While knowing how to clean a dishwasher is one way to ensure your cutlery is as spotless as possible, experts are using aluminum foil in the dishwasher as a way to remove any stubborn build-up and leave your cutlery and utensils looking as good as new. And while this kitchen idea may seem unconventional – and even somewhat harmful – it is entirely trusted by experts. Here’s what you need to know before following suit.  

Using aluminum foil in the dishwasher – what you need to know

‘The first thing that comes to mind when people come up with ‘cleaning hacks’ is ‘will this damage anything’ as there are plenty of cleaning hacks or appliances hacks around that can actually cause damage,’ says expert Adam Morris from Appliances Made Simple (opens in new tab). ‘However, in this instance, adding a ball of aluminum foil to your dishwasher causes no harm and, in fact, does an excellent job.   According to Adam, using aluminum foil in the dishwasher will help remove some scratches on your silverware and some stains that are hard to remove. Here’s what the process involves. 

What is the aluminum foil trick?

This trick simply involves scrunching your aluminum foil into a ball and placing it in your dishwasher. Many people put it in their utensil baskets alongside their knives, forks, and spoons. ‘The aluminum will help to remove any build-up on your flatware and leave it looking like new. Plus, it’s a great way to eliminate any water spots that may have formed,’ says  Brittany Kline from The Savvy Kitchen (opens in new tab). If only all cleaning tips were this simple and efficient.  But what makes the trick so effective? The answer is in a chemical reaction that occurs when you add aluminum foil alongside your dishwasher detergent.  ‘The foil is not scrubbing the utensils, as some might believe. The aluminum in the foil oxidizes with the detergents in the dishwasher soap. This oxidation helps to remove tarnish stains on your silverware,’ says Maegan and Stefan Bucur from Rhythm of the Home (opens in new tab). 

Is it safe to put aluminum foil in a dishwasher?

Yes, it’s entirely safe to put aluminum foil in a dishwasher. Despite seeming unorthodox, this hack is a failsafe way to bring back a shine to your old flatware, and experts love its power. And this pantry staple’s power is not limited to this appliance. ‘You can also use aluminum foil to clean stubborn stains on pots and pans,’ Brittany explains. ‘Simply ball up a piece of foil and scrub the stain until it disappears.’  Similarly, you can polish your silver with aluminum foil by crumpling a piece of foil and rubbing it over your silverware. ‘This will help remove any tarnish that has built up,’ she adds.  When wondering how to unclog a dishwasher, you will sadly have to look for a solution beyond aluminum. However, there is no denying that this product has benefits in the appliance and beyond.