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What is 18/8 Stainless Steel?

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Q. 1. Explain what 18/8 grade Stainless is? What do the numbers represent.
2. What is the best way to clean an 18/8 bowl or platter that is being used for food service?
Is it safe to use a commercial strength dishwasher?

Cathy McCosham
- Harrison, Ohio


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A. Cathy,

18/8 stainless steel has nominally 18% chromium, 8% nickel, the remainder iron as it's composition. Other common designations include 301, 302, and 304 stainless steel. Generally, cleaning in a dishwasher should be acceptable. Any dishwasher powerful enough to damage 18/8 stainless will destroy plastic or china tableware.

Was that your question?

Lee Gearhart
metallurgist
East Aurora, New York



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A. A steel (that is, an iron-based alloy) which contains a nominal 18 percent chromium and 8 percent nickel (hence the 18/8 abbreviation). Those two elements, primarily the chromium and secondarily the nickel, confer the corrosion resistance. It also contains a dozen or two of other elements in much smaller proportions, some deliberately added and some unavoidably present, which have a role to play but which do not directly affect the "stainlessness" of the material.

Wash it in a dishwasher with the alkaline non-foaming detergent that is usually used in dishwashers. Or wash it in the sink with normal (foaming) dishwashing detergent. Or soap. Or whatever. Very hot water always does a better sterilizing job that warm or cold water, no matter what you're washing. None of them will damage the material. But don't use an abrasive scourer - you'll scratch the surface and spoil the appearance.

Bill Reynolds
   consultant metallurgist
Ballarat, Victoria, Australia

It is this website's profoundly sad
duty to relate the news that Bill
passed away on Jan. 29, 2010.


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A. 18/8 stainless steel is nominally 18% chromium and 8% nickel, with the remainder being mainly iron; it does however also contain other elements, but at very low levels. It is also known as 302 or 304 grade stainless steel. This grade of stainless is generally regarded as one of the "workhorses" in stainless steel as it is widely available and cheap (relatively!). It also gives a great finish when electropolished. This type of stainless steel is usually quite soft and prone to surface damage. As far as cleaning it is concerned, it should be OK in a dishwasher as it is widely used in kitchen utensils. However, you do not say what sort of dirt you are trying to remove; if it is normal domestic contamination, there should be no problem. If it is heavier contamination, you may need to use a mild abrasive, but be warned, if it stainless has been electropolished, you may damage its reflectivity and scratch the surface. If you do scratch the surface and if it has not been electropolished, any scratches can be polished out, if you have the patience. If it has been electropolished, you would need to polish out the scratches and then re-electropolish, but electropolishing should only be done by a competent person as it uses high electric currents and very nasty chemicals. As with many stainless steels, avoid putting it in contact with high levels of chloride ions as this can etch the surface, making it rough and even promote rusting in some stainlesses.

Trevor Crichton
R&D practical scientist
Chesham, Bucks, UK


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A. Note: 18 and 8 are "minimum" values, not nominal.

Allen Johnson
- North Carolina


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Q. I bought s/s (18/0) flatware and cookware and wish to know the meaning of 18/0 (in terms of metal composition and use in cooking/cleaning/durability/health/...) thank you for your help.

Giamirenedeleted
student - Singapore


A. Giamirene, 18/0 means 18 percent chromium and 0 percent nickel. Stainless steel that has no nickel in it like 18/0 is magnetic whereas stainless that has nickel in it like 18/8 or 18/10 is non magnetic. The magnetic type should be a little less expensive and is probably a little less corrosion resistant.
pic of Ted Mooney Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey


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Q. Does anyone know why my 18/10 stainless steel (a month old) is pitting and rusting? I put it in the dishwasher according to the use directions. Could there be something wrong with the flatware coating or with my water? Help.

Kate Stan
wondering homeowner - South Elgin, Illinois


A. Kate, I don't think there is any coating on stainless flatware. If there was it wouldn't last long!

pic of Ted Mooney Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey

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Q. I have flatware with the same rusting problem you describe, but only on my knife blades. The manufacturer is Gorham and they say it is due to a different alloy used on the knife blades which oxidizes when moisture sits on it. They recommend hand washing and drying or drying it as soon as the dishwasher is done running. I have heard other manufacturers also have this problem.

Greta Hittner
- Mankato, Minnesota


A. Greta, if you test your silverware with a magnet I think you will find that the blades of the knives are magnetic even when the rest of the flatware isn't; I believe that's because the magnetic 18/0 holds an edge better. But some people sometimes note that the blades rust whereas the rest of the flatware doesn't.

pic of Ted Mooney Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey

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Q. I'm getting very mixed messages about the quality of flatware available today. I own a whole kitchen's worth of "stainless steel" utensils that never rust, corrode or pit. Recently, I purchased a beautiful set of 18/10 flatware from Wallace. Well, I'll be darned if this great "quality" stuff doesn't rust, pit, and stain. The claims are that the "8" or "10" add to the anti-corrosion quality. Not so. It was only after much surfing the net that I discovered that this is supposedly normal. The advertising never makes this point clear of course. It happens mostly on the butter knives but has also occurred on other pieces. I'm ready to send the whole set back even though I love the pattern. Should I go back to the "cheap" stuff that I really can put in the dishwasher, say an 18/0 quality? What was my old stuff made of I wonder? If I wanted to hand wash and polish my flatware, why wouldn't I just use my silverware? Please help.

Tedi Bell
consumer - Monroe, New York


A. Tedi, as a general rule, flatware today is of significantly lower quality -- keep your old flatware if possible. First, anything manufactured in China is suspect. This is not jingoism, just simple recognition that different cultures have different attitudes, and a manufacturing culture which finds it okay to make children's jewelry out of cadmium, to paint children's toys with lead paint, to sell wallboard that destroys a house's wiring, and to put poisons in pet food is not be trusted. Second, our American companies are busy talking themselves into it being okay to take patterns which used to be 18/8 or 18/10 and start making them in 18/0 instead. We are back to the days of "Caveat emptor!".

But 18/10 should be higher quality and more expensive than 18/0 since it contains 10 percent nickel. You can use a magnet to determine what's what: 18/8 and 18/10 are non-magnetic (or at least very weakly magnetic from cold working). The cheaper 18/0 is strongly magnetic. Blades are often made of 18/0 even in an 18/8 or 18/10 set because only 18/0 can hold an edge. Maybe your old set was 18/8 or 18/10 including the blades of the butter knives but these butter knives are 18/0?

pic of Ted Mooney Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey

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thumbsup2Ted, Thanks for your quick response. I tested my old flatware and sure enough it is magnetic. However, it does not rust. I tested the new 18/10 knife blades and they are also magnetic, but they do get rust spots on them. The handles of the 18/10 stuff are not magnetic and do not rust. So, for some reason the metal alloy in the knife blades must be different than the handles and other pieces of the set. I may go back to 18/0 since it seems consistent in its behavior and still looks great. When I say it's "cheap" I just mean it costs less; but again, one must be careful to read the advertisements closely. Much of the 18/0 is being advertised as 18/10. Caveat emptor!

Tedi Bell (returning)
consumer - Monroe, New York


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Q. 18/10 is the higher quality and 18/8 is almost the same and 18/0 is the least and used for cook ware rather than flatware. Is there a better grade than 18/10 ? what is the most accepted grade for cook ware? I am thinking about buying a whole set but can't decide which one I want. Also the thickness of the cookware has anything to do with the grade ? Is it better if it is thick or the alloys do the trick and not the thickness. If it is better to be thicker, then how so and why ? Thank you.

Bo Tuncer
consumer - Las Vegas, Nevada


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Q. Flatware standards? How to you know if it is 18/0 or 18/10?

The website says the style is 18/0
The instructions say the style is 18/10

Nelsondeleted
sales - Phoenix, Arizona


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A. Hi Nelson. You can easily tell with a magnet since 18/0 is magnetic and 18/10 is not. But more importantly, how was the producing shop supposed to even know what they were supposed to make? It is terribly important in these days of offshore manufacturing that the vendor exercise extremely close control ... and for you to hold them responsible for it. For a vendor to discount the importance of it to such an egregious degree as to make this mistake is unacceptable. The short answer is don't buy from a vendor who doesn't seem to even know what he is trying to sell :-)

pic of Ted Mooney Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey

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Q. I am wondering about the best way to clean rust spots (without scratching) the blade on my 18/10 stainless steel butter knives. They have a mirror finish, so it is important for me not to scratch them.

On a side note, I followed the manufacturer guidelines exactly for care and use of these knives, and have some that I have not even used. But, ALL of them have rust spots. Any idea as to what could be the cause?

Michelle Behrooznia
consumer - San Diego, California


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Q. I inquired about the same thing in regards to rust like spots on my 18/10 stainless flatware. One set we purchased was manufactured by Wallace. One month didn't go by and our knives in particular were somewhat pitted and had rust like spots on them...more so on the handles in this instance. It was unusual to me that all of the silverware was not reacting the same way. I contacted the company and they said take it back to the place of purchase. I did with no problems. I then purchased another 18/10 set of flatware from Oneida. I never had a problem in the past with this brand. Two weeks have gone by and low and behold the problem is occurring again....on the knives! What's up with this?

Is it the soap products we are using? The chemicals in our water? I cannot figure this out. It is really upsetting to me. Who wants to set a table with flatware full of marks and pits?

Please, can someone advise...short of hand washing everything? A softener perhaps?

Kim Zeiss
- Duncansville, Pennsylvania


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A. 18-8 is typically 304 grade stainless steel. 304 grade SS can be slightly magnetic. This is the iron. Iron rusts.
What I have found is the older the material, the better the quality. This has been due to newer technologies enabling manufacturers to get their minimum tolerances of material closer. The less of the expensive components they have to put in, the cheaper their production costs. In the old days, they would add more to make sure they had enough because they couldn't measure that precisely and cost wasn't as much of a factor. If have something made of stainless steel prior to 1960, it is probably high quality.

Rick Holmes, industrial maintenance & purchasing
- Bellingham, Washington


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Q. Best producers of stainless on planet earth? I have been using various stainless bowls, and trays for 40 years and it appears that the best stainless comes from the USA and northern Europe while the worst comes from Asia. The worst rusts and pits quickly while the best does not. Does anyone know why? Are there other countries that make high grade stainless?

Richard Waters
artist - Gulfport, Mississippi


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A. Hi, Richard. Just as it's easy to bake a lousy cake even if you added a cup of milk and two eggs, there is a lot more to the manufacture of quality stainless steel than simply putting in a percentage of nickel and chrome. It's how carefully it's made -- because rigorous control of processing parameters is necessary to keep the carbon properly distributed, build the correct crystal structures, avoid contact with plain steel, properly passivate the finished product, etc. Your best protection, slim protection as it may be, is reliance upon a brand name.

Your assessment is probably correct: If a country has an established culture of counterfeiting, and doing what you can get away with, it is foolhardy to assume that you will get quality material from that area unless you have some control. As the end user you have no control.

If the brand name has decided that they will rigorously exercise that control, you can count on them to worry about the QA and the sourcing issues, and to deliver quality product. If the manufacturer blows off that responsibility, or has become a "meatball whore" (licensing its icon/meatball to a 3rd party), they will deliver garbage and there is nothing you can do but buy from someone else, and hope that at the end of the day there will still be at least one manufacturer with integrity. There may not be, because as soon as there is, you have a selling feature -- so a big company with no integrity will buy the brand name :-)

pic of Ted Mooney Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey

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A. I am not the ideal person to address these problems, as my specialty is premium knives. A lot of "rust" issues appear here and perhaps I can help,

ALL knives comprised of iron in any amount are subject to rust issue, especially if used infrequently. The only way to avoid rust, black spots, and/or pits is to THOROUGHLY dry the blade (and for good measure all of the tableware) is to dry the utensils thoroughly.

It they are used infrequently it is best to protect them from humidity with a proper storage system, or oil lightly.
For removing tarnish or spots, a product called Nevr-Dullamazoninfo can be used. It claims to clean all types of metal and has worked wonders for me.

I hope this helps.

George Kent Smith
cutlery - Carson City, Nevada


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A. I've recently been shopping for new flatware since my old flatware that I used in college has the same problems with rust spots you've been mentioning (especially on the knife blades).

While shopping I see that many manufactures say that the flatware is dishwasher safe if you DON'T USE LEMON DETERGENT. Perhaps it is the citrus additives in these popular detergents that are contributing to their deterioration.

This confirms it. This link www.cutleryandmore.com/images/henckelsinternational/flatware_care.pdf states the proper care for stainless steel including not allowing prolonged contact with acidic foods (lemon, ketchup, mustard), not using detergents with chlorides or lemon content, do not soak flatware with aluminum or for extended periods, dry thoroughly and use drying cycle in dishwasher, clean any spots/rusting with stainless steel metal polish.

Jessica Bridges
- Chicago, Illinois


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Q. Is there a difference in the durability of the finish of matte vs. shiny stainless steel flatware? Is one or the other more prone to scratches over time?

Douglas Kallman
- Atlanta, Georgia


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A. After reading the above entries, I felt testing with a magnet would be the simplest way to identify the different alloys. I found ALL knife blades have strong magnetic attraction.

Dinnerware we already own - we have a mix of brands: Oneida, Sonoma (Kohl's house brand), and unidentified spoons from a big-box dept store. We have all these for more than 5 years. There are virtually no rust, pits, corrosion on any pieces. Of the Oneida set, the forks & big spoons were very weakly attracted (18/10?) while the small spoons were a little more so (18/8?). The Sonoma and no-name spoons were all strongly attracted (18/0?).

Buying new - I shopped at two chain dept stores and tested a couple dozen sets citing various alloys. I was a little surprised what the magnet test revealed: All brands citing 18/10 always big had forks that had either no or weak attraction. All knife blades were highly attracted. Big spoons and small forks were either none/weakly attracted or slight more attracted. Small spoons (teaspoons) were all over the map even strongly attracted - even though the label said 18/10. I tested one brand of 18/10 that the big fork was the only piece that wasn't attracted. The only brand (which is the one I finally decided to buy) where all pieces except the knife blade had no attraction was J.A.Henckels.

I already mentioned that none of our 5 year old+ pieces had any problems. I feel this is because of 2 major practices: always using automatic dishwasher detergent without citrus and always using the heated dry cycle.

Jim Mason
- York, Pennsylvania


January 31, 2008

A. On the question of flatware becoming lower-quality over time, here's a reply from Oneida (I emailed them when I discovered their Colonial Boston pattern is now only available in 18/0, after decades in 18/8):

"Oneida has changed the majority of the housewares patterns to 18/0 to satisfy the customers demand for a less costly flatware sets. The cost of stainless has risen considerably. You should see no difference in the quality of the Colonial Boston pattern. We have changed the style of the knives to a one piece solid handle construction compared to the older two piece hollow handle knife of years back. This change was done in the Spring of 2005. It has nothing to do with the 18/0 change. I will forward your email to our marketing team."

So, they're making all their silverware cheap after all these decades. Very disappointing. Not sure how many other brands will be doing the same.

Sarah Starks
- Santa Monica, California


September 3, 2008

A. I feel that the best flatware and knives of any sort is CUTCO. . . just because they guarantee against any rust or anything FOREVER . . .plus the flatware is the most beautiful flatware that I have seen and I have never liked to hand wash anything so I just put them in the dishwasher and it has worked out for me so far (3 1/2 years) and they still look the same!

Jesse Jarmon
- trinity, North Carolina

Cutco Essentials


January 6, 2009

A. I used to work in the stainless steel fabricating industry designing pharmaceutical pressure vessels. I remember telling my brother about SS rusting, and like many, he couldn't believe it.

The main reason we had for rusting with a tank was improper handling of the stainless. All the tools (cutters, grinders, polishers, etc.) used on stainless steel can only be used on the stainless. If they are used on regular (carbon) steel then stainless it will embed tiny particles of of the carbon steel in the stainless and it will rust. Also stainless steel needs to be properly stored. If it was store on a carbon steel rack you will have the same issues as with the tools. Once it rusts there is no cure. I should say it can't be polished out. The only way to get rust out of a tank was to cut the rust out and patch with a new piece of stainless.

My guess then is poor manufacturing processes, and not the stainless steel itself, is the reason for the rusting. I highly doubt citric acid containing soaps will corrode it since citric acid is used in a process call passivation to improve corrosion resistance of stainless. Maybe a chemical engineer could enlighten us on that? Salt is very bad for stainless - especially in prolonged contact. And believe it or not, but distilled (triple) water is also very bad for stainless steel.

Jeff Jacobs
- Madison, Wisconsin



January 15, 2009

Q. I've been shopping for new flatware, and find that every set I look at is either made in China (big surprise) or Vietnam. Does anybody know of any brand that is made here in the USA or at least not in Asia?

Florin Tanner
- Arlington Hts, Illinois


February 19, 2011

[This entry has been "historically enhanced" because when the thread started, there was no American manufactured flatware; then for a while Sherill Manufacturing offered American-made flatware (and you'll see references to that in this thread); but then the plant closed (and you'll see references to that here); but once again, the plant has been re-opened. So, as of today, American-made flatware is available and we did not want to leave anyone with the erroneous impression that it isn't.

Hi, Florin. I recently bought French-made stainless from Williams Sonoma, and we're quite happy with it. But see the note above because it appears that American-made flatware is available once again, at least for now.

You can purchase this American-made flatware direct at www.libertytabletop.com

Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey

July 22, 2013

Q. Ted,
What French-made stainless did you purchase from Williams Sonoma? As many people seem to be, I've been driving myself crazy trying to find a reasonably-priced stainless pattern that isn't made in Asia. Sadly, we don't like any of Liberty Tabletop's patterns - we just want a really plain rounded handle. We did find William's Sonoma's Morgan, which WS says is made in France. It was an exciting discovery, but reviews have said it's now 18/8 rather than 18/10 as before (the website doesn't say either way, but I've seen 18/10 stamped on eBay items). But I'm thinking it may be better to get an 18/8 from France than 18/10 from Asia? What WS pattern did you get, and how is it holding up? Anyone else have experience with Williams Sonoma Morgan? Thanks!

Chris Smith
- Boston, Massachusetts, USA


July 22, 2013

A. Hi Chris. I bought the "Beau Manoir" pattern of Guy Degrenne flatware from Williams Sonoma. I don't currently see it on the Williams-Sonoma website (although I may not be looking hard enough), but Amazon has it =>

My wife says the knife blades may once in a while get a blush spot of rusty look if they go into the dishwasher really dirty (perhaps caused by an acidic marinade drying on it), but we've had no other problems at all. Living with them for 2-1/2 years now, though, I don't really like that the teaspoons are so small. I'm a breakfast cereal eater and neither the substantial tablespoon nor the dainty teaspoon seems quite appropriate :-)

I would definitely agree that 18/8 from France is better than 18/10 from Asia.

Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey

Guy Degrenne
"Beau Manoir" flatware



January 16, 2009

Q. I have been reading the questions and answers and I have also problems with spots on my cutlery. The brand (same as shop) that sells them don't want to take any responsibility. Should they? The cutlery where very expensive so I feel really bad about this!

Thanks! Annsofi

Annsofi Cederlund
- Stockholm, Sweden


March 18, 2009

Q. I understand that 18/8 Stainless is supposed to be 18% chromium and 8% Nickel (among other things). Apparently there are ranges that are considered to still be suitable for considering to be 18/8 still (I believe the range can go up). What happens if the Nickel or the chromium content of the steel is lower? ie. 7.8% or 17.8%? is this going to be detrimental to the safety of the products application the steel in food stuffs?

If the nickel is low, what does this affect? and if the chromium is low, what does this affect?

Lastly can you please explain to me what the electrolysis process is that stainless steel goes through? And also explain to me if messing up on this process could allow for a bottle to rust? If not, what would cause stainless steel that is supposedly 18/8 to rust?

Thanks.

Nelson King
Student - Portland, Oregon


April 21, 2009

Q. My Oneida flatware has held up really well over the years, but leaves faint gray marks on my stoneware which are very difficult to get off. Is there a flatware composition that doesn't do this? I thought about changing the dishes, but if the softness in the stainless is the problem, I need to replace it, also. Any information is very appreciated.

Linda Wildman
consumer - Germantown, Tennessee


June 1, 2009

Q. I'm looking for stainless steel flatware with gold trim as a gift for my daughter and am considering buying Vera Wang's "Lace Gold," which is produced by Wedgewood. I believe it is made in China because it does not appear on the Internet list of stainless flatware produced elsewhere.

I'm concerned about the pitting, staining, and rusting issues often discussed on your site, as well as the possibility of lead additives, since China has a questionable record in other areas of consumer safety. If you have any knowledge concerning these issues and this particular pattern, I'd appreciate your advice in whether or not I should purchase this pattern. By the way, there is now an American manufacturer of stainless steel flatware, but as far as I know, the company only makes one pattern, which is called "Pearls," produced by the company "Revolution." This pattern can be acquired on the Internet at www.silversuperstone.com. If I weren't looking for gold trim, I'd buy this pattern in a heartbeat. Thanks for your time!

Anna Mullin
buyer - Gadsden, Alabama

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Ed. note: Sorry, but see www.nytimes.com/2011/02/13/business/13every.html. The Pearls / Revolution / Sherrill plant closed in Apr. 2010.


July 4, 2009

A. It's pretty common for stainless flatware to make a mark on light-colored stoneware. I wouldn't get new flatware as the quality will definitely be lower (at a higher price!) than your old set and it won't cure the problem anyway. Use Bon Ami cleanser or other low abrasive cleaner to lightly rub (don't scrub!) those scratches clean on the dishes. I have an older set of Oneida flatware that has never corroded or spotted after years of use and always being washed in a dishwasher. It's non-magnetic except the knife blades which aren't 18/8 stainless (but have never corroded)and still looks like new.

Randall James
- Culver City, California


August 24, 2009

A. I would love to be a kind person and say everyone knows what they are talking about, but sadly, it appears I am the only person around who knows the true facts here. The main reason the new steels are of such poor quality (aside from the poor efforts by the manufacturers) is that almost all steel nowadays (but especially that from china and asia in general) is made using recycled steel. Now, just imagine that you crushed a car, and melted it down. Try to imagine what types of metals might be in the resulting ingot. The catalytic converter has platinum, possibly iridium, palladium or such type metals. There might be a bit of cobalt from the glasses (light bulbs, etc.) There's a bit of mercury from tilt switches in various places, there's gold from contacts in circuit boards. There's some germanium and arsenic in some of the circuit boards, part of the silicon chips. There's tin conductor on the circuit board lines. There's lead in the battery. There's a couple of small lithium-ion batteries on the circuit boards that keep the memory when the main 12 volt battery is temporarily disconnected. I guess you're getting my drift here.

So sure, you can make some stainless steel and add the right amount of chromium and nickel, but how do you take out those trace amounts? The answer is, well, you don't. Now you have a lovely, shiny piece of stainless steel, but the minute you put it in contact with any ionic compound,(any kind of salt or acid) like lemon or orange juice, or table salt, and right away that platinum and the other catalytic metals in it will begin to do the job that they had before. They break chemical bonds. Like the iron-carbon-chromium-nickel bonds that hold the steel together. I have an old car I plan to fix up some day from the 1950's that's been sitting out in the rain and sun for 50+ years, and it's still not rusted. And it's not made from stainless. Just virgin steel from before the stuff was recycled. So treasure your old utensils, and hope the market demand will encourage some company to order their stainless made from virgin iron. I will gladly pay 3 times the price if I can get it. Leslie

Leslie Miller
- Lac du Bonnet, Manitoba, Canada


November 22, 2009

thumbsdownI also had the same problem with rust spots, for the first time in my life, after I purchased some high dollar stainless from a company I THOUGHT was American! Turns out, what I bought was over-priced and made, you guessed it...in CHINA...with a fancy US name! I was VERY disappointed but too embarrassed to return the set. I have ANCIENT stainless "stray" pieces that probably didn't cost my mom much YEARS AGO. Those pieces do NOT have the staining problem and will probably outlive us all.

A. I purchased Pearls by Revolution...the only American made stainless set. I have only had a couple of VERY MINOR problems....likely due to the dishwasher being overloaded with heavily soiled items. I have found that the knives do better to be hand washed OR put them in the dishwasher and use the dry cycle. Certainly, if any pieces are heavily soiled then they should be rinsed or lightly wiped down prior to being placed in the dishwasher. I try to isolate the knives. Again, I have only had a couple of MINOR problems after many months of use and the problems were likely "user error". I am VERY pleased with this set. A friend of mine is getting ready to purchase the same set because it is pretty and MADE IN THE USA!

Another alternative to the POORLY made imported junk is to buy an older set off of ebay, beg, borrow or steal your granny's set, or consider purchasing an older set from a vintage shop or flea market. Barkeepers Friendamazoninfo is a great stainless restorer but use caution to make sure your set won't scratch by testing a small area first. Hope this helps!

K

KC Miller
- Greenville, Tennessee

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Ed. note: Sorry, but see www.nytimes.com/2011/02/13/business/13every.html. The Pearls / Revolution / Sherrill plant closed in April 2010.


January 30, 2010

Q. I have read all the comments about new flatware rusting and pitting, and, alas, my new set has, also. However, one other aspect has not been mentioned. Out of the pitting oozes a brown, oily substance that looks like chocolate. My concern is that this might be unhealthy to now eat off. It is quite hard to get off and leaves an oily film on the knife blade. My question: what is this substance and if I can get the film off, is more possibly oozing out during a meal, going to be unhealthy? Should I return it? This is my second set; the first was a gift, but it was so bad, I threw each piece that pitted away, mostly knives. Now, another new set is doing the same thing. Any opinions on what this substance is? It does not have the texture of rust and always comes out of a tiny pit when I bring it out of the dishwasher.

Donna Smith
- Seattle, Washington


February 11, 2010

A. I have experienced the same issue with new flatware, both flatware purchased at Kitchen Etc for what seemed like a lot of money and flatware purchased at Williams Sonoma on my wedding registry. I have found that all of the new flatware we purchased after we were married rusted badly. Not just the blades, the handles too. And they were all stamped 18/10. So I went back to what my mother and grandmother did. I have purchased similarly styled but still mismatched pieces at yard sales and thrift stores. I love the cut flowery and even the pediment motifs I have found and have never had an issue with rusting since that time. My husband will leave silverware in soapy dish water for three days when I go out of town on business without washing it and when I return nothing is rusted. I am grateful for this other method of recycling because I have silverware that does not rust now.

Martha Vance
- Chesterfield, Missouri


March 29, 2010

A. There is ONE stainless flatware line still made in the USA!

Revolution Flatware from NY state.

Mitch Stephens
specialty chemicals - New Brunswick New Jersey

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Ed. note: Sorry, but see www.nytimes.com/2011/02/13/business/13every.html. The Pearls / Revolution / Sherrill plant closed in Apr. 2010.


September 16, 2010

A. Electro-polishing or passivating will help to eliminate the rusting problem. Any free iron left on the surface from processing will rust and has to be removed. Also I think if you analyzed the SS you would find that there is a lot of other "stuff" in it from careless recycling.

Bill Bergquist
- Minnetonka, Minnesota USA

November 9, 2010

A. I am currently in a materials science class and I stumbled on this page while doing some research. I have some knowledge on this subject so here are my two cents.

Your knife blades are usually going to be made of martensitic steel which is usually 12-18% chromium, <1% carbon, and the rest iron. This is a magnetic steel and is very hard, and susceptible to corrosion. But it is still stainless steel so it shouldn't corrode very quickly.

Other parts of your cookware should be austenitic steel which is 12-18% chromium, 9-12% nickel, <1% carbon, and the rest iron. This is the most corrosion resistant stainless steel and is nonmagnetic.

So in an answer to one of your questions, the added nickel is what significantly increases corrosion resistance. Knifes usually do not contain nickel to maintain their hardness, but stainless steel has the ability to shield itself from corrosion with a constantly replenishing chromium oxide film on its surface. Unless you have penetrated the steel with a another carbon based metal, your cookware should not be rusting for quite some time. The only conclusion is that what they say is 18/0 or 18/8 steel is not what it says it is, and contains other impurities.

John McPherson
- Lubbock, Texas

April 3, 2011

A. I just searched for "flatware Sherrill" and found my way to Target.com and Made in the USA flatware is listed on their website! Hurray, maybe retailers are starting to listen! I'm going to see if any of the products are in the stores so that I can take a look at the flatware.

Dell Green
- Providence, Rhode Island

April 3, 2011

Hi, Dell.

I wish you were right. Unfortunately, "The last factory in an industry stretching back to colonial times closed eight months ago in Sherrill, N.Y., a small community in the foothills of the Adirondacks, and 80 employees lost their jobs." See www.nytimes.com/2011/02/13/business/13every.html. Sorry, I have to go; I need to rearrange some deck chairs :-)

Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey

August 23, 2011

Q. I have spent years looking for a good set of flatware.
I would rather buy "ugly" then "Made in China"! Fortunately enough, I finally found a set made in Japan by Yamazaki.
I am very suspicious of anything made in Asia in general but still have some faith in the Japanese!

Have been reading some good reviews on them too. Let's hope...

Carolyn
- Toronto, Ontario, Canada

September 28, 2011

A. Was the flatware you bought made in China or India?

I purchase metal regularly and there has been some rusting issues with Stainless Steel purchased from these countries.

Mark Bdeleted
- Santa Clara, California USA

November 23, 2011

According to their website Sherrill Manufacturing resumed production in August, 2011. Those of us looking for flatware made in the USA are back in business! According to libertytabletop.com they now offer 9 pattern choices instead of just the Pearls option.

Source: www.sherrillmfg.com/details.asp?key=63714

Valerie Evangelista
- Orlando, Florida, USA

February 19, 2012

A. 18/8 and 18/10 stainless cannot be hardened and therefore make poor knife blades. Therefore some knives are made in two pieces. The handle will be 18/8 or 18/10. The blade will be 18/0 or another alloy which can be hardened and will keep a sharp edge longer. So some knife blades will rust or be magnetic but nothing else will.

Mark Perry
- Somerset, UK


February 28, 2012

Q. I wonder to what extent the removal of phosphates from dishwashing detergents and making dishwashers use less electricity by eliminating the heat and forced air drying cycle contribute to these rusting and spotting problems? My experience is that, while we have had our stainless tableware for 20 years, the problems with rusting and spotting have been really only been in the last three years or so. In that time we bought a new Bosch 'eco' dishwasher and Phosphates have been banned in Ontario.

Harold Leece
- Welland, Ontario, Canada


January 5, 2013

Q. I have stainless flatware that is 34 years old and it is just now beginning to show very small discolored (rust?) spots on the tines of the forks and in a few other spots on teaspoons. This flatware has been used every day and washed in a dishwasher all of the time.
I have looked at new flatware, and so far everything I have seen looks flimsy next to my old pieces. Since this set was a wedding gift, I do not know where it came from, although I believe it was a good quality set. The name says "Supreme Cutlery Stainless Japan" and ALL of the pieces are highly magnetic.
Can you give any ideas on why my flatware is magnetic and yet appears to be high quality since the discussion I see here would indicate this is 18/0 and therefore a lower quality. Should I try to buff out the minor rust areas and keep this set rather than buying a new set or is a new set the way to go?

Relda Kelly
- Bourbonnais, Illinois, USA


January 6, 2013

A. Hi Relda. Buffing is okay, but is for the purpose of restoring shine (polishing), not rust removal. If it does not really need buffing to satisy you aesthetically, treatment with proprietary citric acid, like CitriSurf, is a better way to deal with the rust.

Stainless steel is the same material thoughout, it doesn't wear off like paint of plating. So if you are still satisfied with its looks you should keep it. Good luck.

Regards,

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Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey

January 16, 2013

Q. What is the safest, best metal I can buy on the market for my family? I'm looking for something that does not rust, chip, or erode away with years of use. Suggestions?

Skylar V
- Grand Ledge, Michigan


January 16, 2013

A. Hi Skylar. That is a matter of opinion, not of documentable fact. My opinion is that 18/8 or 18/10, from a reputable vendor, and not made in China, is the best.

Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey

February 13, 2013

Q. In searching for replacements for 50 to 60 year old flatware backmarked "STAINLESS STEEL JAPAN" I find that all pieces are larger and of apparently better quality (brighter) than anything I have found so far in a a similar pattern but all parts are equally magnetic. What might make old magnetic flatware brighter after so many years of constant use. What companies might have manufactured this SS flatware in the early 60's? The pattern has three starbursts and the knife handles appear hollow handled.

stainless steel flatware

Chary Izquierdo
- Annapolis, Maryland, USA


January 19, 2014

Q. I would like to purchase "Hammered Steel Rivet flatware, matte finish" sold by Restoration Hardware 18/8 stainless steel.

Luckily, this set is more refined than crude, created by a metalsmith, and hand-forged with a hammered brass rivet accent.

15689-2
(www.houzz.com/photos/4937962/Hammered-Steel-Rivet-5-piece-Place-Setting-eclectic-flatware)

They say hand wash ... does anyone know what will happen if i put them in the dishwasher? I have a large family and hand washing will never happen. And I would love to purchase them. They look like a black dull color new. Thanks Lin

Linda Brown
- Oxford, Connecticut, USA

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