Vermont

Q. I just purchased a large collection of Dirilyte from an estate sale, not knowing what I was purchasing. In the dimly lit room, overlooked in a corner, and appearing severely tarnished, this monogrammed collection looked like one of the silver patterns I inherited so I didn't examine it closely. (Okay, I'll admit I left my glasses at home!) Beginning my task of cleaning and polishing this "silver", I put on my glasses and, in the sunlight, discovered I purchased something delightful! The pieces are marked differently, some with Dirilyte or Dirigold only, some with Dirigold and the 3 clovers, and some so worn you can only make out the indentation of the 3 clovers. The condition of the finish ranges from poor to very good. I want to polish and restore this, but, being a novice, don't know how to tell if it is coated on not, the age of the different pieces, and I don't want to ruin this metal. The letters posted seem to indicate that you cannot use a polish on the coated items.

Thank you for your help!

Fran Tribble
hobbyist - Manakin-Sabot, Virginia
June 8, 2008

"Kovel's Antiques and Collectibles"
from Abe Books

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A. Hi, Fran. If the flatware has a bonded clearcoat finish on top of it, attempts to polish it just won't work (the polish won't get through the clearcoat). So I don't think there is harm in simply trying to polish it.


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





- MINNEAPOLIS, Minneapolis
August 10, 2008

A. I have a 12 place setting set of Dirilyte that I never have used because of the polishing problem, but recently I experimented and used vinegar and Bon-Ami [affil link], and although it is not a mirror finish, it is beautiful, and has nothing harmful to my health to use it. Now I can use it without taking hours to polish it first. After using it you can finish it off with MAAS for a mirror finish, but it looks great to me without doing that.
Hope this helps someone.

Anne Ishiguro
- Desoto, Texas

Q. I have a few questions: 1) If the Dirilyte is sealed, is it okay to remove the seal? 2) If I remove the seal, I assume it will just tarnish and require polishing more often than unsealed? 3) Is the Dirilyte composition the same for the old unsealed and the newer sealed pieces? 4) I recently bought a set of creamer-sugar bowls, and when I received them they did not have Dirilyte engraved on them anywhere. They appear more "brassy" and less gold colored. In addition, when attempting to polish with Dirilyte brand polish, there was absolutely no effect. Did Dirilyte ever make pieces without engraving?

Tom Hummert
consumer - Hendersonville, North Carolina
January 31, 2009

Q. I put hot food on a coated Dirilyte platter. It is now uneven in color. What can I do. If I need to have it refinished, where do I do that?

Deanna Miller
- St. Charles, Missouri
June 7, 2009

A. I simply put my Dirilyte in a glass loaf pan and soak in brasso....as many flatware pieces as will fit..remove those pieces and repeat with all your flatware this works as well as anything I have tried...you still have to polish, but this really cuts down on the elbow grease....

Carolyn Dennis
- Virginia beach Virginia

A. As owner of Dirilyte flatware service for 8, I polish with a cut lemon rubbed in salt. Thank you Martha Stewart -- this is the method she recommends for copper cookie cutters and it works on my flatware if only minimally tarnished.

Ruth Waller
- Northridge, California

A. I just want to let all of you know that I tried the Brasso poured in a glass dish. I have used Brasso for as long as I can remember to clean Dirilyte. THEY CHANGED THE FORMULA. It is now an ammonia based product and made a big mess of the pieces I soaked. The best cleaners I've found are the Dirilyte cleaner and Maas metal polish [affil link]. I use the MAAS first to get most of the tarnish off and then follow up with the Dirilyte polish which gives the pieces a beautiful mirrored finish. I also use my Dremel [affil link] on stubborn spots. I use a plastic brush attachment, put a little MAAS or Dirilyte Polish on the piece, and then use the Dremel Tool.

Vicki Torres
- El Paso, Texas
January 14, 2010

A. I have used Dirilyte since 1948. Immediately after the meal, I soak the Dirilyte in a solution of hot water with suds of Dreft [affil link]. Then rinse with very hot water and dry with clean towels.
Let Dirilyte rest on dry towels to air-dry before storing. I have also used the Dirilyte cleaner. My Dirilyte looks wonderful after 60 years.

Alice Danielson
- Palo Alto, California

A. I nearly went nuts trying to figure out how to clean some Dirilyte flatware I have. Then I found out that it is not plated but that the color is solid clear through! I had read all these warnings about what and what not to use. This is what I found. I am talking about the Dirilyte that is NOT marked BP on the back. I am talking about the Dirilyte that was made before 1961, that is not plated.

I use Wenol [affil link] for all my stainless flatware, so I decided to try it. SUCCESS! You can rub and rub and rub out stubborn stains, and your goldware will shine and look like liquid gold when you are through. The more you buff it, the greater it looks. Be sure to wash them in soapy water by hand, and then dry them well.

If you maintain it by lightly polishing when needed, after your first polish, it will continue to look great. The gold never rubs off. REMEMBER ... MAKE SURE IT IS NOT MARKED BP ON THE BACK.

Nena Whitten
- Glendale, Arizona USA

A. Clean dirilyte flatware the easy way, CLR or Lime Out type products are safe to clean most appliances. To clean flatware I used a damp rag with Lime Out and immediately wipe away years of tarnish. cleans like new. Test first.

I used "Lime Out" then put in a bowl of fresh water, when finished I dried each piece of flatware.

Larry Eisman
Hobby - West Covina, California

Q. I have my grandmother's Dirilyte. What is it made of? Does it contain brass, or gold, or both?

Alice Derbyshire
inheritant - Fort Worth, Texas, USA
October 31, 2011

A. Hi, Alice

Dirilyte is bronze, it contains no gold. We have other threads here about Dirilyte. Just use the search term 'Dirilyte' in the search engine. Good luck.


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

Q. Has anyone used SimiChrome [affil link] polish on Dirilyte?

Cheryl Blalock
- New York, New York, USA
November 26, 2011

A. Hi, Alice. Hi, Cheryl. In topic 10366, Eve M from Copper, CA has; and in topic 16071, Mike G from Kokomo has.


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


thumbs up signMy Dirilyte set of 6 place settings is 47 years old, been kept in a fairly inexpensive silverware chest, and has not been used for maybe 20 years. Looks the same as when last used, looking forward to cleaning it with the new product.

Nancy Wadle
- Gravois Mills, Missouri USA
September 24, 2012

Q. I am so grateful for all these posts. I have inherited a 12 piece set and got what I thought was the special polish from the manufacturer, Tarn-X. I just finished polishing everything up for Thanksgiving and some of the pieces now have purple splotches. I don't think these pieces are sealed but if anybody feels they have a tried and true solution I would love to hear it before I run out tomorrow and buy some of the products mentioned above.

Also, I think I need to replace the case she had the flatware in and since we aren't supposed to use a silver case, could anyone send a recommendation.

Thanks much and Happy Thanksgiving to all.


Gervaise Christiansen
- Walnut Creek, California
November 19, 2012


bob jones
November 24, 2012

A. Hi Bob. This site is about metal finishing and we specifically avoid evaluation discussions because everyone has stuff in their garage or in grandma's attic, and we would drown under the traffic overnight -- but if people are offering similar items for a given price, that's what determines their maximum value :-)

I see a Dirigold "Century of Progress Fair" spoon in poorer condition for $7.55 and another listed "in excellent condition" on E-bay for a buy-it-now price of $24.95, so I can't see how another one could command much more than $25 at present. Best of luck with it!


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

A. I just discovered that Muriatic acid (Hydrochloric acid) in a weak solution, helps dissolve the dark stains. It will save on the polishing later. I also tried weak sulfuric acid, but it didn't come close to doing the job HCl did.

Of course be careful, wear gloves and eye protection, with plenty of ventilation.

I plan on cleaning my complete set before a dinner party in two weeks.


John Rathgeber
- Wichita, Kansas, USA
April 15, 2013

A. Hi all. I inherited a large set of Dirilyte/Dirigold from my mother, who inherited it from a friend in 1960. Much of the set dates from the 1920s-1930s. Many years ago I bought 4 bottles of the Dirigold polish from the company in Warsaw IN. The polish is quite toxic but does a great job of cleaning the flatware. I'm still on the first bottle. After using the flatware, I wash and dry by hand, and let sit out overnight to be sure it is completely dry.

To store the flatware, I wrap similar pieces (like dinner folks) together in a high quality soft paper towel, and then store in Ziploc bags. Most pieces stay shiny and untarnished, so are ready for use as needed. Mom used to store in plastic wrap, but the flatware tarnished where the plastic touched it.

Jan Kidd
- Bloomington, Minnesota, USA

Q. I have a lot of old Dirigold from Sweden. I am using MAAS to polish and that works fine but there are these marks on the metal that won't come out by hand. They are rough to the touch. I don't know what they are (mold?).


Any help would be appreciated.

Carol Swanson
- Tinley Park, Illinois, USA
October 6, 2013

A. Hi Carol. I doubt that they are mold. They are probably a bit of miniature volcano-like pitting due to corrosion of the zinc portion of the alloy. If you don't have a Dremel, get a buffing pad for your battery operated drill. Try the MAAS on the buffing pad, but you might need something slightly more aggressive like automotive rubbing compound. Good luck.


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

thumbs up signThank you for your information. I am having the Dirigold buffed/polished.

Carol Swanson [returning]
- Tinley Park, Illinois, USA

A. I have had my Dirilyte flatware since 1949 and use to dread cleaning it as it gave me a rash. I now use
Barkeepers Friend [affil link] without a problem and my flatware looks as good today as the day I bought it.

Rita Rolter
- Aventura, Florida, USA

thumbs up signI inherited my mother's 1939 wedding Dirilyte and my family has been using it every Thanksgiving for 74 years. I polish it very successfully with either Flitz (available at all Marine stores) or Wenol [affil link] Metal Polish. Both require very little rubbing and leave a wonderful high gloss finish. Much less expensive than the Dirilyte product for sale on the web and both work wonderfully. Having 20 for Thanksgiving in two days and the table looks beautiful. Mom was born in 1916 and I'm an old lady myself. Thankfully my nephew loves the look and heft of it too so I can rejoice in the legacy moving forward.

Wendy Krueger
- Ft Lauderdale, Florida, USA

Q. I am in the same boat trying to clean my Dirilyte. Most of these cleaners sound a little harsh. If you use the Tarn-x do you have to buff the Dirigold items? The question I have: will an item like Tarn-x pit your Dirilyte?

mike brankle
- kokomo Indiana
September 4, 2014

thumbs up signI just finished polishing my mother's Dirilyte flatware from the '50s. The knives were particularly spotted/oxidized. Nevertheless, using Mother's Metal Polish (common automotive product) with an old T-shirt I finished the six-place setting in about 30 minutes. It gleams! Peter

Peter Grohse
- Raleigh, North Carolina
November 26, 2015

Q. I have my mothers Dirilyte which she purchased in 1939 (some of the sales slips are included) How do I tell if it is the Empress Collection? I checked and the pieces are labeled Dirilyte but nothing else. Christy

Christy Coolidge
- Queen Valley, Arizona
January 3, 2016

A. The Empress pattern has a thin square handle. I'll try an upload a picture from my mom's set.

Kelly Vella
- Highland, Michigan, USA

Cape Cod Polishing Cloths

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A. Cape Cod Metal Polishing Cloths work the best! I have tried: Soft scrub, steel wool, Bon Ami, Bar Keeper's Friend, Nevr-Dull, Goddard's Silver Polish. I PROMISE, rub briskly, wash with soap and water and BEAUTIFUL, shiny; like I remember on my Grammy's table.

Tamara Langrich
- Long Valley, New Jersey USA
March 5, 2017

Ed. note: Readers -- Sometimes brand names have to be mentioned, but please try to keep recommendations as generic as possible (huh? why?) -- we know from doing this for 25 years that some postings we receive are from sales agents posing as satisfied customers :-)

Q. I just found some Dirilyte at a thrift store. I like the tarnished, non-shiny look. I'm wondering if I use it daily and put it in the dishwasher, what would happen? Will they be unusable? I don't want shiny flatware... Just think the tarnished version is beautiful.

Marissa McBride
- Davis, California, USA
April 24, 2018

A. I received a set of really tarnished dirigold as a hand me down. I tried to contact the company to refinish them, but found out they stopped refinishing in 2006. I found a guy who does it, Neil McGowan <npmcgowan@Gmail.com>.

7137-2a 7137-2b

Danielle Lantz
- Youngstown, Ohio/ USA

Q. I have inherited a 12 piece place setting of Dirilyte Regal, purchased in 1958. There is no BP on the back, just the brand name. Does this mean it is not sealed? Should I care for it differently? It has no staining but seems dull in color. I don't want to polish until I know what action to take. Thank you.

carole cory
- loomis, Calif. USA
January 15, 2019

Q. I bought a mixed set of Dirilyte through Goodwill last year. Love it and it reminds me of what we used as a kid in 60s.
I bought the polish and it works great (although smells awful and needs lots of ventilation). My question is - how should I store the flatware to keep it as tarnish-free as possible?

Laura Campbell
- Beaverton, Oregon
February 13, 2019

Silverware box with anti-tarnish lining

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A. Hi Laura. Although most people probably don't realize it, the cloth in cases for silverware, and soft silverware 'bags' often have Volatile Corrosion Inhibitors (VOCs) in them which reduces the tendency to tarnish.


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

Q. Thanks for your reply. I thought I had read NOT to store in tarnish resistant items normally used for silverware. Am I mistaken?

Laura Campbell [returning]
- Beaverton, Oregon USA

A. Hi again. If you are able to remember where you saw it and point me to that claim, I'll be happy to look at it and either rebut it or change my opinion. But I'm not going to simply insist that someone is wrong without even hearing their reasoning or evidence :-)


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

A. Just jumping on the chain a couple months later. Indeed the Dirilyte company itself recommended in several locations to NOT store Dirilyte/Dirigold in TREATED felt/silverware boxes. I also found other sources that said that same for this particular brand. Adding some photographic evidence. Thanks!


As a note, I was gifted a full set of Dirilyte Express pattern last evening - this thread is priceless - a big thank you to the moderator, Mr. Ted Mooney.

Kristin Lange
- Oceanside, California

thumbs up sign  Hi cousin Kristin. And thank you for fully answering February's discussion. As you've demonstrated, Dirilyte says don't use VOC cloths or storage boxes, and I cheerfully acknowledge that they know more about it than me ... so I have stricken through my suggestion that it could be used :-)


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

Q. Okay I have two sets of Dirilyte flatware one is my mother's the other mine. I know mine was bought as a wedding gift in 1967; my mother's was bought before probably on 1960. I really want to polish. I ordered Dirilyte polish but it does seem to work if you leave on flatware and let it dry. Where can I buy more?? Any other suggestions? This is not an easy procedure.

Sandy mercurio
- Spring Lake, Michigan
March 21, 2020


Q. Just got this beautiful Empress 64 piece set.

Three questions:
- How do I tell if it's the BP kind or the kind that requires the polish?
- Also, I've read other comments about not storing in a silverware box but this came in a box with the Dirilyte seal and below that seal another seal that says: Nakens tarnish proof silverware chest. Is it okay to leave it in this box?
- Third how do you date the sets?

Thank you for the help.

John Buntin
- Vail, Arizona
August 5, 2020

thumbs up sign I recently bought 6 Dirigold demitasse spoons. They were very tarnished. I THOUGHT THEY WERE RUINED!I had some Brasso I tried on the back of the handles. It worked great. It did take some elbow grease.It is petroleum based. So a caution.
My Husband inherited his grandmother's Dirilyte set. We love to use it on holidays. I did notice that one spoon had pitting on it. I have read some really helpful hints. Thank you all.
Mary Ann

Mary AnnFox
- Gainesville Florida
April 16, 2021

A. I just bought a box of Dirilyte (which I had never before heard of) from Goodwill. The box carries the Dirilyte seal, so I hope it's okay to store the stuff. While the finish on the flatware is not awful, it is spotty. I happened to be working on some badly tarnished silverplate with Simichrome, and thinking the Dirilyte might be made of brass, I used the Simichrome on a spoon. The spoon gleamed like gold! [Whereas] washing in hot soap and water did not change the shine.

Linda Potter
- Colonial Heights

Q. If you "don't store your Dirilyte in a silverware chest", where do you keep it so it doesn't tarnish?

Goldie Graeme
Domestic Engineer - MEQUON, Wisconsin
November 27, 2021

Barkeeper's Friend 2-pack

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thumbs up sign YAY! Happy to report that I tried Barkeeper's Friend (the soft scrub version, not the powder) on badly stained/tarnished Dirigold and Dirilyte and it worked really well! There are still a few tiny marks that need a bit more attention but overall, the pieces look amazing.

I also tried Brasso - it worked, too but the strong scent was too much to handle in an unventilated room.

Lisa Green
- Cleveland, Ohio
February 22, 2022

A. I just bought a bottle of Dirilyte cleaner on eBay. That seems to now be the only place you can buy it.

Sue Nightingale
- Lubbock, Texas
August 14, 2022

A. It's DIRILITE and you can find the cleaner/polish on EBAY

RFQ: I'd be interested in purchasing Dirilite flatware.
Francesca Wolfsohn
- Merrick, New York
October 6, 2022
    privately respond to this RFQ   ^
Ed. note: As always, gentle readers: technical replies in public and commercial replies in private please (huh? why?)

A. It's Dirilyte. It has that name on the original dried up can of polish, on the flatware itself, and on the new bottles of polish available on eBay.

Andrew LB
- Peoples Republic of Kalifornia
January 9, 2023

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