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I Put a Ball of Aluminum Foil in My Dishwasher — What Happened Next Was Amazing

published Apr 12, 2024
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Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn

Say what you will about social media (and, trust me, I have just as much to say as anyone), but it’s surprising how many cleaning and organizing tips and tricks I’ve learned from TikTok and Instagram. Whether it’s organizing hacks from teachers or better ways to store a bunch of sports gear and equipment, these platforms are full of inspiration. Just when you think you’ve learned it all, something new comes up in your feed.

Let’s take this recent TikTok video from @carolina.mccauley, for example! It features a super-quick tip for getting your flatware nice and shiny. I had never heard of it before, and as soon as I saw it, I knew I had to give it try. The trick: Wad up a piece of aluminum foil into a ball, and toss it straight into the flatware compartment of your dishwasher. 

I didn’t think I had any issue with my flatware before I saw the video, but that TikTok hack had me itching to see what kind of a difference a ball of aluminum foil would make. Surprisingly, upon closer inspection, I realized my utensils were actually looking a little dull. (It’s amazing how much you notice when you actually look.) So I did it. I put a wad of aluminum foil in the flatware compartment, loaded up the dishwasher as I usually do, added dishwasher detergent, and waited to see what my flatware would look like the next morning after the dishwasher ran. 

Credit: Shifrah Combiths
Simple — toss a ball of aluminum foil in your flatware caddy.

When I unloaded the dishwasher, I took out a handful of utensils to take a look. And I’m happy to report that my forks, knives, and spoons, did in fact look shinier! You can see the spiffy results for yourself.

Credit: Shifrah Combiths
See? Cloudy to shiny!

Tossing a ball of aluminum foil into the flatware caddy is such a no-fuss way to get your forks and knives gleaming. Why does it work? It’s all due to the science-y, oxidization interaction between the baking soda-like properties in dishwashing detergent and the aluminum foil. Together, the process lifts tarnish.

The technique is also a super-smart way to get more mileage out of a not-too-dirty piece of foil before you toss it out. This trick worked so well that I’m definitely going to keep doing this hack from now on!

This post was originally published on The Kitchn. Read it there: I Put a Ball of Aluminum Foil in My Dishwasher — What Happened Next Was Amazing