This Is Why You Should Put Aluminum Foil in Your Dishwasher

Say goodbye to dull silverware with this TikTok hack!

TikTok takes what we thought we knew about cooking and cleaning and absolutely shatters our beliefs. Remember that TikTok mac and cheese recipe? It transformed the way I’ll make Kraft mac forever! For the cleaning fans out there, get ready—the viral video below is about to change the way you load your dishwasher for good.

@carolina.mccauley 🍴 This dishwasher hack will leave your silverware sparkling ✨ #kitchenhacks #homehacks #dailyhacks #cleaningmotivation #hometips ♬ 1 step forward, 3 steps back – Olivia Rodrigo

In her popular TikTok, user @carolina.mccauley demonstrates that putting a ball of aluminum foil in dishwasher baskets is all you need for sparkling silverware. Here’s how it works.

Should I Really Put Foil in the Dishwasher?

Dishwashers are supposed to make our lives easier, but that’s not always the case. Cutlery, especially, can be tricky. If your silverware comes out of the dishwasher looking dirty and dull, don’t start shopping for a new machine yet. Aluminum foil might be all you need to clear up scratches and grimy silverware stains, which is great news.

Next time you’re loading your dishwasher, take a second to rip off a piece of aluminum foil and crumple it up into a ball. Toss it into a compartment in your cutlery basket and run a cleaning cycle like usual. You’ll get shiny silverware every time!

How Does This Hack Work?

The aluminum foil stays trapped in the cutlery basket, so it’s not scrubbing your silverware clean. Instead, the explanation has to do with how the foil ball interacts with the chemicals in your dishwasher tablets.

The reaction is a sort of oxidization process, similar to the trick used to polish silver. In that case, aluminum foil is used to line a container, and tarnished silver is soaked in water and powdered detergent. The chemicals in the detergent interact with the metal in the foil, according to Reader’s Digest. This process, known as an ion exchange, oxidizes the tarnish and leaves your silverware looking as good as new.

Don’t miss this TikTok about how to clean a dishwasher filter!

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Hannah Twietmeyer
Hannah is a writer and content creator based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with a passion for all things food, health, community and lifestyle. She is a journalism graduate from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a previous dining and drink contributor for Madison Magazine.