Can You Restore the Shine to Dull Flatware?

Real Simple answers your questions.

Q. My 18/10 stainless-steel flatware has changed in color. Can I bring back the original shine, or should I just purchase a new set?
Peggy Wong
Anthem, Arizona

A. While 18/10 stainless-steel flatware is made to last a long time without changing color, many years of daily use and washing will take their toll. The nickel in the steel creates the shine, and when it wears away, discoloration happens. Unfortunately, even polishing can’t return the original luster, but some of the discoloration can be removed. Just give each piece an extra scrubbing with soap and water followed by a food-safe stainless-steel polish. (Steer clear of abrasive rags and cleaners, as these will scratch.)

If the discoloration won’t budge, you can still use the stainless steel safely. Should you decide to purchase a new, shiny set, consider swapping it out from time to time with other pieces to prolong the original polished look.

―Nykia Spradley


Ask a Question
Got a practical dilemma? Submit your question.

Your submission to RealSimple.com, including contact information, gives us the right to modify, use, distribute, reproduce, publish and display the submission indefinitely in all media, means, and forms without any payment to you. You hereby represent that you haven't copied the content from a book, magazine, newspaper, or other commercial source. Your submission to RealSimple.com, and your use of the website are subject to Real Simple's Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

(For questions about your subscription, please visit the Customer Service Help Desk.)