Is It Safe to Use Rusty Cookie Cutters

Is It Safe to Use Rusty Cookie Cutters?

Cookie cutters are all around us, usually in the shape of a Christmas tree or reindeer. However, you probably won’t give them much thought until you’re ready to bake your holiday cookies; at this point, you might have one question: is it safe to use rusty cookie cutters?

Rusty cookie cutters are metal cutters used to shape dough into various shapes and designs that have become corroded or oxidized over time, resulting in the development of a reddish-brown layer on the surface.

Using safe kitchen tools is crucial in maintaining food hygiene, preventing the spread of diseases, and ensuring the safety of those handling the food. Safe kitchen tools are designed to be durable, non-toxic, and easy to clean to avoid contamination and ensure the quality of the food.

Furthermore, rusty cookie cutters can pose various health risks, including bacterial contamination, exposure to harmful chemicals, and tetanus infection. Rusty cutters can also damage the dough, resulting in an uneven shape, which can cause the cookies to cook unevenly and not taste as good.

It is essential to prioritize safe kitchen practices and use safe kitchen tools, such as non-toxic, durable, and easy-to-clean cookie cutters, to ensure the safety and quality of the food prepared.

What is Rust?

Rust is a type of corrosion that occurs when iron or steel is exposed to oxygen and moisture over time. It forms when the iron in the metal reacts with the oxygen in the air, forming iron oxide (Fe2O3) on the surface of the metal. This reddish-brown compound is what we commonly refer to as rust.

The chemical reaction that leads to rust formation can be represented by the following equation:

4Fe + 3O2 + 6H2O → 4Fe(OH)3

Rust can be a major problem for metal objects, as it weakens the material and can eventually cause it to break down completely. In the case of cookie cutters, rust can pose a safety hazard if the rust flakes off and is ingested with the food.

To prevent rust formation, metal objects can be coated with a protective layer of paint, oil, or other substances that prevent oxygen and moisture from coming into contact with the metal. If rust does form, it can often be removed with a wire brush or other abrasive tool, though severe rust may require the object to be replaced.

Risks of Using Rusty Cookie Cutters

Using rusty cookie cutters poses several risks, both physical and health-related, that can impact both the baker and the quality of the baked goods.

1. Physical Risks: One of the most significant risks associated with using rusty cookie cutters is the potential for cuts, scratches, and injuries. Rusty cookie cutters may have sharp edges that can cause lacerations or other injuries to the hands and fingers of the baker. These injuries can be severe, leading to bleeding, infection, and even permanent damage to the hands.

2. Health Risks: Rust is a common problem with metal cookie cutters, and it poses several health risks. Rust contamination and toxicity are two major health risks associated with using rusty cookie cutters. Rust is formed when iron and oxygen react in the presence of water or moisture. The resulting rust can contain harmful bacteria, such as E. coli, that can cause foodborne illnesses.

3. Potential Foodborne Illnesses: Rusty cookie cutters can also cause potential foodborne illnesses. The rust on the cookie cutters can mix with the dough or batter, contaminating the food with bacteria. When the contaminated food is consumed, it can cause symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, and fever.

4. Impact on Quality of Baked Goods: In addition to the health risks, using rusty cookie cutters can also impact the quality of the baked goods. Rusty cookie cutters can leave unsightly rust marks on the surface of the cookies or dough, making them unappetizing to look at. Rust can also affect the taste of the cookies, giving them a metallic or bitter taste.

To avoid the risks associated with rusty cookie cutters, it is important to use clean, dry cookie cutters made of non-rusting materials such as plastic or stainless steel. If you do choose to use metal cookie cutters, make sure to inspect them carefully for any signs of rust and clean them thoroughly before use.

Is It Safe to Use Rusty Cookie Cutters?

Is It Safe to Use Rusty Cookie CuttersIt’s not safe to use rusty cookie cutters. Though the rust may look like a thin layer on top of your cookie cutter, the rust is likely to have seeped into the body of your cookie cutter and left impurities throughout. 

When you have a relatively clean and non-porous material (such as steel or iron), rust formation is minimal because the surface of the metal prevents air from coming into contact with its interior. A well-kept cookie cutter should not be rusted from the outside if you use a well-cared-for cookie cutter.

How to Identify Rusty Cookie Cutters

Identifying rusty cookie cutters can be done through a combination of visible signs and tactile indicators of rust. Here are some ways to detect rust on your cookie cutters:

  1. Visible signs of rust: Look for any discoloration or staining on the surface of the cookie cutter. Rust can appear as a reddish-brown color that is often splotchy or uneven. If you see any spots or patches that look different from the rest of the metal, it may be a sign of rust.
  2. Tactile indicators of rust: Rust can cause the surface of the cookie cutter to become rough or bumpy to the touch. If you run your fingers over the surface of the cutter and feel any roughness or unevenness, it may be an indication of rust.
  3. Other methods of detecting rust: If you are still unsure whether your cookie cutters have rust on them, you can try a few other methods. One is to use a magnet to see if the metal is magnetic. If the metal is magnetic, it is less likely to have rusted. You can also use a white cloth or paper towel to rub the surface of the cutter. If the cloth or towel comes away with a reddish-brown residue, it is likely that there is rust on the surface.

It’s important to note that rust can be harmful if ingested, so it’s best to avoid using rusty cookie cutters altogether. If you find that your cookie cutters have rust on them, it’s best to replace them with new ones to ensure the safety of your food.

Safe Alternatives to Rusty Cookie Cutters

Cookie cutters come in various materials, including metal, plastic, silicone, and wood. However, metal cookie cutters tend to rust over time, making them unsafe for use in the kitchen. To avoid this, it’s important to maintain your cookie cutters properly.

Here are some tips for maintaining cookie cutters to prevent rust formation:

  1. Wash and dry your cookie cutters thoroughly after each use. Make sure to remove any dough or other debris that might be stuck to them.
  2. Store your cookie cutters in a dry place. Avoid storing them in areas that are damp or humid.
  3. Apply a thin coat of vegetable oil to your metal cookie cutters before storing them. This will help prevent rust formation.
  4. If you notice any signs of rust on your cookie cutters, use a fine-grit sandpaper to gently remove it. Then wash and dry the cookie cutters thoroughly.

If you’re looking for non-toxic and food-safe alternatives to traditional metal cookie cutters, here are some options:

  1. Plastic cookie cutters: These are a popular alternative to metal cookie cutters because they are affordable, easy to clean, and come in a variety of shapes and sizes.
  2. Silicone cookie cutters: These are a great option because they are flexible, durable, and can be used in the oven, microwave, and freezer.
  3. Wooden cookie cutters: These are a classic alternative to metal cookie cutters. They are eco-friendly, easy to clean, and can be used for both baking and crafting.

How to Keep Cookie Cutters from Rusting

Your cookie cutters are going to rust. It’s inevitable, and it doesn’t matter how much you want them to stay shiny and new. It’s just going to happen.

Your cookie cutters are going to rust. It’s inevitable, and it doesn’t matter how much you want them to stay shiny and new. It’s just going to happen.

Meanwhile, there is a way you can slow it down; clean them with vinegar instead of soap and water when you’re done using them for the day. The acid in the vinegar will help stop the rust from forming.

Here is a step-by-step guide:

Step 1

Pour 1/2 cup of white vinegar into a small bowl or cup: Apple cider or white vinegar. 

Step 2

Place the cookie cutters in the bowl or cup so that the entire surface of each cutter is submerged in the vinegar. Let them soak for 5 minutes.

Step 3

Remove the cookie cutters from the vinegar solution and place them on paper towels to dry. The vinegar solution will remove any rust that has already formed on the cookie cutters since their last use.

In addition, it will prevent rust from forming on the cutters’ surfaces in damp storage conditions, such as in a humid kitchen or basement.

Step 4

Dry your cookie cutters thoroughly with paper towels after each use. It will remove any water droplets that could cause rusting if left on the cookie.


You can also use lemon juice and salt as an alternative cleaning solution, as both ingredients react with iron oxide (rust) and help remove it from metals.

Simply squeeze some lemon juice over the rusted area of the cookie cutter and sprinkle on some salt. Leave it for a few minutes before rubbing it with a nail brush or toothbrush. Rinse the salt and lemon juice off before drying thoroughly.

How to Clean Antique Cookie Cutters

How to Clean Antique Cookie CuttersYou can clean antique cookie cutters by making a paste out of cream of tartar and lemon juice. Then, you should use the paste to scrub the cookie cutters with a soft cloth or toothbrush. Rinse with water and dry them off before putting them back into storage.

Here is a step-by-step guide:

Step 1: Start by putting your cookie cutter in a large pot or bowl with enough water to cover it. Next, add some salt and about 3 drops of dish soap; the salt will act as an abrasive and help remove any rust from the inside of the cutter, and the soap will help lift any stuck-on bits of crumb aren’t affected by the salt.

Step 2: Bring the pot or bowl of water to a boil on your stovetop. Let it boil for 5-10 minutes, making sure not to let it get too hot so you don’t warp the cookie cutter.

Step 3: After a few minutes, check out your progress. If you want all that crumb gone, you might need to add more soap and water to keep working.

Step 4: When you’re sure that you’ve removed all the crumbs (and maybe even sacrificed a few cookies), take out your cutter.

Step 5: Dry your cookie-cutter thoroughly and then put some drops of cooking oil on a paper towel. Rub this onto the cutter’s surface until it shines again. You might need to repeat this two or three times for the best result.

Why Did My Cookie Cutters Rust

If you have a set of cookie cutters that are rusting, it could be due to one of two factors:

1. The material that the cookie cutters are made of (most likely metal) is exposed to a combination of water and oxygen, causing the metal to rust. It happens in humid environments or if you leave your cookie cutters in a damp sink.

2. Some companies sell “vintage” cookie cutters that have already been coated with vegetable oil to give them an antique look. It can also cause rusting if water comes into contact with the oil.

How to Clean Old Tin Cookie Cutters

How to Clean Old Tin Cookie CuttersSome cookie cutters are so old and rusty that we aren’t sure we’ll be able to clean them. But we can always try.

Follow these steps to clean old tin cookie cutters:

You’ll also need vinegar, salt, liquid soap, and a sponge or rag. 

Step 1: Clean your mixing bowl or mug with soap and water and ensures no dirt is sticking to it. Then get your mixing bowl and add 1 tbsp of salt, 1 tbsp of liquid soap (not dish soap), 1 tbsp of vinegar, and 1 cup of warm water. Stir this mixture together until the salt dissolves.

Step 2: Dip your cookie cutter into the mixture. Ensure you let any excess water drip off after each dip to prevent too much water inside your cookie cutter.

Step 3: Rinse each side of your cookie cutter under running tap water to remove all the soap/water mixture. Once your cookie cutter is nice and clean, let it dry before using it again.

How to Remove Rust with Vinegar and Salt

Removing rust can be a pain. So I have put together this easy, effective guide for removing rust with vinegar and salt.

You’ll need the following:

  • Vinegar
  • Salt
  • A wire brush or sandpaper
  • A rag or towel


Step 1. Pour vinegar into a shallow dish until the bottom is covered. If you have a big rust stain, you can use more vinegar to cover it.

Step 2. Sprinkle salt over the vinegar until the surface is covered. The salt will help remove the rust. 

Step 3. Let the vinegar and salt sit on your rust stain for at least 10 minutes. You want to let the solution do its thing. If you have a big stain, you might want to let it sit for half an hour. 

Step 4. Use your wire brush or sandpaper to scrub away any remaining rust stains. Don’t worry about being too delicate; the wire brush is supposed to take off some of the objects. It might get a little rusty as you do this, but that’s okay. You’re just going to rinse it off later.

Step 5. Wipe up any excess liquid with a rag or towel. 

Recommended Post: How to Tell If Sharpening Stone Is Oil or Water

Can You Put Metal Cookie Cutters in the Dishwasher?

Can You Put Metal Cookie Cutters in the DishwasherYou can put your cookie cutters in the dishwasher. But you might want to do it quickly and ensure they’re on the top rack. Also, avoid too much soap on them, leaving a residue that can be harder to remove if you use it.

If you want to keep them shiny and new, avoid steel wool or anything that might scratch or dull the finish. It’s always good to take things apart (like your cookie cutter) to clean every little crevice.

In general, it’s best to hand-wash metal cookie cutters with warm water and a soft cloth. Add a drop of dish soap to the warm water if needed, but avoid using abrasive sponges or scrubbers.

And if you have trouble removing some baked-on crumbs or sticky dough, you can soak the cutter in warm water for 5 minutes before wiping it clean.

While metal cookie cutters are dishwasher safe, the heat and detergents used by the machine can dull their finish and cause them to rust over time.


Is it safe to use rusty cookie cutters? The assessment of risk associated with handling and using a rusty cookie cutter depends on what specific material the cutters are made from, how well they were made, and how they are used. 

If a cookie cutter is made entirely out of rust-free materials and is made in a quality manner, and if it is not handled carelessly or used improperly, then it should present a low risk of transmitting any infectious agents to the owner or user.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *