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FAQ: I have rust spots forming on my stainless. What do I do?

Stainless steel does not "rust" as we commonly think of it, with red oxide flakes that peel off. It holds up very well against the hot water in your dishwasher, but it's the other stuff in your dishwasher that can cause these orange spots.

Too much detergent
Most detergents contain chlorides, which should be avoided, but nearly all of the detergents sold in stores contain them. You can reduce the problem by not using too much of it.

Other particles
The dishwasher isn't a sterile environment; it's quite a dirty one, with a variety of mineral deposits that can include calcium, magnesium, iron, aluminum, and manganese. In the high temperatures of the dishwasher, these particles can react with the steel. If you see the orange spots, it's probably due to iron particles that have contaminated the surface of the stainless steel, and the particles are rusting (not the steel). 85% of homes in the US have hard water in their homes, which include these mineral deposits, so you're not alone!

Usually on the knives
You've probably noticed that most of the spots seem to be appearing on the knife blades. Many of the finer stainless steel patterns use a carbon steel alloy for the blade (not stainless steel). The upside is that you get a sharper blade with superior cutting performance, but the downside is that they react more easily to iron particles at high temperatures and high humidity.

There are a few things you can do to minimize these spots:
  1) Presoak in a chlorine-free solution for 10-15min. Pre-soak in plastic or stainless steel pans rather than aluminum pans as they may cause discoloration
  2) Avoid soaking your flatware for long periods of time, or overnight
  3) Rinse foods from the flatware, especially those with high salt content like butter
  4) Keep your knives separated in their own basket, with blades pointed down
  5) Try a little less detergent, and avoid ones with lemon or chlorides if possible
  6) Use a silver polish or stainless steel polish to remove spots
  7) In areas with Hard Water it is recommended to use a softener to avoid minerals leaving water spots or damage

Next Question: Why can't I get individual pieces in my pattern?

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