Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Cookware >
Sep 9, 2011 12:15 PM

Stainless Steel Cookware Oxidizing?

Hey everyone,

I just moved to Denver and have noticed that some of my stainless steel cookware, thermoses, and the outside of my crock pot have a very thin layer of what appears to be rust on them. I've not washed them since being here, so I'm ruling out the option of new/different water deposits on the items. It appears to be something in the air, because only the outside/exposed areas of the cookware are effected. I tried wiping one thermos with a wet cloth and the film came off, but thermos still showed signs of "rusting."

I tried to find a topic on this elsewhere but didn't run across anything online or on the board that seemed to explain what's happening. Any and all help or suggestions are appreciated!


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. What color is this 'rust'?

    The surface of stainless steel does oxidize - but that oxide is normally a tough, invisible layer of chromium oxide.

    Could it be dust?

    1. Hmm... interesting. Stainless steel can oxidized, but like Paul said the chromium combine with oxygen and oxidize, but it is invisible to eyes. Also even when stainless steel does rust, it tends to be spot-like and not an even film of rust.