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Flatware Care Instructions

Recommended by Caterer's Warehouse

Stainless Flatware

18/0 - This stainless steel contains 18% stainless and 0% nickel. This type of stainless is usually used for large volume commodity venues. Care instructions on this product are most important as selected areas of the country due to weather conditions, sun, temperature and salt air can create issues and possible corrosion. It is always recommended that a high temperature dishwashing system be used on this type of flatware in commodity application. Low temperature dishwashing machines which use a chlorine type sanitation affects the steel and finish and is not recommended. This 18/0 product will darken with age overtime due to the fact that there is no nickel within the steel structure. 18/8 or 18/10 - This stainless steel contains 18% stainless and the second number (8 or 10) equals the percentage of nickel within the stainless steel structure. This type of material usually is used in medium or upper grade flatware. It can be either bright or brush finish depending on the product specifications. This type of stainless can be used with either type of washing system as long as a presoak solution from a reputable company (ex. Ecolab) is used per instruction specifications. High temperature dishwashers are recommended. Cleaning products or solutions containing lemon or citric acids should be avoided at all costs. Burnishing machines can be used periodically to retain the bright finish on this type of flatware. It is recommended no more than once or twice within a six week period. Please follow burnishing machine manufacturer’s instructions in detail, and dry flatware completely.

Silver Plated Flatware

Silver plated flatware is recommended to be plated on only 18/8 or 18/10 stainless. The reason is that the base material will contain a high amount of nickel as to prevent any corrosion, rust or staining from the underlying base material. Silver plated flatware must only be washed alone – not with stainless steel flatware due to plating softness. Please remember that rubber compounds such as gloves, dish racks, sink drains… create chemical staining of sliver and should never be in contact for long periods of time including rubber bands. Never use detergents with high chlorine or lemon base acidities and only use cleaning presoaks that are recommended by major manufacturers to industry standards (ex. Ecolab). High temperature dishwashers are recommended only. Low temperature dishwashers are not acceptable. They will create an aluminum appearance on the flatware which will get worse with each wash application. Burnishers for sliver plated flatware can be used with the proper manufacturers burnishing compound as directed a few times a month. Periodically hand polishing might be required to maximize the look of your sliver plated flatware and bring it back to its lusterful finish.

Gold Plated Flatware

Gold plated flatware is recommended to be plated on only 18/8 or 18/10 stainless. The reason is that the base material will contain a high amount of nickel as to prevent any corrosion, rust or staining from the underlying base material. Gold plated flatware requires proper maintenance. Because it is a precious metal, plating thickness may vary manufacturer to manufacturer. Commercial application gold plated flatware is always recommend. Retail gold plated flatware is usually sprayed with minimal thickness of gold which will break down very quickly within commercial applications. Retail gold flatware is not recommended for commercial application use. Gold plated flatware is requires special care. Do not use harsh detergents or abrasives on any gold flatware. All gold should be hand dried after it comes out of the wash cycle. Because gold is a soft metal most damage occurs when the flatware is subjected to hot water within the washing cycle which softens the gold until cooled. It is recommended that that flatware be placed carefully in the flatware basket to prevent scratching, rubbing, banging and damage of the finish. Burnishing machines should not be used with gold plated flatware. Hand dry at room temperature when completely cool. Hand polishing on gold flatware if needed is recommended. Gold plated flatware will not tarnish.

Care for Knives and Steak Knives

Also be advised that knives in stainless steel, silver plate or gold plate used the same base material which is called a 420 stainless. This type of steel is extremely hard and used in application to prevent bending as well as hold a sharp edge. This steel has no nickel and has a tendency to rust, pit or stain so proper cleaning and drying is required to sustain longevity. Knives overall will require more replacement than other pieces of your flatware collection. Recommended cleaning instructions are wash immediately after use and hand dry at once to assure longer life, rinse all food off at once. For best results hand dry all knives at the end of the washing cycle as soon as possible. This is why no guarantee can be applied to knives or steak knives from our manufacturers.


If storage is required for flatware it is very important that all flatware be completely dry and have no moisture or dampness affiliated with it. If storage is done in plastic or sealed bags and wrapped airtight any moisture will create rusting and pitting which will damage the flatware creating limited shelf life. Make sure it’s all dry, always. Also, it is important to rotate your flatware as long periods of time can create tarnishing and staining on silver and gold plated flatware. It is recommended that a periodic inspection be done on this product continuously. If you continuously use a burnishing machine it is important to change the polishing compound and polishing beads to prevent scratching and other damage. Vibratory burnishers are recommended for flatware.

Click the links below for information about our plating and refurbishing programs.
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