How to Remove Metal Marks from Cups and Bowls


Gerry asked: How do I remove metal marks on cups and bowls. I’m trying to discover how to clean the marks left in our cereal bowls and tea cups by the metal spoons. Can you help? Thanks.

Surprisingly, the metal marks left by utensils on dishware are usually a reflection of the dishes and not the flatware.  If you begin to see these marks, inadequate or worn glazing on your dishes is more likely to blame than the quality of your silverware.  In either case, there are a couple of things you can try to remove the stains from your dishes.

You Will Need:

  • Pencil eraser
  • Barkeeper’s Friend (A powdered abrasive cleaner which can be found in your local grocer.)
  • Soft cloth or sponge
  • Water

Steps to Remove the Metal Marks:

  1. In many cases, a simple pencil eraser will work, even when scrubbing and scouring has failed.  Before taking further steps, try to “erase” the metal marks from clean dishes. The method should be the same as if you were erasing a lead pencil mark.
  2. If the marks remain, the next step is to apply Barkeeper’s Friend Cleanser and Polish. If  using this on colored dishes, spot test in an inconspicuous place to make sure that none of the coloring is removed.
  3. Start by making a paste from Barkeeper’s Friend and water.
  4. Apply the paste to the stain on a clean dish with a soft cloth or sponge.
  5. Rub thoroughly.
  6. Rinse with clean water to remove all of the cleaning paste.
  7. Repeat as necessary.  You may have to use quite a bit of elbow grease to eradicate the stain.
  8. Once the marks are removed, wash and rinse the dishes thoroughly, making sure to remove all of the paste.

Additional Tips and Advice

  • Metal marks are commonly caused by the dishwasher.  Make sure there are no exposed metal points in your machine, as they will leave marks on dishes if they come in contact with them during the wash cycle.
  • Serrated knives are another common culprit when it comes to stains.  Avoid leaving them in contact with dishes for extended periods of time.
  • If you soak your dishes, separate utensils from dishes when possible.  Doing so will make it unlikely that your flatware will remain in contact with your dishes for a long time – a situation that raises the odds of stains appearing.


  1. I have read about five articles. Tried CLR first; didn’t work. Second, Soft Scrub; didn’t work. Third, Barkeepers Friend (which I use for my sink); WORKED! Thank you.

  2. Did not have any “Barkeeper’s Friend” so tried a polishing compound that I use to take marks off CDs and DVDs: Novus Scratch Remover. I used #3 (Heavy) with a soft cloth… GONE in seconds. I imagine #2 (Fine) would work also, and probably any plastic scratch remover.

  3. Pencil eraser did nothing, but Barkeeper with a scouring pad worked a treat. Had Barkeeper for years, but it found its way to the back of the cupboard. I will be using it for all sorts of cleaning again as it is not too abrasive.

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