Dishwasher tarnishing silver cutlery

Unfortunately, silver cutlery does become tarnished when washed in a dishwasher, and the result is the silver becomes discoloured.  This is usually caused by one of the following, or a combination:

  • Silver cutlery touching stainless steel items
  • Dry detergent powder onto wet cutlery
  • Presence of sulphides or chlorides in the water.  These can also be found in foodstuffs, such as salt or egg for instance

Tarnishing can also be caused by air oxidation, and that is why good silver cutlery should be kept in the box in which  they are purchased .  This can be a bit of a trial getting the box in and out when you want to use your silver cutlery, but it is worthwhile.  Any actions you can take to keep it looking as good as new is worthwhile.

Unfortunately. in a dishwasher the silver is oxidised by the oxygen based bleach system.  The silver oxide reacts with the sulphide or chlorine ions from foodstuffs  such as egg or salt.  You will notice the tarnish as a sort of yellowy colour, but this will eventually turn black.

Although this looks horrible, you can return your cutlery to its shiny finish with the use of elbow grease and a silver cleaner.


The best care for your silver cutlery is to wash in soap and water, but you can also take some precautions when using the dishwasher.  

  • Always rinse the cutlery before placing in the dishwasher, removing any traces of foodstuff first
  • Keep the silver cutlery entirely separate from any stainless steel items
  • Avoid pouring deterging directly onto the cutlery
  • Turn the machine on once you have placed the silver cutlery in the basket





Disclaimer: The information provided has been prepared as a guide only and the steps taken are likely to vary for different appliance models. We strongly recommend using a qualified engineer to undertake major repairs and fault finding.


Need help?