Tuesday, May 19, 2009

How To Keep Your Towle Stainless Steel Flatware Clean

By Jeff Derby

Stainless steel is essentially iron which has been infused with 10% or more chromium. It is good at resisting corrosion and rust through normal wear and tear but occasionally it will dull.

Stainless steel is well known for its durability and ability to stand up perfectly to everyday use. Chromium forms a hard oxide coating on the surface of flatware that makes it shine while protecting the steel on the inside. Over time and continued use along with use of dishwashing detergents this protective coating begins to wear off. Once the shell wears down the flatware will begin to lose its luster. This naturally happens to all flatware, though it should not happen for some time dependent upon the quality of the silver.

If your stainless steel flatware is still in good shape and fairly new there are a few things that can be done to clean it and restore some of the original shine. One way to remove ugly streaking is to use of soft towel and rub the flatware with olive oil. You can also use a soft cloth and vinegar to shine and polish stainless steel flatware. If you don't have any vinegar, you can use club soda instead.

It is best to rinse off any acidic or salty foods from your Towle stainless steel flatware before placing it in the dishwasher. Sometimes utensils are put in the dishwasher and not washed for three or more days. Leaving the flatware unwashed for this extended length of time will quickly dull your flatware. Another thing to remember is the fact that using harsh detergents and chemicals to clean stubborn foods can damage flatware and result is dark spots.

If you want to take the time to properly care for your stainless steel flatware then washing by hand is the way to go. Simply clean the items with warm water and a gentle detergent and immediately dry the flatware by hand. Letting them drip dry will cause spotting and streaking. If a haze or blur occurs over time, a gentle silver polish can sometimes be used to remove this.

Remember to remove salty and acidic foods promptly since they are more corrosive to stainless steel than other foods. Never use steel wool or harsh abrasives on stainless steel since this will scratch the surface, causing additional problems.

How to clean dull stainless steel flatware

Required items: Large bowl for mixing ingredients and soaking items Non gel toothpaste Rubber gloves Lint free soft cloths Bleach Water Paper towels Ammonia cup measuring cup Calgon water softener Silver Polish Stainless steel cleaner: 1 gallon very hot water, 1/4 cup chlorine bleach, 1/4 cup Calgon water softener

Caution: Use only on stainless steel, never use on real silver!

Mix 1/4 cup chlorine bleach, 1/4 cup Calgon water softener, and 1 gallon of hot water. You can mix this in the sink or in any non-aluminum container. Immerse the stainless steel flatware in the solution for 30 minutes and then wash as usual, whether this be the dishwasher or by hand with dishwashing soap. For really tough spots, use a little non-gel toothpaste, or one part silver polish mixed with one part ammonia. Apply with a soft cloth, rinse and dry.

Tip: Do this only when the stainless really needs it, when it has that blue tint, probably every couple of months.

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