Asked on Jun 10, 2017

Silver plate flatware tarnishing in dishwasher- what's causing it?

by Kathleen

I have silverplate flatware that I have been using for 20 years and washing in dishwasher. Moved to new location and now every time I wash in dishwasher it turns black with tarnish. No heat dry and using same detergent (cascade) I always used. If I wash it by hand with dish soap, no tarnish. What is causing this?

  23 answers
  • Treasa glinnwater Treasa glinnwater on Jun 10, 2017
    I never wash my silver in the dishwasher, always by hand

  • Kathleen Kathleen on Jun 10, 2017
    I do wash my good sterling silver flatware by hand, but this is my "everyday" set.

    • See 1 previous
    • Sandra Sandra on Aug 23, 2019

      I also am mystified as to why the silver is tarnishing after 50 years of using the dishwasher. What a pain!!!

  • FL FL on Jun 10, 2017
    It could be a few things, like a change in the cascade formula, the inclusion of lemon or citrus elements to the detergent, the new dishwasher using salt to help soften hard water, or something else. Here is the website for Cascade:  ; You can contact them with your questions and get the answers you need!

  • First, even silverplate should not be put in the dishwasher. Chances are it is the minerals in the water at your new location.

    • Sandra Sandra on Aug 23, 2019

      Silver plate will wash away. Sterling has been fine in the dishwasher. Not anymore

  • Linda Barrett Dirksen Linda Barrett Dirksen on Jun 10, 2017
    Never mix silver next to stainless. You can soak your silver in the sink with aluminum foil and vinegar to remove the tarnish.

  • William William on Jun 10, 2017
    I agree with Naomie. Should wash it by hand. It more likely are the minerals in the water. Sulfur and chlorine in the water will tarnish silver.

  • Elaine Elaine on Jun 10, 2017
    Silverplate and solid silver should NEVER go in the dishwasher. I'm amazed you haven't had tarnishing long before this!! D/W detergents are very harsh to begin with but since you have had no tarnishing before, it must be the water at your new location.

  • FL FL on Jun 11, 2017

  • Eliot Geer Eliot Geer on Jun 11, 2017
    I've been told to never mix silver with stainless.

  • Emily Emily on Jun 13, 2018
    We use silverplate almost exclusively and it is always put in the dishwasher. I would think it may be a difference in the water. Silverplate (and sterling if I am lucky enough to find it) is one of my collectibles, so mine is always second hand. All silverplate needs to be cleaned with a product made for it, occasionally.

    • Cel51853179 Cel51853179 on Aug 08, 2021

      I've washed my silverplate in the dishwasher for over 30 years, separated from the other flatware, and it has been beautiful until now it has a brown tarnish that won't come off. I would never wash my sterling in the dishwasher, thank goodness. I suspect the Cascade that I have always used has put in additives. nothing else has changed, same house, same town and water, same dishwasher, never any other products used with it.

  • Jo Stewart Jo Stewart on Jun 13, 2018
    I also use antique silverplate every day, and I always wash it by hand. The chemicals in dishwasher detergent are harsh and caustic and will eat away the plating on your silverware over time. Hand wash definitely.

  • Sara Sara on Mar 08, 2019

    I just switched from GE to KitchenAid 4 months ago and NOW I am having a problem with my silver-plate getting tarnished. My white china is also turning gray! I am not a happy camper and I am using Cascade because KitchenAid recommends Cascade! Never had a problem with the GE dishwasher. I would definitely like an explanation.

  • Lisa Lisa on Jul 21, 2019

    This is also happening to me and I haven't changed my DW (Asko) or my detergent (Cascade platinum packets). It did start happening AFTER I cleaned all my silver in a pot with baking soda and a sheet of aluminum foil. That worked pretty well for the silver, but now it is tarnished even more and got so very quickly, and my dishes are stained grey. Wondering how to clean dishes and the inside of the DW as the plastic inside also looks grey tarnished. ??

  • Lolly Lolly on Jul 29, 2019

    Ive noticed too that lately the stainless we've used beautifully for years started to tarnish a lot all of a sudden lately, and to fade. I havent changed dishwashers, detergents or anything else so I wondered if its the water or if the detergent formulae have changed? Been using Finish all along but wondering if that is the culprit? The stainless flatware is good, Fortunoff, and I dont think quality was the trouble. Any ideas anyone??


  • Sara Sara on Aug 13, 2019

    I switched to Cascade as KitchenAid recommended. But, I bought a set of stainless now for everyday use! My Noritaki china that turned gray is still gray but lighter after using SOFT SCRUB but the platinum trim is ruined. Fortunately I never used all the china in that short span of time with the new dishwasher so all that china is not grayed out! Maybe the fact that it is stainless steel inside didn’t agree with the Finish detergent or maybe they changed the ingredients but the Cascade seems to work OK. SORRY for this long response. Hope it helps!

  • Pat Pat on Aug 23, 2019

    I don't have that problem but am interested is what is causing it. I use Finish Quantum which has the rinse in it. Are any of you using the rinse aid? Once a month I clean the filter on the DW and run an empty load with two cups of vinegar in a bowl on the upper rack. I have china with platinum rims and they are okay. I don't use silver plate silverware much but haven't noticed it tarnishing....hope you can solve the mystery and com back and tell us.

  • Peggy Sadler Peggy Sadler on Jan 18, 2020

    We have the tarnishing problem with our everyday sterling flatware. We have used Finish Quantum and a rinse aid for years and had no problem until about 2 1/2 years ago. The silver began to come out looking dull and then after a few washes, black. We moved 1 1/2 years ago, different DW & water. Same thing happened. I haven't tried cleaning the filter regularly and running an empty load with vinegar. Will try that and see if it clears up the tarnishing.

  • Rachel Weatherill Rachel Weatherill on Feb 10, 2020

    My silver plated cutlery set that I bought cheap second hand and polished up has done the same thing in the dishwasher and turned yellow. I came on here to see if the rinse aid is causing it. Have you recently started using rinse aid?

  • David Bowker David Bowker on Apr 26, 2020

    I have been putting my silverware in the dishwasher in the same location for 25 years and it has just started tarnishing. I suspect the dishwasher tablets have found a new additive. Incidentally it also turned my bone handled knives a delicate blue.

  • Charles Charles on Aug 11, 2020

    For decades we used Cascade ORIGINAL for our silver plated flatware in the dishwasher with no problems. Recently switched to Cascade Platinum pods and Cascade Complete pods, and both quickly tarnished our silverware dark gray.

    Switched back to Cascade ORIGINAL pods, and voila, the problem has not repeated! Hope this is helpful to someone!

    • Strykerbee Strykerbee on Nov 20, 2022

      Unfortunately this must be exactly how our decades old silver plate and newer hotel silver plate flatware has been reduced to the brass underneath! We too have washed above in the dishwasher and only started having issues since switching to the fancy Cascade Platinum pods when Costco started selling them:( Thank you for contributing to this thread - will be purchasing new flatware + Cascade Original Pods immediately

  • Cindy Cindy on Oct 30, 2021

    Peggy - I tried the vinegar cleaning of the dishwasher. Dishwasher drum looks pristine. But cleaning has not slowed down the graying of my stainless flatware. I have noticed that almost all of the gray/black occurs on the inner eating surface of the flatware - the handles are mostly untouched. Big soup spoons are the most impacted, then forks. Back side looks much better that concave surface of spoons and forks. I too suspect that it is coming from some change in dishwasher detergent/additive. I have been using the old Finish hard dishwasher detergent pod with the red hard ball on top (from Costco)*. Or I will occasionally use the packets of lemon dishwasher detergent. I wonder if the lemon might have started this problem. I plan to try the vinegar and baking soda approach on the flatware - or maybe even with the foil to try to catch any mineral deposits. Or I may use the water softener and foil on the worst pieces - they don't look useable with the loss of shine on the gray/black surfaces, I suspect those pieces are ruined with little chance of recovery.

    When I use a rinse aid, it is the blue liquid in the dispenser. I think it is either Complete or Finish brand liquid. I am just not good with refilling, and don't see much difference when I use it.

    • This Finish "ball" is the very BEST to use to clean oven glass door. Wet down lightly and "scrub" glass with this hard pod till baked on goo liquidizes. Cleanest that window has been in years!

    Has anyone found a cause and a fix for the gray/black flatware surfaces in the last year?

  • William William on Dec 24, 2021

    Silver cutlery needs special care. They need to be washed separately from the rest of the dishes without fail.

  • Deb K Deb K on Jan 09, 2022

    Hi Kathleen, hope this helps you out, to minimize the risk of your silverware tarnishing, make sure you thoroughly rinse your dishes and cutlery before loading them, use a citrus-free detergent like Finish Quantum® and never wash silverware alongside stainless steel cutlery.