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Why is Stainless Steel used for Cutlery & Utensils?

Why is Stainless Steel used for Cutlery & Utensils?

Stainless steel is the main material used in the production of cutlery, kitchen utensils and equipment due to a combination of properties. These properties are suited for applications in kitchen and dining areas which is the reason it is a popular feature many don’t appreciate.


What is Stainless Steel?

Also known as corrosion-resistant steel (CRES), an alloy of iron, is resistant to rust and corrosion. Stainless steel is steel containing at least 10.5% chromium and less than 1.2% carbon and other alloy elements. Stainless steel’s features position this alloy at the forefront of cutlery, utensils and kitchen equipment.

The benefits of stainless steel include:

  • Corrosion resistance
  • Hygiene & safety
  • Durability & longevity
  • Heat resistance
  • Non-reactive properties
  • Aesthetic appeal
  • Easy maintenance
  • Recyclability


History of Stainless Steel Cutlery & Kitchen Utensils

The history of stainless steel spans several centuries involving multiple inventors and scientists. Chromium was discovered in the early 18th century though its properties were not fully realised at the time. In the early 19th century inventors attempted to create an alloy resistant to corrosion but they struggled to find the exact combination of elements to create stainless steel.

In the late 19th century, inventors started to make progress. In 1872, Harry Brearley began experimenting with iron alloys containing high amounts of chromium and in 1912 he created steel that had exceptional resistance to corrosion and staining. This was known as ‘rustless steel’ which would eventually be recognised as stainless steel.

In 1913, Brearley’s rustless steel was used to create cutlery and around that time Germany’s Alfred Krupp developed similar corrosion-resistant steel. In 1915, Brearley was granted a patent for his development of stainless steel. At the same time, an American engineer was working on similar alloys and was granted a patent for his stainless steel invention.

Over the next few decades, improvements were made to stainless steel’s composition. This included the addition of nickel which enhanced corrosion resistance making it suitable for a variety of applications. Stainless steel then found value in use during World War I for military applications. After World War II steel found popularity as its use expanded to industries like architecture, automotive, manufacturing, and more.

The development of different grades of stainless steel with its varying properties has contributed to its widespread adoption including dining, kitchen and catering uses.


Why is stainless steel used for food utensils?

Stainless steel is used for food utensils and kitchen equipment due to its suitability for various applications. These include:

Corrosion resistance

Stainless steel has excellent resistance to corrosion making it suitable for contact with liquid and food. This is due to a protective chromium oxide layer on the surface preventing rust and corrosion. The alloy is still susceptible to these ailments if not cared for correctly but this material is most suitable for the applications it is applied to.

Hygiene & safety

Stainless steel isn’t porous and has a smooth surface which is easy to clean and maintain. This is essential for food safety as bacteria and germs are not able to embed and grow on the surface of products made from this material.

Durability & longevity

Stainless steel can withstand frequent use without bending, denting, or breaking. This, as well as hygiene, is a big reason utensils made from this material are used regularly in a kitchen environment.

Heat resistance

Stainless steel can handle high temperatures without warping or losing shape which is a critical requirement for optimal cooking utensils and equipment exposed to heat.

Non-reactive properties

Stainless steel is not reactive to most foods and beverages. This means it won’t impact the flavour of the food being prepared or served which is particularly important when working with acidic or alkaline ingredients. It does, however, react to other metals which is the reason care and maintenance are of utmost importance. An example of this care is ensuring stainless-steel cutlery is not positioned to touch other metals during the dishwashing process.

Aesthetic appeal

Stainless steel features a sleek and modern appearance that is easy to clean and maintains a hygienic lustre. Its polished surface adds a touch of cleanliness and clinical appeal that resonates in food preparation and delivery.

Easy maintenance

Stainless steel utensils and equipment are easy to clean. They can be washed with mild soap and water with many stainless-steel utensils and also dishwasher safe. There are specific maintenance guidelines to increase the longevity of utensils like cutlery from corrosion which is inevitable based on whether it’s 18/0 stainless steel cutlery or 18/10 stainless steel cutlery for instance.


This is a forgotten benefit of stainless steel, but it is recyclable. Stainless steel can be recycled and repurposed into future kitchen cutlery, utensils or equipment.


Purchase your stainless-steel cutlery, utensils, benchtops or equipment from Reward Hospitality

Reward Hospitality Australia’s huge range of products spans many categories from cutlery to kitchen utensils, equipment, and more. If it’s a stainless steel product you’re looking for, you’re likely to find it on our website and if we don’t have it – we’ll source it for you.

Our service is not limited to products. We also provide an array of solutions from venue design and fit-out through to equipment advice, and custom printing. Contact our friendly Customer Experience team via online chat, email, or phone to find out more today. Our Territory Managers are also located around the country and they are available for a one-on-one consultation if that’s your preference. Our goal is to help your business grow and we have everything you need to invest in the right stainless steel utensils, framework, and equipment as well as expert advice.