Trying to clean graphite-like marks off sturdy porcelain plates
October 7, 2017 9:24 AM   Subscribe

My Mom's (5 y/o, very sturdy) white porcelain plates has strange little marks on it that look like someone wrote on them with a graphite pencil. Not a big deal, they just end up looking worn like old restaurant plates. I've tried soaking in hot water and vinegar and scrubbing and got off about 1/3 of the marks. What can I do to get them off?

(Note, clearly no one wrote on them with a pencil - I'm assuming the marks came from going through the dishwasher with a hodgepodge of other items, including potentially aluminum?)
posted by arnicae to Grab Bag (10 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Have you tried Bar Keepers Friend?* Best to start with a test spot, but that's what I'd use.

(*Only in writing this have I realized that they don't use an apostrophe. WTH?)
posted by veggieboy at 9:29 AM on October 7 [1 favorite]

What you're describing sounds like "tool marks" caused by eating utensils. Annoying and unsightly, but easily remedied with the right product and a little elbow grease. In doing a little googling, I came across this site that not only shows a before and after picture, but also explains why Bar Keepers Friend (which is awesome stuff, BTW) works.
posted by DrGail at 9:57 AM on October 7 [1 favorite]

I use Bon Ami for utensil marks on plates. I use Barkeepers Friend for other things, but Bon Ami doesn't irritate my hands. Both are great products when you need a mild abrasive.
posted by wryly at 10:40 AM on October 7 [1 favorite]

Seconding Bon Ami. I had this exact problem and Bon Ami fixed it.
posted by kerf at 10:42 AM on October 7

+1 for the powder form of Barkeeper's Friend. We have this problem with our white dishes and bowls from Ikea, which are evidently infamous for this issue. Little bit of powder, little bit of water, little bit of elbow grease, easy peasy.
posted by Major Matt Mason Dixon at 10:54 AM on October 7

it's definitely not the glaze wearing through?
posted by youchirren at 11:09 AM on October 7

Toothpaste may also work and be a bit less abrasive.
posted by littlewater at 11:19 AM on October 7

I've used baking soda to remove this kind of mark. Just make a paste with a little water & then rub it on the marks with a sponge or cloth.
posted by belladonna at 11:54 AM on October 7

The original Bon Ami is just feldspar powder. Bar Keepers Friend is feldspar and oxalic acid. I use the latter on my stainless steel pots and pans because it helps break down cooked on food and polymerized oils. For your utensil marks, plain Bon Ami should work fine AND it won't be harsh on your hands because it doesn't have the oxalic acid. It's also super cheap and it won't scratch your plates. Toothpaste would be a waste of money and it wouldn't work as well, IMHO, because only half of toothpaste is made of the abrasives that you need to get the marks off.
posted by elsietheeel at 3:54 PM on October 7 [1 favorite]

I'd try Magic Eraser if you have one handy.
posted by fiercecupcake at 6:09 AM on October 10 [1 favorite]

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