Why Do My Steak Knives Rust?

By Ryan Leavitt •  Updated: 02/18/19 •  3 min read

Knives in general rust because it’s made of metal. When any metal runs into water and oxygen, oxidation occurs. This is a natural chemical reaction that should be, in a way, expected since knives are washed all the time.

But Isn’t This Supposed to be Stainless Steel?!

It’s understandable when people gripe about rusty steak knives, especially when they have paid top dollar for its supposedly non-corrosive, non-staining properties.

But this happens even for the most expensive, high-quality blades made by the most respected cutlery companies. And there are several reasons why it does.

Enumerated below are several reasons why this problem could happen. And believe it or not, most of the reasons listed are bad habits that most home cooks tend to have when it comes to their kitchen cutlery.

Take note of each so that, hopefully, you won’t be troubled by rusty stainless steel steak knives ever again.

(See more: 10 best sets of steak knives you should know about)

Pit corrosion

It is the leading cause of steak knives rusting. It is mostly happening near the sharp edge of a knife. A small scratch can initiate the oxidation reaction and can cause the knife to rust at that specific place.

Keeping in humidity

The second cause of knives rust is keeping knives in humidity and especially when people put the steak knives in the dishwasher. In the dishwasher, it will be exposed to water for a long period of time so making it easy for rust to make its place on the knife.

Leaving knife in the sink

It is seen due to many tasks that are needed to be done in the kitchen, the knife is placed in the sink for a long time so that it can be washed after the food is cooked. This can cause knives to rust.

Not sharpening the knife

This point is most important as sharpening can also prevent pit corrosion. If the knife is sharpened properly and sharpening is done at regular intervals then the knife will not get pit corrosion as most of the times there will be no pit left after sharpening.

Not caring for a small rusty area

It is easy to ignore a very small spot of rust on the knife but this is a big mistake. Once there is even a small spot of rust on the knife, it should be dealt on an urgent basis as rust will become a catalyst for further rusting of the knife. A small spot of rust especially the pit corrosion rust should be taken care of in order to save the steak knives from further rusting.

Ryan Leavitt

Hi my name is Ryan Leavitt a Marine Corps Veteran and currently an over the road trucker (Long Haul). I am no expert chef but am enjoying preparing my own meals on the road and testing all the different knives.