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I know stainless steel scrubs are usually for cleaning tough spots out of stainless steel woks and pans. I use a regular kitchen sponge for my bowls and plates. However, sometimes the dishes get crusty, and a stainless steel scrub works best for getting those off.

My question: will this in any way damage the bowls and plates? These are regular, microwave-safe, dishwasher-safe porcelain dishes. Will the scrub scratch the surface, making it harmful to ingest from those dishes?

Stainless steel scrubs

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    If a dish gets crusty, soak it in water for some time, until it gets more manageable. – Max Apr 15 at 17:17
  • Use comnon sense. The spring like sponges in the picture are relatively soft. I use them on porcelain dishes and never noticed scratches. – Alchimista Apr 16 at 14:02
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You can but you probably shouldn't. Stainless steel scrubs are quite coarse, rough and with sharp edges. They are particularly abrasive, suited for scrubbing the pan's metal surface and removing the outer oxidized or grimy layers and achieve a "shiny finish".

Used on ceramics I imagine they will scratch the glossy surface quite easily; with continued use it will eventually lead a faded finish and loss of gloss.

It will largely depend on the hardness of the specific ceramic type. I would assume average quality ceramic dishes, but even for a finer quality porcelain over a longer term it will probably eventually wear out the vitreous coating, and on extreme cases even reach the more crumbly inner substrate.

On a more expensive/high quality porcelain service I imagine you would want to use something softer anyway, to prevent premature wear, particularly if it is some sort of antique, heirloom, has any sentimental or monetary value.

Decorated items with paint or enamels will be particularly sensitive to abrasion, since even continued use in a dish washer will lead to faded colors over time, especially on over-glaze decorations.

  • Not quite. Steel is actually softer than high-fire ceramic plates, see my answer below. – FuzzyChef Apr 17 at 0:58
  • Also ... porcelain doesn't have a "vitreous coating" or a "crumbly substrate". I'm not sure what kind of dishes you're talking about, but they're not high-fire ceramic. Maybe earthenware? – FuzzyChef Apr 17 at 1:03
  • I'm by no means an export, but water is also softer than stone, yet water eroded stone is commonplace. Quality ceramic vitrifies all the way through, but I assume most everyday kitchenware are not actual porcelain, probably earthenware like you mention. which often has a more crumbly "clay" substrate with a vitrified coat. Porcelain does some times have a glaze according to wikipedia – Duarte Farrajota Ramos Apr 17 at 8:56
  • Well, I am an expert (potter of 25 years' experience). Most everyday commercial pottery in the USA, Canada and Europe is high-fired porcelain or stoneware, or even harder ceramics like Corelle. More importantly, the OP specified "porcelain". – FuzzyChef Apr 17 at 18:46
  • If your dish was softer than steel, your cuttlery would scratch the surface of the dish as it does e.g. With a cutting board. So your dish should be Fine if you use your pads – jmk Apr 17 at 20:02
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Sure, knock yourself out. Should work fine.

Most household steel is between 5 and 6.5 on the MOHS scale of hardness. Ceramic glazes for high-fire ware are from 7 to 8, about the same hardness as glass. This means that the steel cannot scratch your plates.

This assumes that you are using plain high-fire (porcelain or hard stoneware) plates. If your plates have enamel designs, gold edging, or other decorations that aren't part of the ceramic, those could be softer than steel and thus likely to get scrubbed off. It's also possible that some of your dishes aren't high-fire ceramic, and thus could be scratchable. Test on the underside of anything you're not sure about.

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