9 Simple Ways to Get Tough Stains Off Your White Dishes‍

If you've ever had to handwash dishes, keeping them white can be challenging. 

Even if you take care to avoid red sauce, berries, and other highly colored foods when you're doing the dishes, they often still end up with stained cups, plates, and saucers. 

Even yellow or green spills from hot drinks can leave lasting marks on white dishes.

If you have a set of fine china or other heirloom pieces that must be kept pristine for future generations, this stain might not stand out as much as it does on everyday dishes. 

However, even if you don't care about keeping your dishware for long-term use, unsightly stains can make your daily life more difficult in the present moment.

Fortunately, there are many ways to get tough stains off your white dishes. 

Let's explore a few of them:

1. Rinse Immediately

Even if you cannot remove most stains as they happen, at least rinse them off your dishes as soon as possible. 

Rinsing off a stain before the dish has had a chance to dry means that the stain will have less opportunity to set or become ingrained in the dish itself. 

Even if the stain doesn't come completely off, it will be much easier to remove if it has just started to set in on the dish's surface. 

In the same way, you can rinse off food particles that would otherwise become stuck and start to harden on the dishware.

2. Use Dishwasher Detergent

You might be tempted to think that dishwasher detergent is only for dishes that you will put in the dishwasher. However, you could use it to wash your dishes by hand! 

Dishwasher detergents contain chemicals that break down and remove stains from your dishes, including those that are tough to remove.

Most dishwasher detergents are effective at removing tough stains from white china. However, if you have particularly persistent stains, you may want to try a stronger detergent or even a pre-soaking solution, such as vinegar.

3. Turn to Baking Soda

A simple and effective method of removing stubborn stains from white dishes is to mix baking soda into the water you use to wash the dishes. 

Baking soda adds extra scrubbing power to the dishwashing process while also helping remove some stains. 

Baking soda is most effective at removing tough stains like those left behind by red wine, turmeric, and blueberries. It's also a good choice if you want to keep your dishes as gentle as possible and don't want to use any harsh chemicals.

4. Try Blue Dawn

If you have a particularly stubborn stain on your white dishes, you might want to try using Blue Dawn dishwashing liquid. Blue Dawn is an incredibly effective stain fighter.

However, it is also very harsh, which is why it's normally recommended for tough stains on dark and colored dishware.

That said, Blue Dawn is gentle enough to use on white dishware if necessary, especially if the stain is stubborn. Blue Dawn is also a good option for stains on delicate fabrics or tablecloths on occasion.

5. Use Hot, Soapy Water

Hot water is one of the most effective stain fighters around. If you want to get stains off your dishes quickly and easily, use hot water to wash your dishes as often as you can. 

Using extra soap or boiling water will help to break down stains on your dishes and make them easier to remove.

6. Solid Dishware Stain Fighters

In addition to the stain fighters listed above, several other products can help you remove tough stains from your dishes. 

  • Stainless Steel Scrubbers. If you prefer to handwash your dishes, you might want to keep a couple of stainless steel scrubbers on hand. This type of scrubber is designed to be gentle on your dishes but still quite effective at removing stubborn stains. 
  • Dishwashing Gloves. While dishwashing gloves won't help you scrub your dishes, they will keep your hands from getting stained and make dishwashing easier overall. 
  • Dishwashing Soap. Dishwashing soap is a good general product for keeping your dishes clean and stain-free. However, it is not as effective at removing tough stains from white dishes as some of the products listed above.

7. Use a Dishwasher

If you have access to a dishwasher, it's always best to use it instead of washing your dishes by hand.  

Dishwashers are much more effective at removing stains and getting your dishes clean. They also save you time and effort.

If you do use a dishwasher, be sure to choose the proper cycle for your dishes. For example, if you're washing delicate china, you'll want to use a gentle cycle.

If you're washing filthy dishes, you may want to use a pre-wash cycle or even a manual wash cycle.

Of course, you'll also want to ensure you're using the right dishwasher detergent. Some dishwasher detergents are explicitly designed for tough stains, so that's something to keep in mind.

8. Prevent Stains in the First Place

One of the best ways to keep your white dishes clean is to prevent stains from happening in the first place.

There are a few different ways you can do this:

  • Use a placemat or coaster. This will help protect your dishes from spills and stains.
  • Wash your dishes immediately after use. If you wait too long, stains will have a chance to set in and become more difficult to remove.
  • Avoid using dishes that are prone to staining. If you know a dish is prone to staining, try to avoid using it.
  • Make sure your dishes are appropriately stored. If you're not using your dishes, store them safely so they won't get dinged or scratched.

9. Don't Use Harsh Chemicals

Harsh chemicals can damage your dishes and make them more susceptible to staining.

If you must use a chemical cleaner, be sure to choose one specifically designed for dishes. And always follow the manufacturer's instructions to avoid damaging your dishes.

You can alternatively opt for more natural cleaners, such as vinegar or baking soda. These are gentler on your dishes and won't damage them over time.


Dishes are bound to get stained. It's the nature of the beast and all that hard work you put into your meals. But this doesn't mean you must live with ugly, dark-colored dishes. 

With just a few simple efforts, you can get tough stains off your white dishes in no time. 

So go ahead and enjoy your clean and beautiful dishware!

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