Washing Your Stainless Steel Flatware

Smart Dishwasher Tips For Keeping Your Stainless Steel Flatware Looking Chic and Shiny

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For something we depend on so regularly, there is surprisingly little information available about effectively using a dishwasher! A little knowledge can make all the difference between having gorgeous stainless steel flatware and spending hours scrubbing intricate flatware patterns over the sink.

How many times have you broken a nail trying to scratch off that little “bit-o-mystery” sticking to that supposedly clean bowl or stainless steel flatware? How often have you needed to drag out your scrub brush to get debris out of intricate flatware patterns? How often have you rushed to set the table for guests’ timely arrival, only to find dark spots on your stainless steel flatware or a bit of this morning’s eggs decorating your intricate flatware patterns?

Your dishwasher may be responsible, but it’s likely the way you are loading it!

Dishwashers are a great convenience. Intricate flatware patterns come out sparkling clean without effort and stainless steel flatware shines brighter than silver–but only if they are used correctly.

 

Spots on Stainless Steel Flatware

In 1913, Harry Brearly, an English metallurgist, accidentally concocted a metal mixture which has revolutionized our everyday life. He was working on a project to improve rifle barrels but discovered that adding chromium to low carbon steel gives it stain resistance, thus giving birth to “stainless steel”. Chromium in the steel combines with oxygen in the atmosphere to form a thin, invisible layer of chrome-containing oxide called passive film. If the passive film is scratched or disrupted, oxide will form and recover the surface, preventing corrosion.

Stainless steel is used in almost anything from bridges, monuments and sculptures (some examples include the Unisphere in New York and the Cloud Gate at Chicago), automotive bodies, passenger rail cars, aircraft, jewelry, etc. Most of all, stainless steel has been introduced to homes across the world due to the invention of stainless steel flatware.

Despite the moniker of being “stainless”, our flatware isn’t actually stain-proof. Passive film requires oxygen to repair, so those that have been kept in low-oxygen areas or exposed to certain chemicals can have “spots”. Knowing some tips and tricks on stainless steel flatware maintenance will help restore your cutlery’s immaculate glory.

 

Care During First Time Use

  • When using stainless steel flatware for the first time, hand wash it thoroughly in hot water using mild soap or detergent. It’s important to use hot or warm water because  it will remove all soap residues which cause cutlery to dull. After rinsing, dry the silverware using a towel as air-drying them would often lead to spots.

 

Care During Everyday Use

  • Caring for your silverware during everyday use entails avoiding use for food that have high acid content such as tea, coffee, mayonnaise, tomato sauce, and citrus fruits.
  • It’s also advisable to rinse cutlery immediately after use as stuck food particles can cause corrosion.
  • When using a dishwasher, remember to load fork and spoons with their handles down, and avoid mixing stainless steel flatware with tableware made out of a different metal type in the same compartment or load.
  • Never ever soak flatware overnight! Oxygen levels in water are low which lead to the breakdown of oxides that create protective corrosion layers.
  • Do not pour detergent or soap directly on your flatware. It’s best to discharge it unto a sponge and use that to scrub their surfaces.
  • Do not allow your cutlery to overheat. For example, leaving it on a hot burner or using it to stir boiling food.
  • Avoid using steel wool to scrub stains from your stainless steel cutlery; because it can damage the surface and finish of the flatware.
  • Cleaners containing lemon or orange additives can also cause corrosion.
  • Do not use alcohol or oven cleaners to scrub difficult stains.

 

How do I remove stains or spots in my cutlery?

If prevention isn’t enough and you still find stubborn stains on your flatware, there are several hacks which you can keep in mind in order to restore their spotless glow.

 

1)     Go the olive oil and washcloth route. To begin, clean the surface with non-abrasive soap, or baking soda and water. Then, apply olive oil to a washcloth and use this to wipe surface stains. Wipe excess oil with a clean, dry rag or a paper towel. This will also give it a little shine.

2)     Use undiluted white vinegar. Some people swear by this method even though white vinegar has a funky smell. This is especially effective if your flatware stains are caused by heat.

3)     The aluminum foil method. With this method, you’ll need a large skillet, aluminum foil, and water. First, place a large sheet of aluminum foil on the base of a large skillet. Fill the ¾ with hot water and add a teaspoon of salt and baking soda. Slide the cutlery in and let the water boil for 5 minutes. Then, turn off the heat and allow the water to cool before removing the stainless steel cutlery. Rinse each piece with warm tap water and towel dry with a clean cloth. Voila! Clean cutlery!

4)     Use a rust-fighting product with oxalic acid. But only use this as a last resort! This solution should only be attempted under dire circumstances because oxalic acid is a strong chemical solution.

 

Check out The Escape Place ebay store for great collection of stainless steel silver.

These are our Oneida Collection Stainless Steel Silverware. You may click on each picture to check out the item.

Oneida Arbor Rose Spoons       Oneida Dinner KnifeOneida Cherbourg Dinner Knives       Oneida Cherbourg Pattern Salad Forks

Stainless Flatware: The Importance of 18/10 VS 18/0

When you’re in the market for stainless steel flatware, you might come across terms such as “18/10 Stainless Steel”, “18/0 Stainless Steel” or in some cases, “18/8 Stainless Steel”.  But what do they all really mean? Is it the quality of the steel? The way it was made? Or maybe, some fancy gimmick to justify one set being more expensive than the other, even though it doesn’t look any better than the cheaper one? Let’s find out.

Flatware Stainless Steel

Stainless steel used on flatware will have different compositions depending on their applications.  But the main ingredients are Chromium and Nickel which add to its corrosion resistance.  Chromium is a hard substance, and is essentially used as a hardener.  Nickel is a silvery metal that doesn’t easily corrode and thus is used to enhance corrosion resistance.  Technically, a higher content of each will be more resilient to pitting and rusting, making them easy to maintain.  Too much Chromium content, however, will result in brittleness which will be unpractical for everyday use.

The Numbers and What They Are

18/10 or 18/0 is simply a numerical representation of how much chromium and nickel the stainless steel has in a particular set.

  • 18/10 – 18% Chromium and 10% Nickel
  • 18/0 – 18% Chromium and 0% Nickel

In general, since most flatware will have the same 18% Chromium; the higher the Nickel content, the more resistant it is to corrosion.  However, it is important to note that Nickel is quite expensive which means that sets with high nickel content will cost more as well.

Understanding what they mean

Aside from corrosion resistance, 18/10 and 18/0 stainless steel can differ in appearance and of course, as mentioned earlier, price.  18/10 stainless steel will have more luster than its little brother, the 18/0.  It will also be more durable and will likely be more capable to withstand daily use.  On the other hand, because it has more Nickel content (which is expensive), these sets will generally cost more than those made with 18/0 stainless steel.  18/10 stainless steel flatware will be heavier, more balanced, and have a better “feel” than their 18/0 counterparts.

Although 18/10 is the hands down winner, 18/0 stainless steel isn’t as bad as one might think.  They’re relatively strong and inexpensive.  They may not be as corrosion resistant or as durable as their big brother, the 18/10; but, with a little extra care and common sense, they will last a long time serving their purpose.

There you have it.  These are basically what you need to know about 18/10 and 18/0 stainless steel flatware.  The next time you check out flatware sets, you should know what to look for.  If you really want quality craftsmanship that is durable, that has a good feel and overall appearance, but without minding the extra expense; go for 18/10 Stainless Steel.  However, if your definition of what practical is includes price, don’t be afraid to look at 18/0 stainless steel sets.  Just remember to trust your instincts.  Read the label.  Ask somebody to open them up and try to have a feel of it in your hand.  You will come across items that claim they are what they are not.  Keep in mind that if it’s too good to be true, it probably is.

Check out our Oneida Stainless Steel Flatware.

History of Stainless Steel Cutlery

You have got to love man’s ingenuity. The flatware that we know and love weren’t always so pretty or easy to use. In fact, utensils weren’t even made of the same material eons back.

eons-back

 

The first tools that man used were actually natural hollow objects and sharpened stone or bone. In the Stone Age, knives made of bone or stone were used to hunt as well as cut through meat and produce, while hollow objects like shells were used for liquids. Fast forward to the Anglo-Saxons, and they were able to develop spoons which came from the word “spon”, meaning a chip of wood. As you might have figured by now, early spoons were originally carved from wood.

wood-carved

In Middle Age Europe, knives and spoons were considered to be personal property, and were carried even to inns. This was because utensils were more for show of status, as opposed to practicality. In those times, only the wealthy were able to provide guests with utensils, where guests were to use two knives. Everybody else during that time had to bring their own knives everywhere as it was expected of them to provide their own cutlery.

cutlery

It was only during the Renaissance that cuisine and cutlery began to evolve. Food started to become a means of pleasure as opposed to simply nourishment. This was mostly due to the influence of the Orient. Forks were introduced, and cutlery became an art form. Utensils started to become more decorative, and crafting them had become an art form. Silver was now being used to create utensils, and knives became lighter and more rounded (thanks to the fork which took over the job of piercing food). From this point on, cutlery ceased to be merely a tool for eating, but also a tool for social gatherings. In the later centuries, every household had knives, spoons, and forks, in sets to offer to guests. This is where tongs, teaspoons, and other silverware were introduced to the world.

silverware

As innovative as man was, it was only during the 1900’s that stainless steel was patented and manufactured. Stainless steel is an alloy or chromium, nickel, and iron that comes in several grades, with 18/10 (in favor of chrome) being the highest quality. Because of its rust proof and stain resistant qualities (with the addition of its luster and shine due to the percentage of nickel), it became the material of choice for the common folk’s flatware. It’s low maintenance, cost effective.

On that note, “Good job, ancestors!” Can you imagine needing to make your own utensils, and carrying them around just to make sure you’re able to eat at ease?

What is one utensil that you can’t live without? Sound off in the comments below! You may also check out our ebay store: http://www.ebay.com/usr/theescapeplace

Reed-Barton

Reed & Barton Oval Place Spoon 1800 Pattern Stainless Steel

Silver-Salad-Fork

Silver Salad Fork San Marcos Pattern Stainless Steel

Dinner-Forks-Stainless-Steel

 Dinner Forks Hotel Pattern Stainless Steel