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Jan 2, 2011 11:08 AM

What should I know about stainless flatware

My old stainless flatware, Easton by Oneida, has become worn and I have lost pieces after the roughly 15 years I have owned it. I am pretty happy with its service, but I am ready for a new pattern. I found an online retailer, that has very extensive offerings and what seem to be good prices.

I understand that stainless flatware can be 18/0, 18/8 or 18/10, with the last ratio being the hardest. Does anyone who has 18/0 or 18/8 stainless flatware have probs with these metal blends? I can't help noticing that Henckels and Cuisinart carry lower priced sets and place settings. How do they do that? Is the quality that low?

I am interested in good stuff at a good price. I would like to hear from anyone who had good knowledge along these lines. And if you've bought from onlinestainless, I'd like to hear from you too!

Thanks in advance.

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  1. 18/10 means 18% chromium and 10% nickel. The 18% chromium is what makes stainless steel - stainless. Without chromium, the steel can oxidize and rust. I don't know if the nickel is supposed to make the flatware hard. My understanding is that the primary purpose for nickel is to make the stainless steel bright and shiny and maybe even a bit more stainless. If anything high nickel actually makes the steel soft, not harder. A good example is the knife. Even when you buy a 18/10 stainless steel flatware set, the blade of the knife is not 18/10 because that would make the knife blade too soft for cutting. Try this. Get a refrigator magnet, and test your 18/10 Oneida flatware. What you will probably find is that most of the flatware are nonmagnetic, except the knife blades. I am guessing your knife blades response to the magnet.

    18/0 stainless steel is the cheapest and 18/8 is in the middle. Any stainless steel flatware you find in Walmart or K-Mart is likely to be 18/0.

    In term of just pure functionality, they all work fine really. I have cheap 18/0 flatware from Walmart and Target and I have 18/10 Oneida Stiletto and they all work. Yes, the cheap flatware from Walmart and Target seem to be a bit easier to blend, but that is because they are much thinner. The 18/0 fork is less than half as thick as the 18/10 fork, maybe only a-third as thick. So I don't believe it is the grade of the metal makes it soft.

    1. Look at I got a very nice set of Hampton Forge 18/10 last year. I don't see the exact set I got, but some similar ones. They also have some nice Oneida, Villeroy & Bach, and others.

      1. George Jensen makes superb ss flatware. I've had mine for 30 years, use it daily, have never gotten bored with the style & the lasting-quality is unimpeachable. It is expensive but imo completely worth every penny.

        3 Replies
        1. re: fauchon

          Georg Jensen stuff looks wonderful, but I think it is more than I want to pay. I need around 8 place settings plus serving pieces. If you know of an Georg Jensen outlet. . .

          1. re: sueatmo

            An outlet? I wish...

            But try ebay + estate sales...

            OTOH if you only "think" it's more than want to pay, maybe you could start with 4 settings, then add as you go along. I don't think you'll regret your purchase. I certainly haven't & if my GJ ss should somehow disappear, I'd replace it in a heartbeat & use the "go slow & gradual" approach. It was MUCH cheaper when I bought it so many years ago but those days are gone...

            1. re: sueatmo

              Its math. If the set lasts 30+ without rusting or getting bored, at euros 290, 16 piece set (4 servings) equals 9.67 euros per year for a high quality elegant set. Double that and it is 20/year. Not bad at all, especially when most things are made in China now and are not the quality we are paying for….replacements regularly.

          2. Maybe someone can fill in the details of what happened to me? I'm horrible at chemistry and reactions with steel and soap and whatever.

            When I tried to get by on cheap flatware, like $20-25 for four place settings, it got rust stains out of the dishwasher. The worst was in between the serrated ridges of the knives, they took forever to get out. But they'd get random stains on the handle or something too.

            I got fed up and threw that set out. I've since upgraded to Oneida's Juilliard and have no stains at all, even when I leave them wet in the sink for days.

            Anyway, if someone knows what kind of steel I bought that rusts so easily, I'd obviously recommend not getting that kind. It's not even worth using the dishwasher since inspecting each individual piece for stains is more work than just hand washing them.

            9 Replies
            1. re: suigeneris

              Maybe Chemicalkinetics will fill us in, but I'm guessing there wasn't enough nickel in the steel. The nickel is supposed to prevent rusting, I think. Do you happen to remember the brand? Some of the stainless have lifetimes warranties against rusting or other inherent flaws, I think.

              There will be more staining in the immediate future because phosphates are not being used for dishwashing detergent any more. I think cleaning might get better in the next year or two, when the phosphate free formulas are improved.

              I was thinking that the prices of the Henckels and the Cuisinart looked just too good to be true.

              1. re: suigeneris

                I just bought a large amount of 18/10 Oneida and when reading the paperwork that came with it, it said not to use dishwasher detergent with lemon/citrus scent. Apparently, it can cause discoloration and pitting. That was news to me but I have been following the recommendation as I have a substantial amount invested.

                1. re: baseballfan

                  "it said not to use dishwasher detergent with lemon/citrus scent. Apparently, it can cause discoloration and pitting"

                  Yes. Several citings have mentioned this:

                  "I had the same problem & was told it is cause by using dishwasher soap with lemon (or citrus) in it, since I have stopped using it I have not had a problem."


                  "The rust spots started to appear on the blades of my 18/10 knives from a set of Wallace flatware which I have had for a few years and never had a problem with . I tried to think of anything that may have changed. I started using a rinse agent a few months back and this is the problem. It's lemon scented and I know that lemon is bad for knife blades!"


                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                    Thanks for the links. Like I said, it was something new for me but it makes sense. I'm glad to know now so I don't ruin my new flatware.

                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                      ChemicalKinetics [quoting baselallfan]: "'it said not to use dishwasher detergent with lemon/citrus scent. Apparently, it can cause discoloration and pitting'
                      "Yes. Several citings have mentioned this"

                      Oh, good grief. And phases of the moon. And Tarot cards. The citrus scent in most consumer products comes from lemongrass, not from lemons.

                      We have very soft water, which should increase any effects from citrus scenting agents, and we have used Citrus Cascade Crystal Clear rinse agent in our dishwasher for years and years and years; and our stainless flatware never has shown rust or spots or ... anything other than shine.

                      Blaming fragrance agents (a tiny percentage of formulations that, in turn, are diluted many times by the wash water) is tilting at windmills.

                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                        I know that this is an old thread but one large point missing here is-----the quality of the S.S.. Just because it is marked 18-0, 18-8 or 18-10, there is no guarantee that the steel has been blended well and there are no hot spots of the constituent metals or impurities. The established makers, like Georg Jensen, W.M.F. , Oneida( likely) have a vested interest in using steel from a highly reputable supplier. Others , coming forward with budget lines are no doubt using the lowest priced raw stock ,they can get their hands on. These steels will pit and stain , react to salt and acids because they have impurity pockets. I've seen holes develop right through cheap chef's knives , supposedly made of 440 stainless.

                        1. re: omgivore

                          I haven't seen the weight or finish on Oneida or W.M.F. with 18/10 that I found on my Yamazaki. You're right that the numbers don't tell the whole tale.

                          1. re: omgivore

                            My final choice, Aquatique Ice by Yamazaki is performing very well. I am not sure why I need to worry about hot spots. But your concerns were not mine when I posted this. I was interested in buying better stuff, not budget stainless.

                            1. re: sueatmo

                              So your ice finish didn't scratch up or off? NICE! I have the polished Aquatique, which is discontinued, so had to buy a few replacement pieces from I love how shiny mine is after more than a decade, and how the weight of it feels in hand.

                    2. You may want to check out Revolution by Sherrill which is made in the US at the old Oneida location in Sherrill, NY. Sad that Oneida moved everything out of the country.

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: SanityRemoved

                        How about a link? I can't tell from your post if Sherrill is the mfg. or part of the name of the pattern?

                        Thanks for your post!

                        1. re: sueatmo

                          Sherrill is the manufacturer.
                          I can't figure out if they are currently manufacturing new stock at this time or not. They were an independent supplier to Oneida but that contract ended.
                          Their products can be found here:

                          Time will tell whether any Oneida pattern is safe in regards to future availability and quality. Many believe the quality has already suffered.

                          It's hard to tell if dish washing detergents are to blame or we are seeing a decrease in the quality of flatware.

                          1. re: SanityRemoved

                            They have removed phosphates from dishwasher detergent. I have noticed some staining on my old stainless. I don't know about Oneida, really. I bought my present flatware ages ago.

                            Thanks for the link and info. I do intend to buy a complete set though. I don't like to think of needing to buy more and it not being available, or available for more than what it is really worth.

                            1. re: sueatmo

                              sueatmo: "They have removed phosphates from dishwasher detergent."

                              Not yet, but it is in process, and thank goodness.

                              "I have noticed some staining on my old stainless."

                              No relation to the removal of phosphates from dishwasher detergents.

                              1. re: Politeness

                                I don't actually know, but a story I heard on NPR very recently indicated that phosphates had been removed, at least in some areas of the country.And I agree--its about time. However dishes aren't getting as clean apparently. Frankly, I haven't noticed much difference here. So perhaps this hasn't reached MO yet.