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Flatware is rusting in dishwasher, page 2

Quickstart of Q&A's: Flatware may be of type 316 or the somewhat less corrosion-resistant type 304. Knife blades are never of either of the highly corrosion-resistant types of stainless steel because those types cannot be hardened to hold an edge.

Never use steel wool (only scotchbrite) because microscopic steel particles will initiate rust and it will continue. But if rusting occurs or steel wool has been used, citric acid passivation ought to be done.

Some readers think stainless interiors in the dishwasher are responsible; the editors don't think so. Perhaps the biggest factor is that dishwasher detergents are really strong these days and dishwashers use really hot water. A milder detergent or lower water temperature may help.

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Well it is just my suspicion, but I think there is a lot less nickel in the stainless steel than there used to be. I don't really know if there is a correlation, but I notice the taste and see the early pitting in the more current flatware. I haven't found a way to check vendor by vendor for the content. I think we may have to lobby for this information. Place of manufacture may be an indicator of quality control, such as ehm... made in China...

After some research including vendor contacts and lots of internet toxicity and chemical tables, here is my recommendation:

1. Put the flatware in water as soon as possible after eating. Acids and Alkalines will cause discoloration, etching and pitting. pH balance is important. This means for example, citrus, dairy enzymes, salad dressing, mustard, bleach and phosphates will all damage flatware if not promptly removed.

2. Try a "green" dish detergent, like what is sold at Trader Joe's.

3. Do not use the drying cycle on your dishwasher. Hand dry your flatware whenever you have the time and energy.

4. Use a rubbing compound [on eBay or Amazon affil links] to remove spots. If you don't care for the process of making a paste of baking soda [in bulk on eBay or Amazon affil links] , Crest toothpaste makes a nice, very mild rubbing compound; just a dab in your finger tips and rubbing the flatware works well. Crest also works for water stains on wood, with a very fine #0000 steel wool [on eBay or Amazon affil links] and a light and even hand. You can always purchase a silver or metal polishing compound, but it isn't really necessary and is really time consuming as it requires hand washing afterward to be sure the compound is completely removed before using.

5. Alternatively, you can purchase an ultrasonic jewelry cleaner [on eBay or Amazon affil links] . I like the Samson ultrasonic washer, as it is good for vegetables and dishes and fits right in the sink. It does require a plug. At around 300.00 usd, it is quite a bit cheaper than replacing your household pipes.

6. Add a filter to your kitchen sink if you have old amalgam or mixed metal pipes. This is just common health sense - you don't want to consume all those metals. Also, when washing flatware, cold water is just fine. Hot water leaches metals from the pipes. If you run the cold water for a few minutes to relieve the local pipe of metal build up, fewer of the metals from the pipes will contaminate the flatware - - and you.

7. When you get a chance, watch How It's Made on the Discovery channel when the flatware segment is on.

Another interesting topic would be, what makes it 0, 8 or 10, and how is it applied in manufacturing?

Stainless steels are iron alloys with a minimum of 10.5% chromium. Other alloying elements are added to enhance their structure and properties such as formability, strength and cryogenic toughness. These include metals such as:

* Nickel
* Molybdenum
* Titanium
* Copper

Non-metal additions are also made, the main ones being:

* Carbon
* Nitrogen

VL Maehl
- SF California
July 9, 2008

A. I work for a housewares distributor. We sell flatware from all of the major manufacturers, many of which were previously mentioned. I actually stumbled upon this thread because I have been tasked with adding a "proper care & use" column to some of our marketing material. We obviously have customers who are having the same sort of problems many of you are. Most of the major things that contribute to rust have been mentioned, as well as possible solutions to removing the rust. I wish there was a "magic bullet" of information that was out there that would solve all of our problems, but after 20 years of selling flatware, we still don't know of one. From what we can tell, any flatware left in a dishwasher for a long time to dry will often rust. Citrus or bleach detergents will cause rust, too much detergent will compound the problem. Hard water increases proneness to rust. Mixing various different types of metals in a dishwasher can lead to rust. Poor quality flatware/steel/finish, etc will obviously be more prone to rust. There is often rust from water pipes that bonds to metals in a hot dishwasher. All of these have been mentioned. I just wanted to touch on a few of the things I read.

Knives rusting- Knives will always be more prone to rust for two reasons. Even if you buy an 18/10 flatware set, your knife blades are likely going to be 18/0. This is because nickel is too soft to be used in a blade. They would bend far too easily and would likely lose their edge almost immediately. Rust on the business edge of serrated blades is also the most common problem. It's very difficult or even nearly impossible for a manufacturer to get a good polish on the very small and exposed serrations. Perhaps thicker forged cutlery can possibly contain nickel, not sure.

18/10 vs 18/8 and a brief history. Most of your good "old" flatware that was made in the US is 18/8. 18/8 was the industry standard for decades. 18/10 was first introduced by the Chinese and marketed heavily as more durable and corrosion-resistant. A strategic ploy to get more business as (as somebody here already mentioned) there's really not enough of a difference to be noticeable in everyday use. Yes, one is more rust resistant, but as evidenced by previous posts, all of it can still rust due to various factors, one might just take slightly longer. As far as manufacturers using 18/8 vice 18/10, we've seen a majority of the cookware, flatware & other steel products drop to 18/8. The price on nickel has skyrocketed (apparently even more so than most of the commonly used metals, which have also sky-rocketed.) It's tough to justify producing 18/10 given the cost vs "how much of a difference it really makes" factor.

Oneida- To my knowledge, they're not producing flatware in the US anymore. There's a small company that took over a portion of their plant operations in Sherill, NY, but I'm pretty sure they just silverplate steel blanks that come in from various countries overseas. Mostly higher quality patterns from Japan, last I checked. I could be wrong on that Michaelangelo pattern though.

Like I said, I know of many different factors that can contribute to the rusting, but have no idea on how to prevent it completely other than hand washing/drying. Should I come across that "silver bullet" in the coming years, I'll be sure to publish it.

Kevin Martinez
- Utica, New York
August 6, 2008

thumbs up sign Just to be clear, Liberty Tabletop purchased the large vacated Oneida factory in Sherrill, N.Y. Per their site, and also people I know who work there, they are now the ONLY flatware maker left in the U.S.A. They design and build the whole product in the U.S.A. with 18/10 stainless steel for everything except knife blades, which are highly polished hardenable stainless steel. All metals come from the U.S.A. mills and are completely tested for impurities.

W King
- NC
August 7, 2023

Hi, Kevin. That was a very informative response, and we appreciate all the good ideas! But you do see the 800-pound Chinese gorilla in the room?

I have a set of 10 year old brightly polished Mikasa. Doesn't matter where I move, or what bargain kind of detergent we buy; or whether they stand in the dishwasher for a week when we're on vacation, doesn't matter that we've been through 3 different dishwashers, or what we eat. They just don't rust, not a single tiny spec, not ever, period.

I'd be happy to send you a place setting and let you try all of the kinds of mishandling you mention in your Care & Use pamphlet, to try to make them develop even a tiny spec of rust. Because if you can make good flatware rust through such mishandling, then the advise makes sense -- but knock yourself out because it's not going to rust.

To approach it the other way 'round, trying to write up Care & Use instructions that might reduce the frequency of poor quality flatware rusting is, as you have seen, an exercise in futility and tail-chasing.

Now, I realize that steak knifes need to be a harder, more sharpenable grade, and are prone to rust spots. But I'm talking about all the reports of new 18/8 flatware rusting. Isn't it possible that much of today's flatware is not properly passivated, or that it suffers some other manufacturing defect -- and it's not lack of care by the consumer that causes the problem?


Ted Mooney,
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey
August 6, 2008

Just a response to Ted.

I certainly don't think that in most of the previous posters' cases there is misuse. They seem to be doing everything they can to prevent or at least mitigate the problem somewhat (hence, why they're here and posting responses.) However, the crux of my customers are timeshare resorts and extended stay hotels where the norm is to load the dishwasher with anything that's dirty, run it, and then leave the load in the dishwasher for the next guests. It could be in there for a day, a few days, a week or sometimes more. In our case, it is due to misuse much more often than not. Not that we can expect the housekeepers to hand-wash the flatware in every unit. Outside of buying top of the line flatware that will just walk out of the units with some sticky-fingered patrons, there are still measures our customers can take to at least minimize the problem some, or at least understand why it's happening.

Regarding Chinese produced flatware... I can't wait for more flatware/cookware manufacturing to return to the US. With fuel prices on the rise and the constant chatter of increased legislative restrictions, tariffs, and anti-dumping taxes, I do actually see it on the horizon, though still fairly distant. In addition to distributing for the large-name manufacturers, we also import many steel products. We have gone away from China and only import from India now. Though, it's only barely the lesser of two evils... and my prediction is that it won't be for long. India is the China of tomorrow, just a hunch. For the time being, we really have no other choice as the only domestic manufacturers of our types of product are very high-end/retail oriented companies. Understandably, there just not much demand for that in our industry.

As far as if it's possible that the "new vs old" flatware is a quality issue, I have no doubt. One company cuts some corners to offer a better price, then unfortunately the rest need to follow to stay competitive. Though, I don't think that's a domestic vs import issue. As much as we don't like to admit it, the factories & workers overseas are just as capable of producing quality flatware as the factory down the road from me in Oneida was in the 50's, 60's and 70's, etc. Presumably more so given technological advancements. China has also done a lot of "housekeeping" in the past three years and most of their run-down shoddy factories were closed. It's almost all new factories now (no comment on how state of the art they are in terms of eco-friendliness though.) This is just one reason they're slowly losing their competitive advantage, their prices have increased substantially as a result. The companies who are producing (and/or licensing) these patterns also have (or have the option of having) quality control employees working full-time in the overseas factories. Though I know very little about passivating or any other manufacturing process, I have to assume it's simply a matter of them (the name brand companies) opting to cut corners in order to stay price-competitive. Period.

Kevin Martinez
- Utica, New York
August 7, 2008

This is a very long thread with a lot of case histories that are very interesting. Our company deals with passivation of stainless steel (what makes stainless steel stain-less; and we deal with corrosion problems of stainless steels every day.

Many of the comments given on this topic are right on target, and a few are wives tales. However, we can with great certainty tell everyone that the stainless steels used in flatware today are much poorer in quality than the old steel manufactured in the U.S., Europe and Japan. We have seen this in every industry that uses stainless steel. All of this has been driven by the drive for low cost goods, which in the end has produced products that are more and more inferior. The "good" companies have been driven by the large retailers to sell at lower and lower prices, causing poorer quality as a result.

There are definite problems in use, also; and I will cover this later in my response. But, for the main problem you can be sure that the quality of steel is the source. If you can find flatware (and other products) with steel manufactured in the above countries you will have much better quality, and products that truly DO stain less. Remember that the stainless steel is still 70-80% iron, so it will still rust if the quality is poor or it is stressed by chemicals that are not good for stainless steel. If the steel is full of inclusions caused by poor manufacture and use of high amounts of scrap iron you will have rusting even in normal uses.

There are many causes for the poor steel. We would be happy to discuss this with the manufacturers and marketers of flatware and other household products if they contact us. We would hope that some of the poor trends in quality can be reversed by manufacturers that are responsible.

As far as the end use conditions causing rusting of flatware, there are a few guidelines that are logical from a chemical and metallurgical standpoint:
First of all you should NEVER expose stainless steel to any bleach or bleach containing products.
Second, you want to avoid ANY products that contain chlorides.
Third, there is definitely a possibility that dishwashers made of stainless interior can cause a galvanic condition in the dishwasher which can cause rusting of some grades of stainless steel. Think of the dishwasher as a giant battery with chemical cleaners inside and two different dissimilar metals-- just like a battery. I have not personally tested this theory, but if the interior is properly grounded I think this problem could be minimized.
Fourth, a good alkaline dishwashing product should never cause any problem with stainless steel. Using "green" products does not do anything for you.
Fifth, the term "citric cleaner" can mean a lot of things. Lemon scented cleaners should never be a problem, and citric acid will never be a problem. However, many "citric" cleaners have other chemicals that can contain chlorides or other harmful chemicals for stainless. D-limonene [on eBay or Amazon affil links] is used in many of these products, but I do not have data on the possible affect of this on flatware. It is generally a safe chemical coming from orange peelings (hence called a citric cleaner).

Good quality flatware manufactured with good steel and passivated after manufacture should not rust in a "normal" dishwasher cycle, as has been pointed out in the many cases cited above. We would be happy to discuss this with anyone who needs further information.

One thing to remember is to IMMEDIATELY fix any rusting that you see on the flatware. If allowed to proceed to the point of "pitting" of the steel you will never get it to stop recurring. Some products have been mentioned that will eliminate the rust on the surface. There are any number of other products on the market containing citric acid , oxalic acid or phosphoric acid that do a good job of removing any rust that appears. Leaving the rust on the surface will cause the rust to grow like a disease.

And yes, you can just wash all of your flatware by hand in a good detergent cleaner. This should never cause a problem, but if you still see rusting you need to eliminate it as soon as possible.

lee kremer
lee kremer sig
Lee Kremer
Stellar Solutions, Inc.
supporting advertiser
McHenry, Illinois
stellar solutions banner
August 10, 2008

This information about flatware has been very helpful. I hate to take the time to hand wash flatware but I may have to. from what I'm reading good quality flatware is not sold anymore. my mom told me that when she got married and set up her house in 1961 everything she bought for the house was expensive because cheap products from China were not being sold in the US then. looks like cheap Chinese made products are not worth it after all. This is depressing.
good site though.

Ann Chaput
consumer - Brockton, Massachusetts
August 27, 2008

thumbs up sign Thank you for this informative site. I too have issues with the knife blades coming out of the dishwasher with pitting/rust spots. It drives me crazy! I'm embarrassed to use the silverware when I have guests. I was looking in to purchasing a more expensive set, but after reading others comments here I don't think it will be worth spending the money. I am so tired of the Chinese imports of inferior quality! I hope these issues with poor quality control of Chinese products will bring some of our manufacturing back to the good ole US of A! I live in a suburb of Atlanta, have city water and have recently been using Cascade Extra Action detergent which has Dawn with Lemon Scent, I also use Jet Dry. I did find that if I used the Cascade Complete detergent it seemed to be worse at causing the pitting/rusting issues. I think I will try the basic Cascade to see I have fewer issues with pitting/rust.

Cindy Baranowski
- Atlanta, Georgia
August 31, 2008

I have noticed rust spots/stains on my brand new Oneida Icarus flatware the last few months. Never had this problem before on my 23 year old set of Oneida flatware.

This stuff is most likely poor grade and poorly made metal from over seas.

There is NO Quality control on a lot of this cheap flatware coming from over seas.

Someone in the metal industry told me that poorly produced metal can have a lot of impurities in it. A lot of the cheaply made flatware is not good and has bad casting porosity.

I guess I'll get my flatware from Italy or France next time. Buyer beware, it is not hard water but poor, cheap, metal and casting. You get what you pay for. These companies now are going for fast profits over reputation, name, and quality. They know what they are selling. I won't buy Oneida again. Outsourcing cost them!

Chris Chubb
- Long Beach, California
September 10, 2008

I have two sets of stainless flatware that I have had for 20 years and never had any rust spots until we recently bought a new dishwasher. Now both sets are so full of spots that I am embarrassed to use them. It must be caused by the dishwasher because I am using the same detergent I have always used. I too, would like an answer to this problem!

Lynette Dunkel
- Santa Rosa, California
September 30, 2008

In the last 6 months, I have been through Oneida, Wallace, J.A.Henckels and Yamazaki 18/10 or 18/8 Stainless Steel Flatware. Each time I return them back to the store because of pitting and rust, mostly on the knife blades but other pieces have been affected. I realized the only common thread to be all were made in China. So how can we lobby against such inferior products? I am ready to use plastic throwaways as they look more presentable than my NEW rusty stainless steel. I have increased the amount I've paid for the silverware with each return thinking I was getting what I paid for; WRONG, all have the same problem. Is anyone positive that Mikasa is still made in Japan? Anyone have any problem with Mikasa rusting or pitting? My current Yamazaki set was made in China. Yamazaki also offers a set made in Japan that is very expensive. The only thing I see working right now is to keep returning the sets back to where we purchased them. Maybe the stores will have more influence than the customers. Any suggestions, would help!

Cindy Kelsey
- Toledo, Ohio
October 8, 2008

Glad to see I'm not the only one with this problem. I previously had 20 year old Oneida flatware purchased with Betty Crocker "points", so I'm sure it wasn't the highest quality ... never had any rust or pitting problems. Then, in May our house burned down and we've had to replace everything. I bought a nice set of Oneida from Kohl's. Had rusting from the very first washing. Returned it for a refund and got a set of Gorham from Bed, Bath and Beyond...same problem, especially with the knife blades. I've also noticed a brown "gunk" on the blades at times, like one of the other posters mentioned. I have been able to polish out the rust with a stainless polish, but who wants to have to do that every time? There isn't a country of manufacture on the flatware, but I have to assume it's China.

My dishwasher is a cheapo Roper with a plastic interior (rental house). I have city water that's not especially hard. I have used Wal-Mart regular dishwasher detergent, added Jet Dry to try and stop the rusting, and am now using Electrasol 2 in 1 gel packs, that have Jet Dry added to the detergent. I've never used lemon scented detergent because I don't like the smell. Since there's only two of us, I usually only run a load of dishes every 2 or 3 days, but I always rinse everything before loading. I'm thinking about scouring the thrift stores or garage sales in search of some older flatware that maybe won't rust.

By the way, since I've had to totally replace everything in my household after the fire, I've been forced to buy almost everything made in China. Even though I've bought higher end products, the quality is awful in most cases...I wish I had my old stuff!

Lana Maturey
- Overland Park, Kansas
October 25, 2008

I have the same problem with my (7 year old) 18/8 Gorham; however, it was NOT produced in China, but in Indonesia. Like the other posters above, the problem is primarily with the knives. I have had it in two different houses. The first house (where rusting began) had a dishwasher that had a plastic lining and we were on well water, but had a water softener. My current house has a dishwasher with an enamel lining, and we are on public water, still with a water softener, and still with the rusting problem.

Anyone think a water softener may contribute to the problem? I will admit that the issues with my flatware may be my own doing... I am wondering if any of you (like me) load your dishwashers without pre-washing. Sometimes the dishes are in there overnight before being washed...

Julie Pete
- St. Louis, Missouri
December 4, 2008

Hi, Julie. 18/8 will not hold an edge; therefore I think you will find that the knife blades are a lower alloy (check with a magnet), and more susceptible to rusting. As for the rest of your question, let's see if anyone has an experience to share.


Ted Mooney,
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey
December 5, 2008

Everyone is off on this one. 18 refers to the chromium content, the 2nd number refers to the nickel content. 18/10 flatware has more nickel. More nickel means more strength. An 18/10 fork won't bend. It's the better quality stainless. Chromium is supposed to prevent rust, and nickel is resistant to rust.

My guess is that it's the iron in the water, which will show up as pretty normal on a test. BUT IRON DOES RUST--EASILY!

V. Rogers
stone quarry - South Rockwood, Michigan
January 2, 2009

Hi, V. Thanks for participating but, no, everyone is not off :-)

The amount of nickel has essentially nothing to do with the strength of the stainless steel. Stiffness is the 3rd power of thickness such that flatware that is just 25% thicker, is twice as resistant to bending. When you pay more you generally get thicker (heavier).


Ted Mooney,
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey
January 7, 2009

Rainbow stains began to appear on all our 15 yr old Reed & Barton stainless, especially knife blades and tablespoons--began immediately after we purchased (in late 2008) new Kenmore Elite dishwasher with stainless steel interior. Never had problem with previous Kenmore with plastic interior. I understand this machine has Kenmore label, but is made by Whirlpool. Could have to do with detergent, poor rinsing, rinse agent, something about the drying cycle (haven't done too much experimenting yet), but we are wondering especially about the stainless interior.

Joseph Tarron
- Buffalo, New York
March 4, 2009

I had a new kitchen installed a few months ago. We are using the same flatware we have used for over 10 years... the detergent hasn't changed, only the dishwasher.

Yet suddenly, rust spots have started to appear!

I'm interested in the feedback above about the stainless steel interior of the dishwasher causing an environment that can result in chemical reactions...

Phil Le Cheminant
- Romsey, Hampshire, UK
March 22, 2009

For my nickel Ted Mooney has given the best info why bleeding occurs on 18/8 set with knives having 18/0 blades as the probable problem. All my knives had 18/0 magnetic blades and most are pitting. Our first set now about 38 years old was Towle made in Germany. We replaced some missing knives about 8 years ago and it came in made in Korea. My wife has been disappointed in the replacement knives since. However, while the German set have a little more finished look overall, the knife blades bleed rust like crazy. The Korean blades are still lustrous and almost no bleeding. I believe the 8 yr old blades would be bleeding now if they are going to do so. So the idea that the older is of greater quality as many have suggested, at least as far as the blade issue is concerned, may not necessarily be true. The old set does look a little more hand made but the Korean pieces are close enough for me (wife does not agree:). The shocker comes with replacement knives (from are about $60 each for the German, whereas the Korean knives are about $18 each. We are looking to buy something to replace the whole set, but unfortunately it is hard to find very much made in USA. Even Oneida has closed its USA plant and only offers one ornate style still made in the USA (but not by Oneida). Most seem to have gone to Korea, Indonesia, china and Viet Nam. Some of which may be good quality but few made in USA and even Oneida is cagey about the issue but will tell you if you specifically ask if they have any made in the US but don't volunteer country of origin otherwise.

John Hopping
- Poquoson, Virginia
June 11, 2009

I wish I could provide a magic solution to this problem but I can only add my frustrating experience to the many similar experiences in this long and very informative thread. Our problem started when we bought a beach house with hard water. The inexpensive set of SS flatware (18/8?)from Ikea (made in China) discolored and the knife blades rusted within a couple of months. We've never had a problem at the main house. The flatware at the main house is approx. 8 year-old Reed and Barton. It replaced the cheapest stuff we could find right after we were married. Both houses have Bosch dishwashers with stainless interiors, both houses have copper pipes, and I use all-in-one detergent products in both. The only significant difference between the dishwashing process in the two houses is that the main house has soft water and the beach house has (very) hard water.

After reading through all of these posts, I can't help but conclude that today's cheesy SS flatware passes muster in most situations but fails if it's subjected to unusual -- but hardly rare -- stress. It would seem such stress might include hard water, chlorides, galvanic reaction, etc.

I've taken to washing the knives by hand. Now I'll try turning off the heated drying and, if that fails to cure the problem, I'll switch to a powder detergent so that I can reduce the amount used.

I wonder how large a part of the population is experiencing these kinds of problems with their stainless. My guess is that it's below the threshold that would require the manufacturers/retails to take action. I think we'll have to work through this one on our own. Or, as one poster mused, switch to plastic. Other than trying everything to solve the problem and sharing what we learn, we should probably make an effort to let the companies involved know about the problem. I'll contact Ikea, Bosch, and Calgon.

Thanks to all posters. The information in this thread saved me the cost of new, more expensive flatware which undoubtedly would have rusted and discolored just like the Ikea stainless.

Mike Bright
- Annapolis, Maryland
June 23, 2009

Yes I'm interested as well about the stainless interior as the same thing happened to us after switching dishwashers. we now have a GE Monogram (used twice and free) full stainless and now all of our Oneida 18/8 knives are getting rust spots . . . nothing else has changed except the dishwasher. I will ask my neighbor as well; they just picked up an LG with full stainless interior and see if they are running into the same problem yet.

Lee Fuller
- North Las Vegas, Nevada
July 29, 2009

I first posted in August 2008 about rusting/pitting of my knives. After reading other posts about the stainless interior dishwashers, I too have to admit that this began to be a big problem after we upgraded our dishwasher to a stainless-interior Kitchen Aid. When we had the noisy, builder-grade GE dishwasher this wasn't as much of a problem. It does seem like our new dishwasher doesn't vent the steam as quickly and that it takes longer for the dishes to dry. I've found that if I keep the handle down and don't overcrowd the silverware it helps reduce the amount of rust spots. I love the new dishwasher because it is soooooo quiet, but the rusting issue is frustrating.

Cindy Baranowski
- Atlanta, Georgia
August 14, 2009

I discovered this thread when I googled "rust" and "flatware" after I found rust spots on my 3-month old Stanley Roberts 18/10 knives (just the knives, no problems with spoons or forks).

I read through all of the posts and have come to the conclusion that my problem is the detergent that was used. I have been using cascade powder and never had a problem. Apparently, one of my old roommates bought cascade liquid and left it under the sink. While I always use the powder, my sister who is staying with me, used the liquid on the last wash and thats when I noticed the rust. After reading this forum and seeing that chlorine is bad for silverware, I checked the liquid detergent and it says it contains chlorine bleach.

I was suspicious of the knives not being 18/10, because while the other pieces say 18/10 on them, the knives just say stainless steel. According to other posts, this is actually pretty common. I did the magnet test anyway, just to confirm for myself. Sure enough, the knives are strongly magnetic. Interestingly enough, the tablespoons and both types of forks are not magnetic at all, but the teaspoons are. I'm not sure what that means, since the teaspoons did not rust, and do have 18/10 stamped on them, but clearly they are not of the same composition as the rest of the pieces.

I contacted stanley roberts via email, and am not sure what type of response I will get back. Hopefully they will replace the affected knives. I tried to get as much of the rust off as I could with toothpaste (as was recommended here), but the areas that rusted are still visible. I guess that is what others have referred to as pitting.

I suppose my problem doesn't help others who have not recently changed detergents, but hopefully some people find it helpful.

David Maple
- Durham, North Carolina, USA
August 20, 2009

Hi, we just got some Lenox flatware two weeks ago for our wedding. There are black spots on the knives after one or two uses. Hand washed. Lenox has tried to blame us in our email exchanges. But get this. THE KNIVES ARE MAGNETIC. Kitchen magnets stick right to the blades. Not so the forks or spoons. This means the knives are not 18/10 but 18/0. (according to what I read online the 10 stands for the percentage nickel in the mix. Adding the nickel takes away the magnetic properties). Is this fraud or what? These are $50 per place setting and are supposed to be 18/10 stainless.

Joel Middleton
- New Haven, Connecticut
September 7, 2009

Hi, Joel. 18/10 steel cannot hold an edge, so it is common procedure for the knife blade to be 18/0 (not that I am justifying that hand washed stainless is rusting).


Ted Mooney,
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey

I work within the flatware industry and have found this discussion very interesting. The following are some further explanations:

18/10 - 18% Chrome and 10% Nickel
18/8 - 18% Chrome and 8% Nickel
18/0 - 18% Chrome and 0% Nickel
13/0 - 13% Chrome and 0% Nickel

All of these steel alloys have various applications within flatware production. 18/10 is the highest quality stainless steel. The high percentage of nickel gives the product a silver like luster and also makes the metal softer allowing it to be formed into more complex shapes and decoration. The 18% chrome is what gives the product its rust resistance, but the nickel adds a little further resistance. This metal is now mainly used in fine flatware and is likely to be more expensive and reserved for high end brands.

18/0 steel has almost the same appearance of 18/10 and almost identical rust resistance, but is the 2nd best steel in terms of quality. It is generally used for everyday flatware production. It should hold up well under normal conditions.

Some people have mentioned knives being the most common item to rust. That is because all knife blades are made from 13/0, not 18/0 as some have suggested. This is a requirement (and has always been), as the other alloys of steel are too soft to create a sharp cutting edge. In the case of knives that are one piece in construction the entire piece will be produced in 13/0. Unfortunately this makes knives the most susceptible to rusting. Manufacturers are not required legally to call out on packaging that knives are 13/0 as the majority of the product material with a given flatware set is 18/10 or 18/0. However, as noted they cannot mark a knife blade as 18/10 or 18/0 and usually just mark it as "stainless steel".

As to the rusting problems people are having with flatware, there is no doubt that conditions and usage play a role. It is also true that the metal used will impact its performance. With a major shift from 18/10 to 18/0 steel within the industry the performance has suffered overall, but the 18/0 of today should perform the same as the 18/0 of past years. I think some people may be comparing 18/10 to 18/0 which will certainly show a decrease is rust resistance.

I think the bottom line is that people have a right to demand that their product holds up to dishwashing, particularly if the company selling the product advertises that fact. However, the reality is that there will always be a small percentage of defects (no matter where the product is made) and a small percentage of cases where conditions (water, pipes, dishwasher, detergent) impact the goods. With the cost of Nickel increasing greatly in 2007 and 2008, many companies could no longer afford to sell goods made in that material. Most consumers will not be willing to pay the increased cost to purchase 18/10 product. The additional expense of producing in the USA is also something for which most consumers are not willing to pay. Often the popular opinion is that things should be made in the USA, but rarely does the behavior follow that opinion if there is an additional cost to the consumer. We have seen companies that have tried to brave it out with US production (and the higher prices associated) go out of business. This is simply a symptom of changes in this new global economy.

Quality is something that everyone expects and should demand, but there is usually a price to pay for it and in the case of flatware that cost is always increasing.

Hope this helps.


Ross Patterson
- Cranford, New Jersey
October 19, 2009

I too have troubles with my Oneida flatware, 18-0, made in China, also supposed to be dishwasher safe. It does mainly spot the knives, but its not choosy, as its on the spoons, big spoons, but less on the forks. I have this set since May 5th, 09. This is my third set, but the others were cheaper. I have had discussed this problem with the company who installed the dishwasher. They have no answers at all, except to hand wash a new set. I got this set from Younkers, so its returnable. Its a disgusting problem, as this was a $200.00 set. We live in a complex with 52 other apartments, and they say they have no complains yet. But due to the age group here 86-87 years old and much older, I doubt they would complain much. So there seems to be no answer to it at all. We have lived in this city 16 years, and it didn't happen until we moved into this complex. I use Cascade Complete, with soft water, but of course chlorinated, but they tested the water and its safe. So I guess all I can continue to do from now on. is to hand wash or use plastic.

barb selander
- Ft. Dodge, Iowa
November 5, 2009

This morning my husband made comments about rust on the knives (though it does appear on other utensils, perhaps just not as noticeable). I immediately did an internet search and came upon this forum. Double checking our dishwasher detergent, all has lemon in it. We'll use up what we have and make sure we don't purchase in the future.

Since he's an avid Barkeepers Friend [on eBay or Amazon affil links] user on his stainless pots and pans, I decided to try it on the flatware. I used a not scratching pad and a few swipes up and down and the knives, and look like new. It even removed spots that were on a few. I did all of them and figure we'll just have to do this once in awhile to keep them looking good.

Thanks for this column. It's always great to find out you're not alone on these weird phenomenon - and I do agree that the quality in merchandise today is not to be compared of days gone by. Also the harsh chemicals and additives in everything we use today does not help either.

Lisa Calhoun
- Burgettstown, Pennsylvania USA
November 8, 2009

Having tossed two sets of "made in China" flatware due to rust spots, I am looking for replacement -- NOT made in China. Can't find any made in USA -- only Vietnam, Cambodia, Indonesia. Do the sets manufactured in these countries have the same inherent problem with rust spots, especially on the knives, as the ones manufactured in China. Any suggestions for replacement? Thank You.

Louise Hays
- Gold Canyon, Arizona USA
November 12, 2009

I have bought everything from the most expensive SS flatware to the cheapest and....... they all rust in the dishwasher, period.(Especially the knives and now I know why.) In the military with different detergents, different dishwashers, different houses in different locations with different water quality; nothing makes a "difference". I think the only way to go is hand washing if you really want to keep them rust free. Of course, my family is NEVER going to go with the hand washing option! I am going to try some of the tips I've seen on here for cleaning though. Thanks!

Jan Klesh
- Camarillo, California
November 17, 2009

We here in Canada seem to have the same rusting of the knives problem. I have a Miele dishwasher with silverware tray, so there is not one piece of cutlery touching the next. Water is soft so this cannot be the cause of the rust. My set is Cambridge Hemisphere pattern. I pull out the cutlery immediately after the wash cycle to minimize any water stains, but I still have to pass the knives over with a stainless steel powder and hard scrubbing to get off the spots on the sides and tops of the knives handles. Not terribly time-efficient. Seems there is no solution from all I've read above except hand washing - and that definitely won't happen with our hectic lives.

Chava Charest
- Montreal, Canada
November 18, 2009

Just to let you guys know the only place that still sells 18/10 stainless which IS made in the USA is the Silver Superstore (you can find them online) and they have a whole page devoted to flatware NOT made in China!

I plan on purchasing some from them.

Val Johns
- Virginia USA
December 28, 2009

My flatware is 30 years old and has never rusted in the dishwasher, until we bought a new Maytag dishwasher a year and a half ago. I replaced the flatware with Oneida (expensive) flatware, only to have the same problem. I tried different detergent and rinse aid, but the spots still appear. I am able to remove them, but what a hassle! I have been washing flatware by hand, until someone in the family forgets about the issue and puts it all in the dishwasher and starts it without me being home. Our home is not old (less than 13 years old), with plastic pipes. And like I mentioned above, we have had no issues with our older dishwasher (not Maytag).(..sigh...)

Marie Starr
- Minneapolis, Minnesota
January 12, 2010

I have Gorham Calias pattern; a combo of multi- generational ownership. Regarding rust on knife blades I have the following input:

They all get the same treatment and environment.

Marilyn Miller
- Otis Orchards, Washington
January 30, 2010

So, 'rust' spots appeared on several pieces of new Oneida Flatware 18/0. These spots and scars appeared in less than a month ... hope Macy's takes the whole set back or I will be upset. Old flatware lasted YEARS before tiny 'rust' spots appeared! Nothing changed but the silverware/flatware. Real question: what do I look for when shopping for a new set of flatware?

Alice Stewart-Hatchett
end user of silverware [usually when I eat] - Las Vegas, Nevada
April 10, 2010

Is Reed & Barton "Country French" flatware manufactured in in China or elsewhere in Asia? I noticed it felt light in hand. Not what I expected from R & B. I am happy to pay a premium to purchase USA products. I love this pattern but we lived in Hong Kong and China and I know what goes on there. I couldn't let my family eat using this product. Please tell me how I make sure I'm using flatware and dishes not produced in China. And please advise how I can find old (USA made) stock of Reed & Barton flatware. Thanks.

D Ferguson
- Brisbane Qld Australia
April 21, 2010

Very interesting comments. However, it has to be the water. I have the same set of cutlery that I used in my previous home. The rusting and pitting only started after I moved. The new location has hard water. I am still using the same Cascade as before. The cutlery companies are rather naive in replacing pieces = = why don't they just research the problem and fix it?

J. May
- Brooklyn, New York
May 8, 2010

I too have had this problem I now use Glass Magic [affil links] and the problem has gone away. I tried without it just to see if there was a difference and, yup, rust spots came back. So, until I can buy silverware that will not rust in the dishwasher, I am adding glass magic to the detergent.

Joan Suma
- Milldale, Connecticut, USA
May 13, 2010

I had the same problem with stainless steel (Oneida) bought a year and a half ago. It was only hand washed, no abrasives at a beach apartment used on weekends (one a month or less). Made in China. I have WMF and other older pieces at home that washed in a dishwasher in an area with hard water and they do not have the problem. Other metal items from China have had problems. A set made in Indonesia is doing fine.

I am looking for flatware set without the Made in China label. It seems that one cannot judge by the brand since it seems everyone is taking advantage of manufacturing in China even if quality decreases. They have a reputation and they will use it.
Will tier reputation be affected?

Maria Rodriguez
- San Juan, Puerto Rico
July 16, 2010

My flatware is 50 years old and has gone through many moves without rusting. Last year we bought an older home with a 30 year old dishwasher. The first wash rusted everything and each succeeding wash made it worse, so I started adding Clorox to the first cycle which, fortunately, ended any further rusting. Use it in every wash now. I just tried a couple of the suggestions from here for removing rust, first vinegar [in bulk on eBay or Amazon affil links] (looked just the same) and rubbing on tooth paste with a soft cloth (lightened a bit and scratched the entire knife blade. I think I'll try a commercial product next and see what happens.

Lisa James
- San Jose, California, USA
July 28, 2010

Zud Cleanser
on eBay or


(affil links)

I have the same problem with my flatware. Rainbow effect. I don't stick anything stainless in the dishwasher, as far as pots and pans. I use Zud heavy duty cleaner ⇨
(similar to Barkeepers Friend), and the rainbow effect, and rust is removed. I make my own dishwasher detergent, which has citric acid in it, to aid against water spots, however the rust spots were present before I started making my own detergent. I also use vinegar as the rinse agent, which is a whole lot cheaper than Jet-Dry. In my opinion it works better too. I just stumbled upon this site, after googling rust on flatware. I honestly believe that China sits over there laughing at us for buying their cheap knock off crap. I also think that the companies who get parts from China, or have their products made in China....Karma is headed back their way. Stop buying made in China crap, and the companies will have no choice but to make better quality products in the USA. Which basically means stop buying from Walmart, because that is all they have....crap from China. And they also keep track of your returns, and share their info like Ted Mooney was saying. Walmart is the root of all evil. Forcing the little men out of business everywhere they go, and selling crap that breaks shortly after you get it. Stop shopping Walmart, and stop shopping China, and I bet America would have a better economy. BUY AMERICAN!

I'm wondering why no one has mentioned standing water. Is it not common sense that any standing water for a period of time on any metal results in rust? I'm wondering your opinion on the matter Ted. I know for fact that if I wash my flatware ( sadly made in China) by hand, and leave it in the dish strainer to dry on it's own, it rusts just as much as it does in the dishwasher. Any sort of metal should be promptly dried. Yet no one has mentioned standing water as a possible cause. I also know that my flatware does not dry itself in the dishwasher promptly, as I can unload 2 hours after wash, and it's still relatively wet. Is it just me, or could this be the culprit?

Melissa Keaton
- Fayetteville, West Virginia
August 17, 2010

I have the same dishwasher and same flatware I've used for years. I changed my detergent as I could no longer get it (Costco powder) and experienced rainbowing and rusting. I used a good silver polish to fix the flatware, got a new bottle of jet dry and tried another detergent (Electrasol finish powerball- still problematic. I thought perhaps there was too much jet dry from the machine and from the powerball so I let the machine run out - still problems.

We've always had hard water without any problems. Next I tried Cascade powder - still problems - then bought Cascade liquid - better but still problematic. I don't get it. Why after all these years are we needing to wash by hand?

I don't believe it's the stainless as I have really good "old" stainless and this just started this year.

heather mirau
- Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada
September 19, 2010

I am having the same problem of spotting on my knives in the dishwasher. We have two sets of cutlery: a 20+ year old set from my wife's parents that is 18/8 with patterned handles and made in Hong Kong, and a 3-year old set by Grosvenor that is 18/10, plain with matte handles and polished tops - not sure where it is made. The knives and spoons of the old set are magnetic while only the Grosvenor knives are magnetic.

We used to hand wash all our dishes, but moved into a flat with a dishwasher in January this year (it is a very old home which likely has metal pipes). The rust spots started immediately on the Grosvenor knives, and only recently on the older set. We have a Bosch dishwasher with a stainless steel interior and use Finish Quantum Powerball tablets and Finish rinse aid which are both recommended for our dishwasher brand. The tablets have '5-15% oxygen-based bleaching agents' and I have no idea what's in the rinse aid as it is not specified on the label. I think labeling standards are different in Australia.

From reading all the posts in this thread, it seems that many of the people experiencing spotting also have stainless steel interiors on their dishwashers. Could this be the culprit? Many people have not commented on their dishwasher, and I wonder what percentage have stainless steel interiors.

Jason Ray
- Sydney, Australia
October 3, 2010

I just purchased a Reed & Barton set of silverware 18/0 from QVC. The silverware has not shipped yet, and I am already worried that it will rust. I have been reading that 18/10 is better to buy. Should I cancel this order and buy more expensive silverware? This is for everyday and I will be putting it in the dishwasher.

Joannie Turner
homemaker - Harrington Park, New Jersey USA
October 28, 2010

Hi, Joannie. It seems to be a recurring theme that these days there are not even any guarantees that 18/10 won't rust. Still, it's higher quality and less likely to rust than 18/0.


Ted Mooney,
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey

"My current Yamazaki set was made in China. Yamazaki also offers a set made in Japan that is very expensive."

I was concerned when I read this in a post on this thread because we have just ordered service for 12 in Yamazaki's Old Denmark pattern. So I called the company, and she said that most of the Yamazaki stainless steel flatware is made in Japan, including my pattern.

After reading this and other similar threads, I am seriously considering washing my new flatware by hand.

Sue Collins
- Hermosa Beach, California
November 8, 2010

Yikes, this is really not my day. As it turns out, at least according to Silver Superstore's site, only five of Yamazaki's stainless patterns, including mine, are made in Japan. Sorry for any confusion.

Sue Collins
- Hermosa Beach, California
November 8, 2010

I *might* have found the solution to this problem. Just bought a set of 18/0 stainless from Ginkgo. Love the pattern, but the spots made me crazy (there were several spots on every single piece), so I called Ginkgo and the girl told me to polish it with a good stainless polish and if that didn't do the trick they'd replace them. Of course, I'm thinking why replace them if the same thing's gonna happen, but I digress.

So I polished them all with Maas metal polish and ran them through the dishwasher. Much improved but still had some spots. So I polished them all *again*, and now ... no spots, even when I'm using the Walmart dishwashing powder and heated dry cycle.

So we'll see. If they start to spot again I'm returning them to Ginkgo. But I am hopeful.

Mary Thomas
- Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
December 16, 2010

I have had the same issues with my Flatware. I purchased it in the late summer of 2010. As much as I hate to hand wash them, I think I will do just that. This morning I resorted to the use of a green scour pad to remove the spots as nothing else was working. Not vinegar, Not baking Soda, Not Toothpaste with Baking Soda.. nothing. We have very hard water where I live and maybe that is the cause, but not sure. Regardless, I just finished trying my Stainless Steel Pot Cleaning powder and it removed it right off the bat.. wish I would have thought of that this morning before screwing up the finish on my knife handles. :( The powder is Lagostina brand .. if you can find it give it a try.

Katherine LeClaire
- Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
January 12, 2011

I also experienced frustration after moving into a new home with a new stainless steel Bosch dishwasher. My flatware is dull and tarnished looking and no matter how much I cut down on the amount of Cascade I use, I feel like it doesn't rinse well and we end up drinking it! I have just googled "why does my stainless flatware looked tarnished in my dishwasher" and am surprised to find hundreds of people are experiencing this issue when using Cascade! While we have all used it for many years with no problems, most of us were unaware that P&G has changed to a no phosphate formula that is wreaking havoc on our dishes! I urge you to check into the sites with complaints about Cascade before spending more cash on dishwasher repairmen and hours of time hand rubbing your stainless flatware!

Best of Luck!
V Geisler

vickie geisler
- RANCHO SANTA FE, California
March 6, 2011


My wife and I are contemplating getting a new dishwasher because ours has started not completely washing dishes on a consistent basis (like every time, now). However, since we bought it, we have had trouble continuously with rust spots and pitting on our SS flatware. A little background, when my wife and I lived in an apartment, we had no trouble with rust spots on our flatware, that was in 2 apartments over 4 years. Moving into our house, there was no dishwasher, so I put one in within a month or two of moving in. We still had dishwashing detergent left over from the apartment, so we started using that. Almost immediately, we had trouble with rust on SS flatware. That was over 10 years ago, now. Our DW was a middle of the road Kenmore, with an all plastic interior, except for the exposed heater (to answer one person's question as to whether this is strictly a SS DW phenom.). Figuring that the detergent was the same as the apartment, the DW could not really be to blame, since it was new, and the SS flatware was the same, I started my "attack" on the water side. Our neighbor indicated that iron was a problem with our well water (we share a well with a couple of our neighbors), so I experimented with sediment filters and with our water softener (increasing cycles, decreasing cycles, using only iron reducing salt, using Iron Out to clean and as an additive to our softener, replaced the softener, etc.). Not getting very far with the water side, we attacked the detergent side by experimenting with all kinds of detergent and amounts to use. To this day, nothing works consistently. Even when the DW does not clean other items completely, sometimes the flatware comes out perfect. Other times everything comes out perfect and I have to practically hand wash all the flatware due to rust spots.

I had come to the conclusion that it may just have been the DW all along, but seeing this thread seems to place that in doubt. I still have not ruled out that my water is not the problem and that I need a serious iron filter (though I don't see any other evidence of high iron, we had a leaky bath faucet for a long while and instead of a rusty brown spot, it would leave a green spot, indicating the water had more dissolved copper in it than iron).

Oh, yes, some other important info. The company that I worked for, while my wife and I lived in an apartment was in the same town and had the same water supply as our apartment. Why this is important is because I was involved with the chemical treatment of various HVAC equipment and the water was very hard. I did not have to worry about iron levels, so I don't know about the iron. We did not have a softener on our water supply in the two apartments, so the DW in the apartments used hard water.

So, now while we will be getting a new DW once we receive our tax refund, I am saddened to see that I will very likely still have to re-wash our flatware. I have seriously considered off and on for 10 years just hand washing. I guess that will have to be the way I go, unless I find the culprit.

Thanks to all for contributing to this thread.

Paul Probus
- Fredericksburg, Virginia, USA
March 7, 2011

I googled this question because I too have been getting rust spots on my steak knives. It isn't a dishwasher doing it because I've never had a dishwasher. But maybe it's the air drying, I will dry these knives after washing & see if that fixes it, after I try getting the rust spots off with toothpaste. I find it odd also because I've had these knives for about 5 years & never had the problem before & nothing has changed-same water, same dishsoap (Ivory, very gentle) etc. I guess the most reasonable explanation I can think of is it has taken this long for the knives to "pit".

Mary Marentette
- Kingsley Michigan USA
April 14, 2011

I don't have the answer as to why it happens but I used to have an issue with rusty knives. I think I read something some where about separating knives from other utensils in the dishwasher and your rust spots will be gone. Something about a reaction with the other utensils... Well, I tried it and I have been rust free for years! I keep all the butter knives in 1 compartment and steak & paring knives in another.
Sounds crazy, but it works for me so I thought I'd share.

Jennifer Fox
- Manchester, New Hampshire, US
May 25, 2011

My 18/8 stainless setting has knife blades that are also marked 18/8. The flatware is made by a European company which is a division of Towle. The blades have these black pits which when I try to buff them out grow bigger as if the pitting is worse on the interior of the blade. How does the stainless blade get black pits and how to restore or prevent this pitting. I hand wash these pieces and always have in dishwashing detergent only that I recall.

Jane Drake
collector and restorer - Salem, New York
May 31, 2011

I have read your discussion with interest. I have a set of very ancient flatware I got free with cereal over 35 years ago, which is in daily use and is washed in a dishwasher regularly. It has never pitted or spotted or rusted at all! All other equipment regardless of cost or stated grade, has shown occasional damage, some within days of purchase. They are all washed together. I have washed silver plate separately, without damage. I have used whatever powder was cheapest, and expensive kinds, rinse aid and salt with no notable differences! I agree the manufacturers should be asked to sort this out.

Lindsay Gutteridge
- Chesterfield Derbyshire England
July 13, 2011

I have found this to be a very interesting forum. I do not do much with flatware (i have my dads old wedding set and it works fine for me. Has never rusted, but I don't have a dishwasher. I do on the other hand work as a knife sharpener and see ALOT of pitted and rusted knives. The info about bleach is nice to know, but something that I do know will do it to a knife is leaving your knife in water with other metal. For instance leaving your knife in a glass of water with a fork. This will cause pitting. I wonder if it might also cause damage to your silverware if you are leaving it sitting in water for an extended amount of time. I tell my customers not to do it with their knives perhaps it could help you all. Also toothpaste works on silver jewelry as well, though so does spit and cigarette ash......

Harmonie Medlin
- Portland, Oregon USA
July 22, 2011

I've read about all the complaints regarding rust problems with new cutlery.
I ran a French Home shop for 6 years and got quite accustomed to these situations. The reason that new cutlery, especially knives appear to have rust spots is because the metal mix is slightly magnetic and attracts metal particles which are in the water which attach to the knives and rust leaving a stain. The rust usually is easily removed with a metal cleaner and does not damage the cutlery at all (it doesn't pit).
With time and use the magnetic effect wears off and all becomes hassle free.
It was also explained to me that if the metal mix is altered to stop the phenomenon happening then the knives are usually rendered useless as they wouldn't cut properly. The better the cutting properties, the higher the rust incidence. In fact they should not be washed in a dishwasher but hand-sponged and dried immediately.

Teriza Cas Tor
- Sliema, Malta
August 10, 2011

We have old Stainless flatware made in the USA I got from my parents. It never rusts. We bought Waterford (Carleton) flatware from Costco in October, 2010. They were made in China. The rust on the knives has gradually increased to the point they're not usable. I wrote Waterford about this & will post with their reply.

David Fincke
- Wilmington, Delaware USA
August 15, 2011

I own a set of Oneida Paul Revere pattern. I have had the set for 50 years. I have also bought additional pieces throughout the years. The new pieces rust the same as the old. This is my way of removing them. There is a product called Whink rust stain remover [on eBay or Amazon affil links] . Put a little on a Q-tip [affil links] and VERY GENTLY dab the rust spot. Rinse with water IMMEDIATELY. If necessary repeat process. You can find Whink at the grocer or hardware stores.READ THIS IT REALLY WORKS!! Remember to use very VERY CAREFULLY. DO THIS OVER A SINK SO YOU CAN RINSE IT QUICKLY.

- Naples, Florida, USA
October 7, 2011

I use a simple paste of Bon Ami [on eBay or Amazon affil links] (a very inexpensive non-abrasive polishing cleanser available at most supermarkets) that I rub on discolored areas with my fingers. The problem disappears almost immediately with next to no work.

Carla Garbin
- St Petersburg, Florida, USA
October 9, 2011

I am so glad that I found this thread. I had an Oneida set from a wedding gift and it rusted bad. Then I changed to Reed and Barton because my mother has had a set for 27 years and they are brand new looking. I experienced the rainbow effect as well and the company told me to turn off the heated drying. I did that and still I found some. It did decrease it, but with children who has time to hand dry dishes? THEN I read this blog and tried baking soda [in bulk on eBay or Amazon affil links] and it took everything off (it was only on the knives) and its never came back.

Meghan Hall
- Virginia Beach, Virginia, USA
October 10, 2011

Don't forget, this is STAIN LESS Steel, not NO STAIN Steel; it stains and gets rust spots no matter what (but the very good quality is much better and does stain much less). The brand name has little to do with the quality of the flatware, they all have their cheapest line--usually sold in sets in the housewares department--and their finest lines--sold open stock and generally in the China & Silver department--with varying degrees of quality in between (just as GM makes their finest Cadillac as well as their cheapest Chevrolet). Most stainless which is reasonably priced is going to give you problems, if it really bothers you go pick up some Christofle stainless, it will cost at least 100.00 for one 5 piece place setting for one person, but unless you are washing metals other than Stainless or aluminum in the dishwasher you are still going to get rust. Also, no question that the old stainless made in the USA is far superior in most every way to the garbage they make and sell today. Good luck.

Mary Allen
- Katy Texas USA
October 25, 2011

I was also going crazy with rust on my knives and silverware in my new dishwasher until I looked under the lower wash arm. All kinds of rust on the weld points! Warranty replaced the wash arm and one month later I now have rust on the new arm. Seems that the tub is stainless steel and the wash arm is a cheap tin that rusts! Contacted manufacturer and got no answer except to replace the part! Don't want to do that every month so I'm going back to the seller and see if they will exchange this for a different company's machine.

Ron Griffis
- Corpus Christi, Texas, USA
November 6, 2011

I have hard water and my silverware was not getting clean in the dishwasher, so I thought that if I soaked it in a diluted solution of CLR and water for a few minutes and then washed it, that would fix it, however, I got sidetracked, it soaked for a long time, the silverware turned a greenish color and then when I tried washing it, it's all rusty!!!

Alison Kibler
homemaker - Wellsboro, Pennsylvania
November 10, 2011

Regardless of whether you get 18/0 or 18/10 flatware, the knives are usually 13 or 13/0. This is because 13/0 can be hardened by heat treatment. The 18/0 or 18/10 is better for cosmetic reasons (shinier) but things like spoons or forks need not be as hard as a knife. However, this makes the knives more apt to "rust" spots. I have an 18/8 set and the knives get small rust spots on them that are easily wiped away. And by the way, there is really not difference between 18/8 or 18/10. It's all a selling point. The 8 and 10 represent nickel in the flatware, which is expensive, and give it it's shine. Never leave food on your utensils in the dishwasher. Rinse prior. Acidic foods cause rusting. Never use lemon in your dishwasher detergent as the acid eats away at the flatware. Never soak your utensils overnight in water as this causes rusting. If possible, remove the flatware after the last rinse cycle and dry by hand using soft cloth. Hot air drying will increase the probability of discoloration/corrosion. Heavily chlorinated/harsh dish washing detergents can harm flatware. Use detergents low in chlorine. Don't use Cascade as it is now "phosphate free" and causes filming or spotting. I have a set that has satin handles and scratching is much less noticeable on them. The utensils you find at places like Wal-Mart that are "bargains" are very likely 13/0 on all the pieces and will rust and scratch. Check the Chromium and nickel content on the box before purchasing. It should have it listed.

Pat Wright
- Lebanon, Pennsylvania, USA
December 9, 2011

Cameo Aluminum & Stainless Cleaner
on eBay or


(affil links)

I can't believe all the people out there who are having the same problems as me with rust on their stainless flatware. I have replaced three whole sets in the past nine years. This time I decided to "upgrade" and buy a more expensive set of Reed & Barton "Everyday". Well, I just got through scouring all the rust spots off (again) in preparing for the Christmas holiday. It's NOT just the's everything. I have found Cameo stainless cleaning powder [on eBay or Amazon affil links] to be very effective. Probably much like the Barkeepers Friend mentioned in earlier posts. I'm ready to dig out my (deceased) mother-in-law's flatware. The pattern is not my taste, but it never matter what type dishwasher powder or rinse aid I used.

Karen Rucker
- Midland, Texas, USA
December 20, 2011

We have had 16 settings of Oneida "Satin Sand Dune" stainless flatware for a few years. We bought them at Bed Bath & Beyond.

We have always had trouble with about half of the knives developing rust spots.

Today, I looked closely at the knives. The shiny ones have "Oneida®" printed on the blade and "Vietnam 9-06" on the side. The rusty ones have nothing on the blade and only "Vietnam" on the side.

We got a set of counterfeit knives! What the heck?

Bob Weissman
- Sunnyvale, California, USA
December 31, 2011

Hi, Bob.

It's not the consumer who gets to decide whether a product is counterfeit, it's the trademark holder. As long as the company which owns the trademark got the royalty/licensing fee they agreed to, it's not counterfeit regardless of how trashy it is.

So I would suggest contacting Oneida about whether they admit or deny that the lower quality product was authorized; and if it was authorized, demanding satisfactory replacements. If it wasn't authorized, give Bed, Bath & Beyond a chance to make good before turning them in.


Ted Mooney,
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey

To follow-up from my post a year ago. Still finding the rusty spots even after a new DW (top rated by Consumer Reports), but is considerably less*. *"Considerably less" when we use the Ajax dishwasher soap capsule or whatever those things are called. Even the top rated dishwasher soap brand by CR seems to bring out more rust spots than the Ajax. I am starting to think the problem is more with these water saving dishwashers than with anything. Per my previous post, the old dishwashers in our apartments did not have this problem, but the two we installed in our house have been water savers and we do see these problems.

Oh, and Teriza is dead flat wrong. There is clearly pitting going on with my SS flatware. And the magnetism wearing off. My flatware went from being fine and unpitted to becoming pitted and having rust spots when we moved from the apartment into the house. Somehow I doubt it suddenly became magnetic as soon as our flatware came into the house and after 14 years of owning the original set of flatware that I bought when I moved into my first apartment, what Teriza said about the magnetism wearing off should have happened by now and just today, I had to clean some rust off of some of the oldest flatware I own.

Again, since we bought the new DW, its gotten MUCH better and is much more consistent than our old dishwasher ever was, but the rust effect has not completely gone away and pitting still happens. As long as things stay the way they are, I can live with this. I could not live with having to re-wash every piece of flatware, which is what it was coming to with the old DW.

Paul Probus
- Fredericksburg, Virginia
February 25, 2012

After buying very expensive flatware and having the same problem, I've switched exclusively to paper plates and plastic flatware. When done, I just throw them all away. My dishwasher is used about twice a year now.

Let me know if any one finds a set of flatware that won't rust and I may switch back.



David Horne
- Huntington Beach, California, USA
March 18, 2012

I received Oneida stainless flatware as a wedding gift in 1980. Twenty five years later it did not have rust stains. I have now purchased two sets made in China. One was inexpensive (sort of) from Bed, Bath & Beyond. The other was top end from Villeroy and Boch. They told me that it was 18/10 and therefore would not rust or spot.

Nonetheless, the knives come out of the dishwasher looking terrible. Just like what I purchased at Bed Bath & Beyond. Our extremely expensive Korean washer is rusting away.

I am now committed to avoiding buying anything made in China or Korea. It's junk. Very expensive junk. Sadly we have come to expect to pay top dollar for junk while big corporations reap in obscene profits ripping us off.

Kathy Wiley
- Tampa, Florida
March 29, 2012

Hi, Kathy. I bought Mikasa "Incline" about 10 years ago; it was made in Korea, and is great, but things may have changed in Korea. This Christmas I bought Guy DeGrenne "Beau Manor", made in France, from Williams Sonoma -- it's 18/10 and so far it's been beautiful.


Ted Mooney,
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey
March 29, 2012

A. Several comments have noted the difference between knives and forks/spoons. Increasing the amount of (magnetic) improves the ability for the knives to hold an edge. This in my opinion is desirable. I believe what is causing the staining is when the knives are in contact with each other while wet. The stain is a sign of the corrosion of the major component of stainless steel ... iron. Try to separate your knives and do not let them sit in the dishwasher or sink when they are wet.

!! My problem is with a set of Towle Ultra (forged) that is marked 18/0 implying 18% chromium and 0% nickel. After less than a week of use, I sliced my thumb open while washing a spoon...upon inspection it appears the that they are not solid but mild steel with a chrome coating...the coating had become delaminated leaving a sharp sliver attached to the bowl of the spoon. I will be taking them back and contacting the company about false advertising.

Greg Dalton
- Sudbury, ON, Canada
May 3, 2015

Hi Greg. I don't doubt that you cut yourself, or that the spoon is defective ... but I seriously doubt that this flatware is marked 18/0 but is mild steel. If it is, it's surely forgery.


pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey
May 2015

Q. I have had more than a dozen dishwashers in my life of all different brands. A year ago I bought a Bosch with the third rack. My knives were coming out with rust spots plus I thought there seemed to be an awful lot of moisture in the dishwasher after the cycle stopped. My flatware is old, in fact I've had it 30 years and it wasn't new when I got it, and it was a mish-mash of different sets, and they never rusted before. So it can't be the age of the flatware. In fact I assumed that was the problem so I went out and bought new good quality flatware, and it's doing the same thing. I was using the same detergent too, so the only variable is the dishwasher, which is the first time I've had a Bosch and first time I've had a stainless steel interior. I'll try changing detergents back to loose powder, but I know for a fact I was using the packets prior to getting my new Bosch. I think it's the dishwasher.

I found that with my old flatware the knives did not rust in the bottom rack but did in the top. I just tried a test run with the new ones in both racks and they all had rust spots. It's got to be the dishwasher. I even opened it as soon as it was done to let it air dry, it didn't help. I'd be curious to know if the other people having this rust issue have a stainless interior, and what brands they are.

Jenny Stoltz
- Victoria, BC, Canada
July 4, 2015

A. There are likely a combination of events occurring that causes rusting. First and foremost, manufacturers are cutting back on the chromium content of flatware. Chromium forms a protective oxide that does not corrode or rust. Most of the problems will be with knives because they use a different composition of stainless steel that is harder than that used for forks, spoons, etc. Others have noted the difference using a magnet. The higher chromium stainless steels are non-magnetic.

If you look closely at the blade of your flatware knives you will often see the rust occurring in small pits, aka pitting corrosion. This is common with low grades of stainless steel. The pits themselves form little electrolytic cells (they actually set up an electrical current) and this further exacerbates the corrosion. A high polish on the flatware will help prevent pitting corrosion because small imperfections that start the electrolytic process are eliminated. If you have access to a buffing wheel and something like tripoli compound or rouge compound you can re-polish the blades and this will slow down the formation of new pits. Unfortunately the old pits are not removed and they can continue to stain.

Try a different dishwashing detergent. Some of these are quite aggressive in terms of their corrosion potential containing bleach and chlorine. Use a good rinse agent. The rinse agent will cause water to shed off the flatware and out of those pits prior to heating and drying and this will help prevent rusting (which likes a wet, damp environment.)

I've noticed several complaints involving Bosch dishwashers I too have one and it seems to create a more aggressive environment for corrosion to take place. My Bosch does not have the conventional heated dryers but relies on very hot water for the final rinse to preheat all the items. This is supposed to cause the remaining water to evaporate. Only it doesn't. Items can remain damp and the entire inside of the cabinet is like a steam sauna at the completion of the cycle. Remaining dampness and water under the high temperatures accelerates corrosion. As soon as the cycle is complete open the door (carefully, lest you get steamed in the face) and then remove the flatware holder and let the heated flatware dry rapidly in the room air.

Ron G.
Metallurgical Engineer

Ron Graham
- Salem, Oregon
August 10, 2015

A. I have well water. I bought Yamazaki's Old Denmark stainless steel flatware, and even at that price and quality the blades have the rust spots. I'll just hand wash the knives to keep them nice. But I'll keep watching for a solution.

Robin Church
- Spotsylvania, Virginia USA
September 21, 2015

thumbs down signI am having the same problem, and after reading everything posted, believe it is the stainless dishwasher. I just bought an expensive GE dishwasher with a third rack and a stainless interior, and the silverware I have had for ten years all started rusting. I used multiple detergents before with no problem, so I don't think it is the detergent. I cannot imagine that GE and the other companies don't realize this could be the culprit, but there is really just no other explanation that seems to fit what is going on.

I plan to let GE know.

Monica Rodriguez
- Parkland, Florida USA
February 25, 2016

A. Rust spots are from TDS total dissolved solids. I recommend a water quality check to see if your water should be drunk. These solids do not leave your body very well. They build up as stones or just accumulate in your joints and cause mysterious illnesses. Lupus, MS, MD. All unexplained problems many face. Test your water. My water softener needs to be reprogrammed. My flatware just rusted for First time. Been washing in dishwasher for a long time. Turn off sanitize time if you have it in your dishwasher and the minerals will not want to nano coat so easily to the dishes.

Douglas Davis
Trinity of life Church - Yerington, Nevada us
February 6, 2018

Q. I have had a set of Yamazaki flatware for about 40 years and have always washed them by hand and avoided the dishwasher. We are in the process of cutting back and now have only one set of flatware, that being my yamazaki made in Japan and 18/8. The knives don't have any numbers on them. I sure don't want my beautiful set to pit or rust so I'm wondering if it's safe to wash in the dishwasher. Joan

Joan Mathews
- Newtown Pennsylvania
April 29, 2018

A. Hi Joan. This thread alone has hundreds of opinions on that simple question :-(

Mine is that it will be fine. But they will eventually lose their luster and acquire thousands of very tiny scratches just from the additional less careful handling.


pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey

thumbs up sign  Thanks to everyone who posted, especially the experts. My old stainless never had a spot. The newer Lenox set never rusted till we moved and started using a dishwasher with a stainless lining. Now the Lenox has permanent pits that can't be scrubbed off. If I have to start washing the flatware by hand, I think I'll just get out the sterling that we usually use just for special occasions. Might as well enjoy it! At least now I know I'm not alone.

Lee Griffin
- East Lansing, Michigan, US
May 15, 2018

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