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18/8 Flatware Rust Spots

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I have 18/8 SS Flatware that is coming out of the dishwasher with rust like spots on the knives. Could this be coming from rust flakes in the dishwasher that adhere to the flatware and cause a rust like spot or is it more likely from chlorine or some other substance in the dishwashing detergent.

J.R. R deleted
- Lufkin, Texas


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I can't tell you what is causing the rust but a little toothpaste and a Scotch Briteamazoninfo pad should clean it up for you.

Heather E deleted
- Woodhaven, Michigan, USA


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I would give Ms. Essary's suggestion a try, but note that she said Scotchbrite. Steel wool should never be used on stainless steel as it will actually cause it to rust.

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


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I have this same problem and would love to know what is causing it. It is only happening to the knives. Someone advised me to use baking sodaamazoninfo and that worked pretty good.

L. M. P deleted
- Macungie, Pennsylvania, USA


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I am having the same problem. It has happened with multiple sets of good quality stainless, and with two different dishwashers. It is mostly on the knives, but shows up other places as well. I can only guess that it is a problem with the detergent or the rinsing agent. It could be the water itself (i.e. hard water) but that seems unlikely.

Will the Scotchbrite pad cause scratches on shiny stainless?

Jennifer B deleted
- Parker, Texas


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Still having problems with rust especially on knives in the dishwasher. I have tried all the other listings for help with this problem, but it continues to happen with each dishwasher cycle. Has anyone solved the problem yet?

Karen W deleted
Homemaker - Greenbrier, Tennessee, USA


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J.R. and L.M. I've noticed that, just as real silver tableware does not use silver blades, 18/8 stainless tableware may not use 18/8 blades. 18/8 stainless (i.e., 300 series) is non-magnetic whereas 18/0 (i.e., 400) series stainless is magnetic. See if the blades are more magnetic than the handles. Chlorine is murder on stainless of any common grade although the 18/8 is better than the 400.

Jennifer and Karen: Much stainless tableware is not 18/8 but 400 series and perhaps more prone to rusting. Check it with a magnet; if magnetic it's probably a bit more prone. Some dishwasher detergent is very aggressive and hard on stainless. Maybe you can find a milder one.

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

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I read that sterling silver itself cannot oxidize, but when water evaporates it leaves behind metal deposits which themselves rust, which explains the easy removal. The magnetism mentioned earlier could hold the metal on the knife, or just the flat surface could cause water to be less likely to run off of it. Because you mentioned hard water I suspect this is the problem because hard water contains more hard metals. Try hand drying I suppose to avoid this.

Rachelle P deleted
- Baton Rouge, Louisiana


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PLEASE LET ME KNOW IF YOU ARE AWARE OF ANY CAUSE FOR RUST ON STAINLESS FLATWARE. I JUST BOUGHT NEW KITCHEN FLATWARE AND AFTER IT RAN THROUGH THE DISHWASHER IT HAD RUST SPOTS ALL OVER IT. PLEASE HELP.

PATRICIA Gdeleted
HOMEMAKER - TOMS RIVER, New Jersey


If nothing has changed but the flatware, and your old flatware doesn't rust, the flatware is no good and should be returned. If you haven't thrown the old stuff away, run it again and see if it also rusts. Good luck!

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

Yamazaki flatware


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I have Reed and Barton 18/10 Flatware. I have same problems with the rust spots/discoloration. I was told by Reed and Barton that it is from the Dishwasher Detergent because it is 'scented' and it contains 'bleach'. I am now using Walmart's non fragrance without any bleach- It is the old fashioned kind (the powder). I only have the flatware for a year. They are kindly replacing the ruined pieces. I am researching into 18/8 vs. 18/10. Hope this helps all of you.

Christine Mines
- Long Branch, New Jersey


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I just purchased a set of stainless flatware 18/0. When I wash it in the dishwasher it gets little rust spots on them. Why is this happening and how can I get the spots off the flatware? Also, can I wash them in the dishwasher without getting spots on them?

Linda DiNallo
- Mechanicville, New York, USA


March , 2006

The number before the slash, the 18, is the percentage of chromium in the stainless. The number after the slash is the percentage of nickel. If it's 0 the stainless will be magnetic; if it's 8 or 10 the stainless will be non-magnetic. In general, the higher the number, the more resistant to rust. Still, I think Christine M is correct that chlorine (bleach) may be the principal culprit in the rusting.

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

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One knife in a full load of flatware (Lenox 18/10) came out with some rust and black pitting spots along the length of the blade..why just one knife (although I am glad it didn't happen to the others:-)?

Shawn Johnson
- Lebanon, Oregon


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The rust spots started to appear on the blades of my 18/10 knives from a set of Wallace flatware which I have had for a few years and never had a problem with . I tried to think of anything that may have changed. I started using a rinse agent a few months back and this is the problem. It's lemon scented and I know that lemon is bad for knife blades!

Here's what I did-

-rubbed the rust spots with whitening toothpaste and gently rubbed with a scotchbrite pad

-use CRL on any spots the paste would not get out.

-washed then by hand until the rinse aid ran out of my washer.

I have not had a problem since.

Linda Lee
- Boston, Massachusetts


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Well, with my replacement set of 18/10 Reed and Barton Flatware same discoloration and rust spots appeared even after using the Walmart detergent as instructed by Reed and Barton. It must be the water. It must have high chlorine or some other minerals that are affecting the flatware. I had to get my flatware set replaced again for a third time. I am now hand washing all my flatware. All is fine now. I figure if it was pure silver flatware, it would have to be washed by hand anyway. I am renting, therefore, I am not going through any expenses to have the water tested, and have filter/softener installed. My recommendation is to hand wash your flatware to ensure they remain stain/spot free. Nothing really removes the stains. I followed their instructions to remove and it doesn't work. Plus, you don't want to lose the luster and shine of your flatware by using abrasives to attempt to remove them. Hope this helps.

Christine Mines
- Long Branch, New Jersey


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We also have Reed and Barton stainless with the rusting knives. I know that it is not caused by chlorine in the water because we have tested well water that has only a minute trace of chlorine in it. I contacted the company and they said they will send replacements. Other emails have stated that their replacement knives are rusting! What good are replacements if they will rust!?!? They need to find the cause of the rust and send us non rusting ones!

Joe Gambacini
- Madison, Connecticut, USA


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I don't encounter rusting on flatware, so I can only guess, but

1. Never use steel wool on stainless! It can cause it to rust, and the effects may last for a long time or forever.

2. Make sure there is no bleach in the detergent; bleach is murder on stainless.

3. Try a simple, basic rinse aid and see if that helps

4. If it's made in China, my own belief is that the quality just may not be as good as you are used to.

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

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I recently purchased a new set of stainless steel flatware at Macy's at it was supposed to be "quality" and "dishwasher safe." Well, I got those little rust spots on it right away. I thought it might be because I have such Hard Water in my area. So I bought a rinse aid for the dishwasher - which is basically just a water softener. Right away, the little rust spots seemed to stop occurring. To clean the ones that already had spots; I just used a regular washcloth and some toothpaste (the kind with baking soda in it). That worked pretty good to clean up the spots. I hope this helps anyone else out there! :)

Holly Blair
- Coalinga, California, U.S.A.


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I've had the same rust spotting problem and just tried Barkeepers Friendamazoninfo. I have All Clad cookwareamazoninfo and that's what is recommended to clean it, so I thought I'd try it on the flatware and... it worked!

Ellen Lucas
- Scottsdale, Arizona, USA


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My mom and I discussed this one afternoon and she said it is from peanut butter. I have not tested the theory. I went on-line to see what others are saying, and it doesn't seem like anyone knows. Maybe try to not wash knives with peanut butter on them. It only happens to my knives regardless the brand name of detergent etc.

Ivy Towler
- Sioux City, Iowa, USA


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Well, it is October 2006 and I had to get a bunch of spoons replaced again (Reed and Barton) as they got no rust spots but discoloration/rainbowed staining on the spoon itself. This still happened even after hand washing. I contacted Reed and Barton and they sent me new spoons again. I read some of the others comments and I agree what good is it to keep calling and sending flatware if it still continues. It is great to hear from a reader who doesn't have a water problem and it still occurred with Reed and Barton. I am beginning to wonder if it is the product itself. My Mother has 18/10 flatware by Oneida and my Mother in law has another brand of 18/10 flatware from years ago and no problems with their flatware. They both put their flatware in the dishwasher. My Mother in law lives downstairs and it is the same water since I live in a two family house. I am going to be looking for a new flatware set. I will also try the BarKeepers like another reader suggested.

Christine Mines
- Long Branch, New Jersey

Yamazaki stainless flatware


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I've been researching the rust on my various brands of flatware for 5 years. The water company has finally come to the conclusion that the spots on my knives are probably due to the combination of water pipes in our older home. When the copper pipes are intermingled with the iron pipes it seems to stir up the residue--which likes to grab on to those knives in the nice hot dishwasher. Solution.... upgrade pipes in the house! agh!

Marion Ross
- Cleveland Hts, Ohio, USA


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I purchased a set from Bed Bath and Beyond and returned them because they rust/pitted a lot (18/10 or 18/8). I replaced them with a more expensive set from Pottery Barn with was 18/10. They have done some of the same, it took longer - it has been about a year. I know not to use dishwasher detergent with lemon and I don't. But the interesting thing is that I have a medium quality Oneida set from oh, approx. 15 years ago that never did this. I still have stored for "just in case" they may be a little scratched but not rust/pitted. This is frustrating and I am wondering if the manufacturing of these flatware is just not the quality of 15+ years ago. I am getting ready to contact Pottery Barn to exchange them. I have considered washing and drying by hand.

Brenda Cunningham
- Mesa, Arizona


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We have had the same rusting problems with a couple of different sets of silverware. I don't know the rating of the metal. I called Bosch (the dishwasher manufacturer) and I was told that it is not the metal rusting. I was told that it is metal from other items in the dishwasher, and sometimes metal from the washer itself. I was told that it is electrolysis. Unfortunately, I was also told that there really isn't anything that I can do about it. It is recommended (by Bosch) to flush the dishwasher once a year with new enhanced CLRamazoninfo, or Iron Outamazoninfo. They told me to start the empty dishwasher on the scrub cycle, and add the cleaner 10 minutes after it starts. I was told to soak my silverware in a mild solution of CLR. I haven't tried it yet but I hope it works, and I hope it helps some others that are having the same issues.

Matt Barrisy
- Phoenix, Arizona, USA


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I have had the same problem with the rusting on the knives. I have found that Cascade Completeamazoninfo works the best on my flatware and causes less rust stains than when I use tablets or regular Cascade.

Andrea Thompson
- Nanuet, New York


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Rust spots-spoons, knives. I am having the same problem with a set of stainless steel Cambridge flatware from JC Penney's...it wasn't cheap either. It is happening to mainly the spoons and knives. I have one spoon that hasn't spotted! We never use peanut butter, so that isn't it. We have tried some of the more expensive dishwasher powder.

Kylie Harbin
consumer - Denham Springs, Louisiana


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I have a set of Wallace 18/10 stainless in which only the knife blades are rusted and pitted, but several have been totally pitted, so that I now only wash them by hand. Like others, I have older stainless in which this same problem did happen but over a much longer period of time. I live in Chicago--no hard water here. I use Electrasol tabs and Jet Dry. Stainless manufacturers--why don't you run a few tests and tell us what is going on?

Mary Ann Fischer
consumer - Chicago


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We live in the country and have well water. Bought a set of Oneida stainless steel flatware about a month ago - did not have any trouble with rust spots on any knife blades in the dishwasher until about ten days ago, when we had a problem with our well water due to a pipe freezing. Barkeepers Friendamazoninfo worked very well to clean the knife blades (not just from the Oneida flatware but from other stainless steak knives which also never had rust spots before - my guess is our water problem caused the rust spots, but I'll wash the knives by hand from now on. Odd that the rust spots are only on the knives - the forks and spoons are still perfect.

Martha Jennings
- Marquette, Michigan, USA


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As mentioned, Martha, the knife blades are probably made of a different material -- a material which is capable of holding a bit of an edge, but which is more prone to rusting.

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

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I moved into a new home, new dishwasher, new flatware, well water with filter. I too had rust spot issues immediately. My pipes are 100% plastic ( no copper no lead). The first flatware brand was Cambridge, brushed 18/10 from Linens -n- Things and it rusted within 2-3 washes; forks, knives and spoons. I too thought it was my water so I changed my filter after it only being in place 3 wks ( filter manufacturer suggests to change every 6 months.) Still had rust. I returned it and purchased a Wallace set, polished 18/10 and had the problem again in the second wash. I use Cascade 2 in 1 pacs (blue). Used jet dry at first then stopped and had rust either way. I am getting rust even when I fill the dishwasher in one meal, wash immediately then unload as soon as it completes the wash.
This is insane. My old cheap silverware (most obtained accidentally from restaurants in my waitressing days) has NEVER rusted in the dishwasher....dulled, yes but no rust. . This seems to be a universal issue no matter what part of the country (or city) we are in. Neither manufacturer supplied care instructions, and the boxes both said dishwasher safe, never needs polishing. I am contemplating returning the second set, but geez what an inconvenience, again! These manufacturers need to figure out the issue here. I think we need to bombard the manufacturers directly via letters, phone calls, etc. As a matter of fact, I am going to copy and paste this right now...
We should NOT have to HAND WASH our flatware

Anne Applebee
- Wiscasset, Maine


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You are right that there should be an answer, Anne, and if someone knows it we will be pleased to post it. But I personally have never had any serious rusting issues. Every once in a while maybe a little smidgen on knife blades, but that's it. And we have an assortment of both magnetic and non-magnetic stainless -- but nothing less than 5 years old -- and we use whatever dishwasher detergent is on sale. Update Jan 2008: I personally now suspect that newer flatware (almost always made in China) is in fact the problem

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

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Hi!

I just purchased a set of 18/10 Stainless Steel Flatware and it says it's Dishwasher Safe -but Hand Washing is recommended. What will happen to it if I do put it in the dishwasher, as I definitely do not want to hand wash it.

It also says do not clean it with any lemon detergents, does that even include Lemon Joy Dish Soap and Palmolive Lemon Dish Washer Soap?

I'd really appreciate hearing from you,
Thank you!
Lynn

Lynn Juneau
Consumer - Woodinville, Washington, U.S.A


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I just bought a Hampton Silversmith's service for 12 set which is supposed to be 18/10. I have only hand-washed it so far, being afraid to put in dishwasher, after reading the "dishwasher safe, but better to hand wash" warning on the box. When I read above that 18/10 is supposed to be non-magnetic and 18/8 magnetic, I tried a magnet against old 18/8 that I had and it was magnetic. I then tried the new 18/10.....spoon bowls were magnetic, forks were not.....knife blades VERY magnetic. Interestingly enough.....an odd mix of 35 year old stuff from everywhere had NO magnetic pieces (most were made in U.S. and Japan).

So are we to assume that manufacturers having them made in China (like my new Hampton's) do not adhere to industry standards? I wash the 35 year old mix of junk flatware in the dishwasher.....lemon Cascade, JetDry and all......never had rust or pitting.

carol hartley
- lockhart, Texas


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Read it again a little slower, Carol :-) Neither 18/8 nor 18/10 are magnetic, although it is possible for the work-hardening of forging to give them a slight magnetism (this may be the case with the spoons). Series 400 stainless steel (which is sometimes called 18/0 these days) is strongly magnetic just like plain steel. The blades of 18/8 and 18/10 flatware are sometimes made of 18/0, not to save money, but because it is a better material for blades. It's the same with real silverware; the blades will not be made of silver because it's a bad blade material.

It would not surprise me if flatware that is made in China is low quality; it's certainly possible that the quality control just isn't there in making the alloy. But I don't know. What is not quite clear in the dozens of letters on the site is someone mixing the old flatware with the new and proving that when washed identically the new stuff rusts while the old doesn't. Do you mix the 35-year-old stuff with the new and see rust spots only on the new?

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

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