I’m going to let you in on a secret. There’s a reason stainless steel is called stain LESS and not stain FREE. Despite its name, stainless steel can rust if not cared for properly. That’s because its base metal contains iron. Over time, the object’s protective chromium topcoat can wear down, allowing oxygen and water to reach the iron, which results in rust.
18/10 means that the flatware is 18% chromium and 10% nickel. The higher the ratio of nickel, the more protection your flatware has from corrosion. 18/0 flatware contains no nickel and is very light weight.
Stainless flatware that is 18/10 is usually more expensive than 18/8 or 18/0, but the quality is evident and very noticeable in feel and look.
The additional weight of this stainless flatware also helps to balance the flatware, so it makes for very nice handling, as well as adds a lot of elegance to the dinner table.
Caring for Stainless Flatware
To keep prevent rust from happening to your stainless steel flatware, follow these tips.
To prevent future rust stains, do not soak stainless steel silverware in water or allow it to sit in salty food residue. Rinse silverware thoroughly before placing it in the dishwasher, or hand wash and promptly dry the flatware.
Separate Your Knives
When washing stainless steel knives in the dishwasher, keep them separate from other utensils. Place them point down in their own area of the silverware basket. It also is wise to remove stainless steel flatware promptly when the dishwasher has finished to prevent the stainless from being exposed to the hot and humid dishwasher drying cycle.
Use Less Detergent
Try putting a little less detergent in your dishwasher when washing stainless steel utensils. Choose dishwasher detergents free of both lemon and chlorides.
When you notice stainless steel silverware becoming dull, give it a quick polish with stainless steel polish. This doesn’t take long but cleans and adds a protective layer that helps prevent rust spots.
Removing Rust from Stainless Flatware
Fortunately, unsightly rust spots can be removed and here are my top tips.
Bar Keepers Friend
Nonabrasive commercial cleaning powders are excellent for removing rust stains from stainless steel flatware. Simply sprinkle some onto a damp sponge or soft plastic scouring pad and scrub the silverware with it, rinsing when you are finished. Bar Keepers Friend works particularly well on rusty flatware.
Pour some white vinegar onto a sponge or dish towel and wash the silverware in it for a rust-free shine. Thoroughly rinse the silverware when you are done.
There are two ways to remove rust with baking soda. The first is to create a paste. Mix one part baking soda to three parts water. Rub the paste onto the rust stains to remove them. If the stains are bad, apply the paste and let it sit for 15 or 30 minutes before wiping it away with a damp cloth. You also may make a paste that is equal parts baking soda and lemon juice. Use this paste the same way you would the baking soda and water mixture.
Bar Keepers Friend is one of my best kitchen friends, and is also great for removing flatware marks that are left behind on your plates!