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Caring for stainless steel

Stainless Steel Baby Dishes

Stainless steel children's dishes and cutlery are a wonderful alternative to plastic dish sets on the market, and a much safer alternative for your little ones. Apprehensions about plastic are skyrocketing with more and more parents becoming aware of the inherent dangers that plastic dinnerware pose on our young ones. Concerns about the chemicals found in plastics and the related health risks are serious, and many parents are vowing to rid plastic from the lives of their children to the best of their ability. We have numerous reusable options in baby dishes and cutlery, and we are providing this care article so that you can get the most out of your items. With proper care, they should last a very long time!

Stainless Steel Baby Dishes

Stainless steel children's dishes and cutlery are a wonderful alternative to plastic dish sets on the market, and a much safer alternative for your little ones. Apprehensions about plastic are skyrocketing with more and more parents becoming aware of the inherent dangers that plastic dinnerware pose on our young ones. Concerns about the chemicals found in plastics and the related health risks are serious, and many parents are vowing to rid plastic from the lives of their children to the best of their ability. We have numerous reusable options in baby dishes and cutlery, and we are providing this care article so that you can get the most out of your items. With proper care, they should last a very long time!

Stainless Steel Baby Dishes

Care and Tips for Stainless Steel Dishes

Prompted by repeated queries on this topic, here’s a brief overview of the most important points with regards to the care and protection of your stainless steel baby dishes.

Stainless steel is a steel to which chrome has been added for rust resistance and often nickel for acid resistance. Most metal alloys used in cutlery or dinnerware make it ‘stain-resistant’. Stainless steel does not stain, corrode or rust as easily as ordinary steel (it "stains less"), but it is not stain or rust proof.

While stainless steel has excellent corrosion resistance, there are many factors that might cause damage to the surface of your new dinnerware, causing it to rust, pit or look worn over time. The hints below can help you minimize this risk.

  • Hand wash stainless steel dinnerware. Most of our products are NOT dishwasher or microwave safe. Some exceptions may apply, but in general, for longer lasting items, hand-washing is recommended.
  • DO NOT use harsh detergents or cleansers containing chlorine bleach.
  • Don’t leave acidic and salty food remnants on dishes. They can stain it, so rinse the pieces off before you put them in the sink, especially if you don’t wash them immediately.
  • Don’t store dirty dishes in your sink for days. Washing immediately is recommenced.
  • Don’t leave washed and/or wet dishes in the sink overnight. Wipe it dry straight after washing.
  • Don’t over pack the cutlery basket. Use a grid, if possible, so items don’t touch each other. It’s particularly important that stainless steel and silver-plated or copper items don’t come in contact, as the chemical reaction with hot water and some dishwashing detergents can cause discoloration.
  • Don’t pour dishwasher detergent directly onto dishes (stainless steel can pit within minutes!).
  • Don’t soak dishes for long periods in soapy water, bleach solutions or salt water.
  • Don’t use abrasive cleaning aids! Stains such as water marks can generally be wiped off easily from dishes, and for more persistent rust stains, use a non-abrasive metal cleaning paste or liquid (for stainless steel, not a silver cleaner), if necessary. For rainbow-like stains, use lemon juice.
  • Hard water can easily penetrate stainless steel, causing pitting or rust to develop. If you know you have hard water, following these simply washing instructions is even more important!

My new Stainless Steel Baby Cutlery has black marks! Is this normal?

Our children's cutlery is made in Korea, manufactured by the world’s largest marketers of stainless steel silverware/flatware. The highest quality stainless steel is manufactured overseas. This grade of Stainless Steel is 304, medical grade and is 18/8. This grade is the same used in all high end pots/pans and flatware across the nation.

The black spots you are seeing are from the manufacturing process, and it is black oxide. Stainless steels are iron alloys with a percentage of chromium content. The steels are termed 'stainless' as chromium-rich, oxide film forms naturally on the surface of the steel. It is this protective film, which makes the stainless steel resistant to corrosion. 18/8 is an "authentic" stainless steel type, and is one of the most commonly used. It contains 18% chromium, and the addition of 8% nickel makes it considerably more durable.

Hand wash the cutlery before use in warm soapy water to remove the excess black oxide, which may remain. The oxide can be present for up to a possible 10 washes. Continuous washing will eventually remove the oxidized finish, therefore the cutlery need only be washed a few times to remove the black residue. Always towel dry thoroughly before storing, as this will remove excess water which may remain from the washing and which may cause oxidization to occur again.

All flatware meets or exceeds the FDA standards and equivalent Canadian standards for safety. There is no harm in using the cutlery with this finish present as it is a naturally occurring process on metal.

Why does rust form on Stainless Steel?

Stainless steel does not "rust" as long as the protective layer of chromium oxide is able to remain on the surface. Any contamination of the surface by dirt or other material hinders this the protective layer and traps corrosive agents, reducing the corrosion protection and resulting in rust.

Improper cleaning of your stainless steel is the most common cause of rust formation. This could include not removing all the dirt or debris from your stainless steel, not thoroughly rinsing your stainless steel after washing, leaving some soap scum or residue behind, and not thoroughly drying your stainless steel, allowing the iron in your water to react with the oxygen in the air leaving spots behind. In the last instance, it is your water that is rusty not your stainless steel (usually the case with hard water!).

Stainless Steel Baby Cutlery

The kitchen is an ideal place for rust to form; that is one of the reasons many kitchens feature stainless steel appliances, pans, and utensils. However, there are some items in the kitchen that are not made of stainless steel. For example, a rust stain may be left behind in a stainless steel sink by a cast iron pan. By leaving a wet cast iron or steel pan in contact with a stainless steel sink, the ideal conditions are created for the pan to rust and stain the sink. While stainless steel itself rarely rusts, it is susceptible to rust staining by other objects found in the kitchen.

HELP! I've got rust - what do I do now?

Any of the numerous household stainless steel cleaners available on the market can be used to remove rust from your stainless steel dishes. It is recommended that you visit your local kitchen shop to find one that is specifically produced for kitchen stainless steel products.

It is recommended that you wash all our stainless steel products by hand using a mild dishwashing soap and water. After washing, rinse with water and dry thoroughly with a towel. This will ensure the preservation of your dishes during the time your child is using them.

Stainless Steel Baby Dishes

Stainless Steel Baby Dishes - a safer choice for baby!

In her groundbreaking book about endocrine disrupters, Theo Colborn, author of the Our Stolen Future, writes about the harms of BPA on the reproductive organs of mice and rats, and how this problem chemical can bring about changes in tissue that resemble the early-stage breast cancer, among other effects. She maintains that the most at risk individuals are people with "developing endocrine systems": pregnant women and newborns, followed closely by young children and women who might get pregnant.

Reducing plastic in your families lives doesn't need to be difficult. Looking for more stainless steel products, or plastic alternatives? Check out the following healthier options for baby!

Being both a mother and business-owner I have made it my mission to educate and advocate against our “disposable” way of living and urge parents to consider alternatives for our most precious beings. You’ll find this, and more, at Parenting By Nature.

Sincerely,

Tamara Champion, CEO
Parenting By Nature, Inc.