Does This Aluminum Foil in Your Dishwasher TikTok Hack Really Work?

Updated: Apr. 02, 2024

Some TikTok cleaning hacks are more trouble than their worth. But this simple trick might actually be a game changer, with minimal effort!

You can find a surprising number of cleaning tips on TikTok, but it can be hard to tell what actually works and which so-called miraculous cleaning secrets are merely click bait (sadly, it happens). For example, can a ball of aluminum foil (AKA tinfoil) really make your flatware shine like new? We decided to test this intriguing hack ourselves.

@carolina.mccauley 💓 Quick and easy dishwasher hack #easyhacks #quickhacks #cleaninghacks #homehackswithcarolina #cleaningtip ♬ Nutcracker: Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairly(845241) – ogsogs

How It Works

The best thing about this hack? It couldn’t be easier. With practically zero effort and time required, this is the type of cleaning trick we can get behind! Here’s how to do it. Tear off a piece of aluminum foil, wad it up into a ball, then throw it in the flatware basket of your dishwasher (along with the dirty flatware and dishes). Run your normal dishwasher cycle. That’s it!

According to the video, when the cycle is done, your flatware should come out looking like new, with a shiny gleam you don’t normally see.


My flatware was in pretty good shape, but I did notice some cloudiness on some of the pieces. So I figured it couldn’t hurt to give the aluminum foil ball a chance to work its magic. I followed the video instructions and hoped for the best. The results? After the aluminum foil trick, my spoons and forks were indeed extra shiny!

In the TikTok video, I noticed the spoons had a few scratch marks that were completely gone afterward. I didn’t have as much luck with that. Some of my spoons were a little scratched, and the scratches were still present after the dishwasher cycle with the aluminum foil ball. I would say in that way, the video might be a little misleading. But it definitely removed cloudiness and made my flatware extra shiny.

Even though putting a ball of aluminum foil in your dishwasher flatware basket seems like it would do absolutely nothing, and feels a little weird, there is real science behind how this helps shine up your forks, spoons and knives. According to an experiment performed at The University California, Davis, the process involves an electrochemical reaction between the aluminum foil and the ingredients in dishwasher detergent. Through something called ion exchange, aluminum oxidizes the tarnish and leaves your flatware looking shiny and new. For the experiment, flatware was placed in an aluminum foil-lined container, and the flatware touched the foil in several places. Which makes us wonder, maybe lining your entire flatware basket with aluminum foil might make this trick work even better. (Keep in mind, we haven’t tested this idea. You’d need to poke holes in the bottom for drainage.)

In conclusion, if you’re looking for an easy trick with no complicated set-up, using something you already have in the kitchen, give this a try! If you’re wondering how to dry wet dishes in your dishwasher, these simple tricks will get the job done.