Stainless steel is the most popular material choice for cutlery, and while it is stain resistant it is not stain proof so there are a few things to remember when cleaning your stainless steel cutlery to keep it looking its best. When using stainless steel cutlery always rinse or wash it after use. Prolonged contact with salt, vinegar, egg, tomato sauce, acidic fruits, detergents or some of the mineral salts in tap water can cause pitting and staining.
Take extra care with knives, as the blades have a higher carbon content, which creates a sharper cutting edge- however this also makes them more prone to corrosion. Never leave stainless steel cutlery to soak or store it in damp conditions, as this may cause staining and will require polishing. After time, the shine can begin to fade on stainless steel cutlery, to restore the shine use stainless steel polish.
Be extra careful when caring for sterling silver cutlery, as silver is a soft metal which scratches easily, but with proper care overtime it develops a beautiful sheen. Always wash separately from stainless steel cutlery as any contact while wet can result in a chemical reaction that can damage the silver. Use a silver dip or a silver polish to clean tarnished silver, and make sure you use a silver cloth.
Stainless steel and silver cutlery are normally suitable for machine washing, but it is advisable to rinse off any acidic food before loading to prevent any corrosion. Always remove and hand-dry the cutlery as soon as the wash cycle has finished, as cutlery left in a damp atmosphere can become stained or damaged, and never mix silver-plated and stainless steel items in the same cycle.
When hand washing your cutlery use washing up liquid, not powder. Do not use wire wool or abrasive cleaners, and never leave cutlery to soak. Hand washing silver cutlery is preferable and ideally they should be washed using a mild detergent. Stainless steel cutlery is more resistant to staining and other blemishes but where they need a quick pick me up, stainless steel cleaners can be used.