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Hand Dishwashing Problems, Causes and Solutions


Gray / Metal Marks

Problem Cause Solution
Gray or metal marks on dinnerware Knife or fork drawn across the surface of some types of dinnerware, generally the stronger, harder ceramic materials.

A spoon used to stir in a stoneware cup.
Scour gently with mild abrasive cleanser, baking soda or plastic mesh pad.

Same as above.

Baked-on Food

Problem Cause Solution
Baked-on food in casseroles, other bakeware of glass or glass-ceramic material Cooking certain types of food such as those containing cheese, gravies, eggs or pie fillings. Scour gently with mild abrasive cleaner, baking soda or plastic mesh pad.

Soak in a solution of liquid hand dishwashing detergent and/or baking soda and water to loosen soil. Do not use any automatic dishwasher detergent product for hand washing unless recommended by the product manufacturer.

Do not use metal scouring pads as they may scratch the surface.

Spots / Film on Glassware

Problem Cause Solution
Spots and film on glassware Wash water temperature too low.

Insufficient amount of detergent.
Increase water temperature and rinse thoroughly in hot water.

Increase amount of detergent.

Coffee / Tea Stains

Problem Cause Solution
Coffee, tea stains on plastic or china cups Cups not rinsed and washed soon after using. Use a special cleaner made for coffee pots and cups, or a solution of 1 tablespoon (15 ml) liquid or powdered sodium hypochlorite bleach in 1 quart (.95 L) of water. Certain oxygen bleaches can be used. Follow label directions.

Another method is sprinkle baking soda onto a damp cloth or sponge, rub surface until clean, rinse and dry.

Avoid the use of an abrasive cleanser which may abrade the surface and make the cups more subject to stains.

Nonstick Cookware Staining

Problem Cause Solution
Staining of nonstick cookware Minerals in water, baked-on fat, food stains or the use of excessive heat. Use any one of the following solutions:
  • To 1 quart (.95 L) of water, add 1/4 cup (60 ml) coffee pot cleaner, Or
  • To 1 cup (240 ml) of water, add 3 tablespoons (45 ml) of oxygen bleach.

    Let the solution simmer in the stained pan for 15-20 minutes. Wash the pan thoroughly, rinse and dry. Then recondition the pan with cooking oil or shortening before using.

    To prevent staining, use the lowest heat that will do the job.

Burned-on Food

Problem Cause Solution
Burned-on food in pans Cooking at too high a temperature or too long a time. Bring a solution of baking soda and water (3 tablespoons to 1 quart) to a boil in the soiled pan. Remove from heat and add 1 tablespoon liquid hand dishwashing detergent and allow to cool. If soil remains, scrub with baking soda sprinkled on a plastic scouring pad or sponge; rinse and dry.

Darkened Aluminum

Problem Cause Solution
Darkened aluminun Exposure to certain minerals and alkalis in some foods and water. Boil a solution of 2 to 3 tablespoons (30 to 45 ml) of cream of tartar, lemon juice or vinegar to 1 quart (0.95 L) of water in the utensil for 5 to 10 minutes. Then lightly scour with a steel wool soap pad.

Cooking an acid food such as tomatoes will also remove the stains and will not affect the food.

Clean with a metal cleaning product recommended for use on aluminum. Follow package directions.