I have had this happen a few times now. What happens is that I purchase a new kitchen item made of stainless steel. When cleaning it, I find out that there is some kind of dark grey residue that comes off of it. The items that have done this are supposed to be used to cook or they come into contact with food.

Is this metalic residue? If not, what is it?

  • Is there an exposed aluminium pan/pot bottom, maybe? Commented Nov 22, 2016 at 10:15
  • It's probably cardboard dust from the packaging.
    – GdD
    Commented Nov 22, 2016 at 10:16
  • This happens to my pots too sometimes, though mostly older ones.
    – Carmi
    Commented Nov 22, 2016 at 11:27
  • @GdD Doesn't look cardboard at all, the residue has a dark grey metalic colour to it.
    – samseva
    Commented Nov 22, 2016 at 22:09
  • @rackandboneman The items I bought were made of stainless steel. They were brand new and hadn't come into contact with aluminium.
    – samseva
    Commented Nov 22, 2016 at 22:09

4 Answers 4


It could be stainless steel and abrasive residue created from polishing.

Method for Removal:

Hand wiping with alkaline cleaners, followed by hot water rinsing. May require multiple applications until wipe testing results are satisfactory.



As I said last week in the comments, I've been having this problem too, and I finally think I've worked it out.

It happens with my steel bottom pots and pans. It doesn't happen on my induction stove-top ever. It only ever happens when I use them on the electric, metal-top stove.

Basically, it seems to be metal/rust residue from the electric stove-top, rather than anything from the pot itself. Taking a cleaning rag over the stove-top gets the same gray residue.

It seems we both need a better quality stove.


it is a food safe silicone,used as a manufacturing process coating

  • 1
    Hello, and welcome to Stack Exchange. Do you have any more information on this, including a reference? Commented Nov 29, 2016 at 14:32

I have experienced this with a stainless steel water resevoir and have read on other sites that it is a form of oxidation, "chromium rust". I do not have any scientific research references backing this claim, but I can say that in my experience it appeared on a metal boiler that was clean and over time developed this after being exposed to nothing but heated water and air repeatedly. A haze had formed and when wiped with a clean paper towel showed to be a black-gray residue. It cleaned off again to where wiping with a clean towel showed no sign of the residue.

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