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Has the breathtaking patterns of Damascus Steel caught your eye and potentially your wallet?
Are you wondering if this metal could work for your knife collection? It’s certainly gorgeous, but is it practical? Will it stand up to abuse, serving you for years to come, or will it turn into more of a rust-bucket than your first car?
A common question for any metal tool is: will it rust?
The long and short answer for whether colored Damascus Steel rusts is this: It can, but it probably won’t.
The thing about metal, is that at some point, all of it is capable of rusting. The real question you should be asking, is how easily does it happen?
Modern Damascus Steel is made for the modern kitchen, capable, durable, and rust-resistant. When it comes to steel, there is a reason so many chef’s prefer and seek out Damascus Steel.
The Best of Both Worlds
Damascus Steel knives are typically made in a way that combines the power and flexibility of high carbon steel, with the corrosion resistance of stainless steel. In other words, you get the beauty and flexibility of the Damascus Steel, with a stainless-steel coat to protect the blade.
It’s the perfect pair, and they are *very* resistant to rust.
So the answer to your question of whether Damascus Steel rusts, could be more appropriately stated as: it’s not very likely. This is especially true if you take time to properly care for and store your knives.
Speaking of which…
What’s the best way to keep my knives rust-free?
With any metal, not just Damascus Steel, the key to warding off oxidation, rust, and damage is to properly clean, maintain and store your knives. Doing so can dramatically increase the lifespan of your knives, aid in edge retention, and keep rust at bay.
As tempting as it is: skip the dishwasher. In the dishwasher, knives are subjected to unnecessary wear and tear, with each cycle clanking your blades against the rest of your silverware, and exposing them to prolonged periods of intense heat and moisture .
When it comes to drying, you can never be too thorough. Moisture is a leading culprit of encouraging bacterial and mold growth, as well as warping wooden handles and, yes, rust.
Pro tip: wash and dry your knives during a natural lull in your cooking. Waiting for water to boil or sauce to simmer after all the chopping is done? Grab your knives, by the time your timer goes off, you’ll have them perfectly clean, dry, and put away.
If you keep your knife blades dry after washing, you won’t ever have to worry about rust.
I like to go the extra mile and keep these beauties gleaming, what can I do?
Not a problem! Another helpful way to keep the life of your Damascus Steel knife is regularly applying oil to the blade. You can use food-grade mineral oil or cooking oil.
If you opt for mineral oil, make sure you get food-grade (if you don’t, the oil could potentially be toxic if consumed). Similarly, this oil is often used by chef’s on cutting boards to keep the wood shiny and new, while warding off moisture and water droplets.
Cooking oil also works in a pinch, but be advised that it can spoil over time, so it is best to use it sparingly.