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Old 11-26-2007, 07:46 PM   #1
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Stainless steel question

Why is it that whenever I obtain something that claims it is "stainless steel" it ends up getting rusty? This has happened many times including a nice set of knives I got for Christmas one year. Am I missing somehing in the care? Am I doing something wrong with them like washing them in the dishwasher?

Any advice would be appreciated

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Old 11-26-2007, 09:40 PM   #2
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stainless should not rust. 18/10 stainless shoul dstand up to the dishwasher ok. Stainless may turn blueish here and there from alkalai and heat. Salt can pit it (small white dots) but it still cooks and cleans fine. Barkeepers friend should help restore it, as will Sheila Shine.

My guess is the quality of the stainless is a problem. The good stuff is not cheap. Or you have VERY HARD water.
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Old 11-26-2007, 09:51 PM   #3
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Never had that experience, jen. I've never had stainless steel rust. Maybe your pieces weren't 100% stainless steel. I'm not a scientist so that's my best guess.
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Old 11-26-2007, 10:37 PM   #4
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I've had that happen with some OXO stuff. I complained and they told me that while it was SS it not rust free.....
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Old 11-26-2007, 10:48 PM   #5
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There is no such thing as truly stainless steel. All steel will rust if neglected. The manufacturing definition of "stainless steel" is that it must contain a minimum of 13% FREE chromium. Free means that which has not combined with other ingredients. That's it.

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Old 11-26-2007, 10:59 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by buzzard767 View Post
There is no such thing as truly stainless steel. All steel will rust if neglected. The manufacturing definition of "stainless steel" is that it must contain a minimum of 13% FREE chromium. Free means that which has not combined with other ingredients. That's it.

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In general, SS kitchen implements are rust-free in normal use (utensils, flatware, pots and pans) even after repeated runs through the dishwasher (not for knives).

I bought two OXO spreaders (for spreading mayo onto bread) and they were covered with rust spots after one trip through the DW.

Given current metallurgical knowledge, I didn't/don't think it's unreasonable to expect stainless steel to be stainless.
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Old 11-26-2007, 11:03 PM   #7
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Given current metallurgical knowledge, I didn't/don't think it's unreasonable to expect stainless steel to be stainless.
Sorry Andy. I'll be politically correct and not say you're wrong but will instead say I humbly disagree. No steel is truly stainless. Period. You want stainless -- get pure gold.

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Old 11-26-2007, 11:07 PM   #8
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I'm not argueing your statement. My reporting of the OXO tools supports that. I am applying my direct observation of SS kitchen tools that look like new after 10 or more years of use and regular trips through the DW. These things may not be truely stainless but they aren't stained yet. Maybe in a few more years...
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Old 11-26-2007, 11:18 PM   #9
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I'm not argueing your statement. My reporting of the OXO tools supports that. I am applying my direct observation of SS kitchen tools that look like new after 10 or more years of use and regular trips through the DW. These things may not be truely stainless but they aren't stained yet. Maybe in a few more years...
I'm with you on that Andy. Remember all I said was there is no such animal as true stainless steel. Given reasonable care, 13%+ chromium will shine for decades. However, neglected, a price will eventually be paid. Chromium acts as a protectorant, like applying vasiline to a carbon blade that won't be used for a few months. The carbide particles that are not either combined with, or protected by, chromium, will rust.

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Old 11-27-2007, 12:06 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by buzzard767 View Post
Sorry Andy. I'll be politically correct and not say you're wrong but will instead say I humbly disagree. No steel is truly stainless. Period. You want stainless -- get pure gold.

Buzz
Buzzard767. You seem to have a penchant for arguing. So let me add my two cents to Andy's. Though you are technically correct, and no steel is impervious to rust, there are varieties of stainless steel that are highly rust resistant. For instance, there a numerous brands of diving knives designed to resist rust in highly corrosive salt water. There are stainless steels that are used in critical applications, such as potable water tanks, and tubing on sea-going ships, etc. Stainless steel also resists staining due to contact with foreign agents.

Of course there are a host of factors that determine just how tough, and resistant stainless steel pots, appliences, tools, knives, etc. are. There are also variations in Rockwell Hardness, maleability, elasticity, tensile and shear strength, shock resistance, and a whole battery of other properties.

All that being said, most stainless steel products can take a fair amount of abuse and still resist corrosion, chipping, breaking, etc. If a particular brand tends to rust after one machine washing, I'd say use a different brand that has higher quality steel.

And if you really want to be free from corrosion (and yes, if exposed to the right acid, even gold corrodes), use ceramics, or titanium tools. But then you will have to settle for tools more brittle than the steel counterparts, in the case of ceramics, or knives that are impossibly difficult to sharpen, and that won't hold an edge in the case of titanium. But they are both corrosion proof, period.

And that's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

Seeeeeeya; Goodweed of the North
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