Metal spoon marks on dishes and cups won't disappear through normal washing methods, no matter how hard you scrub with a dish sponge or how many dishwasher cycles they go through. However, there are some methods you can try before giving up and purchasing new dishware.
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What Causes the Metal Marks?
The metal marks found on plates, bowls and the bottom of mugs are caused by silverware. When a fork, spoon or knife scrapes across the dish's surface, they leave behind a metal trail. These markings are not scratches etched into the dish but are scuff marks, meaning you can remove them.
While lower-quality dishes are more prone to metal scuff marks, higher-quality dishes are not immune. Regardless of the quality, any dish can acquire metal scuff marks from regular, daily use over time. Metal marks are not exclusive to white dishes, but usually stand out more against the pristine white.
Precautions to Avoid Metal Scuff Marks
Developing some metal scuff marks may be inevitable, but you can take a few precautions to decrease the problem. Keeping the cutlery and white china separate in the dishwasher can cut down on scuffing. Avoiding abrasive cleaners and stainless steel can also protect your white china from forming metal scuff marks as well.
The metal marks may be unsightly; however, they do not mean it's time to replace the dish. The metal marks are not permanent, and you can remove them with items you're likely to find in your pantry. Depending on the severity of the markings, you can usually restore your dishware to look brand new.
How to Remove Metal Marks From Cups
To remove metal marks from cups, you will need to use an abrasive that is strong enough to remove the fork or spoon marks but is gentle enough not to cause further damage to the dishware. Two everyday pantry items can do the trick: baking soda and cream of tartar. For light scuffs, sprinkle the baking soda or cream of tartar onto the metal-marked surface. Next, add a couple drops of water to the surface and gently rub it in with a wet soft, cloth, such as a dishcloth or microfiber cloth. The water helps form a paste to spread.
Allow the paste to settle for a couple of minutes before you continue scrubbing. Then, work the wet dishcloth over the scuffs until they disappear. If the scuff marks are dark and thick, apply some pressure until the mark disappears. Once finished, wash the dish with soap and water and allow it to dry.
For heavy scuff marks that appear almost black, you may need a heavier-duty product instead of baking soda or cream of tartar, such as a similar cleanser product available in powder or cream form. The scuff mark removal process is the same. Sprinkle the powder or cream cleanser onto the dish and gently rub the solution over the surface. Allow the cleanser to sit for 10 to 15 seconds so it can break apart the scuff marks, then lightly scrub the surface and rinse. Depending on the severity, you may need to repeat the process for all marks to disappear.