Stainless steel forks and aluminum foil…

Ever since I can remember, I have had a peculiar sensitivity — when a fork (or piece of stainless steel cutlery in general) has recently come into contact with aluminum, I find the fork to have a most unpleasant taste.

Since it is my goal with this blog to answer (or at least bring to light) the questions Google fails, I can find no information on the phenomena. Perhaps a kind reader will have some clue as to what is going on, and if there is any more info anywhere.

When the fork has touched aluminum – such as serving from an aluminum pie plate or aluminum foil lined pan – something happens to the fork whereby upon touching it to my tongue I experience a funny “taste” or strange sensation. (Personally, I find the sensation unpleasant enough as to need a new fork.)

I would liken the taste to a mild form of the feeling one gets from testing a AA battery with one’s tongue.

It makes sense that when steel touches aluminum a current is induced at the juncture – dissimilar metals and all. But what exactly am I detecting? Is it electrical activity from the few aluminum ions on the end of the fork?
And why does washing it make it go away?

Most importantly, are there other people who have experienced this? If so, why is it so hard to find a reference or mention? If not, what is so special about my tongue 😛

54 thoughts on “Stainless steel forks and aluminum foil…

  1. Wow…I found this post searching Google for the same answer. My wife thinks I’m nuts. She’s never licked a 9V battery to know what it tastes like though…

  2. This is exactly how I would describe it. My girlfriend didn’t believe me so she tested me. I described it the exact same way. It is just like touching your tongue to a battery. I wish I could find a medical explanation.

  3. I have had the same problem for as long as I can remember, it feels like electricity in my mouth. I remember being very young and knowing when my mother had scraped my spaghetti o’s out of the can with my spoon, she had no idea what I was complaining about.

  4. My girlfriend didn’t believe me either when I asked for a plastic spoon for the pie she brought me. I got 2 stainless steel spoons and she asked me to tell her which one had touched the aluminium. I almost keeled over backwards and my teeth hurt too. She had vigorously scraped the bottom. I got an apology afterwards 🙂 same thing though, all my life. It sucks.

  5. My wife has this dilemma. The first time I heard it was when she asked me if I had scraped out spagetti-o’s from a can with the spoon I was handing her. I answered “yes” followed by “how did you know?”

    I searched Google, and found what might be described as a type of galvanic response. I can speculate that Al ions (from the most reactive metal) must be laden on the stainless stell fork, and causing a type of electrical, corrosive effect.

    It would appear more people are susceptible than others. I asked my wife if she had fillings, and she said no, so I don’t think it is related to that.

    I did find another thread of people that could “taste” Al through lip piercings, and others that simply can’t stand the taste of metal flatware. People must have varying degrees of sensitivity to this.

  6. Yes, me too. I’ve been trying to convince my wife to stop leaving the fork in the pie pan. I can totally tell if a fork has touched aluminum foil or an aluminum pie pan. Scraping out a spaghetti o can with the spoon you eat with is making my mouth hurt just thinking about it 🙂 It’s nice to know I’m not a total freak.

  7. Yep. Three of my siblings (out of 7) and I can taste this. I am bursting out laughing because I identify with every one of these stories, down to a double blind fork taste test. We all passed 100%!

    I really want to know what causes this, too. Until then I’ll just think of it as my secret superpower.

  8. Ha this is an old post… but I too today decided to look up my bizarre reaction to this! My husband gets the 3rd degree if brings home Cafe Rio and forgets the plastic forks! It drives me crazy!

  9. I sometimes eat frozen meals in an aluminium tray. If I use a metal fork I have pain in the area of my fillings I have to eat with a plastic fork. My dentist just laughed at me when I told him.

  10. Pretty much electrochemistry. A reaction occurs, one metal reacts with the other, producing a flow of iones (electrically charged particles) between the two metals. Unfortunately this reaction happens in saliva, causing nerve endings in tongue responsible for taste to fire and alert the brain of the metallic taste.

  11. QUESTION: Those of you who have this issue, do you *also* get a skin-crawling nails-on-the-chalkboard-effect when you hear certain kinds of metal and other surfaces scrape against each other?

  12. I have the same problem and my husband just shakes his head asking how I knew while bringing me a new fork or spoon. Kinda crazy!

  13. Oh my same problem here! Possibly related to filings? Kudos to the OP for finally proving to all of our wives that this does indeed exist.

    • I can attest that I didn’t have any fillings until recently, but I have had this “battery reaction” as long as I can remember!

  14. My mouth waters and my teeth hurt just reading this! I too have had this my whole life. I had a nuc med test in 2003 and I tasted metal after the injection, only .03% of the population are sensitive to that. And it’s not metallogeusia – or a pine nut issue.
    It happened to me last night at Carrabbas eating the lentil soup. I immediately thought it was the spoon!

  15. I have noticed this since childhood and finally had my dentist remove my metal fillings with non metal fillings, but I still get the jarring metal taste when aluminum has touched my spoon. I would love a more thorough explanation so my “nerdy” boyfriend will stop thinking I’m just complaining about nothing!

  16. I know this is an old post…but I am 41 years olf and thid has happened to me since I was a kid. Everyone thinks I am crazy and I have not met one other person with this problem. Thank god reading this I am not alone.

  17. I do not get a current, but I have always gotten a strong, unpleasant metallic taste from this. I have no fillings, so that is not the cause for me.

  18. Happened to me when I ate pie today. Had to change forks. Same taste as when I try to eat an old-fashioned milkshake and in a metal cup.

  19. Take any normal fork..rub it over a pie pan as if you were dishing out pie and you will probably taste it. Not unusual. Blame the chemistry.

  20. Yes! Last evening I ate a pudding out of an aluminium foil with a metal spoon in a dessert shop and had the impression that I was licking a battery. I then used the same kind of spoon for ice-cream and did not get any particular taste from the cutlery (unfortunately the ice-cream didn’t taste of much either). Anyway, there is definitely a chemical process happening when these two metals get into contact, but I am surprised that only a minority has the sensitivity to detect it.

  21. Having just eaten a burrito wrapped in aluminum foil, I have the most unpleasant metallic taste still lingering in my mouth. This phenomena was first noticeable when I was a child and given a stick of chewing gum that was wrapped in foil. No one understood my sensitivity! I’m hoping somewhere here will have a good explanation on this discussion. Good to hear that there are others with the same “crazy” sensitivity. Thanks for starting this post!

  22. I am not crazy!!! They all called me crazy!! They called me freak!!! I cried over and over by the dinner table!!! I hated myself a thought I was all alone. I am not alone!!!

  23. Yes!!! I cannot eat metal to metal!! It’s the most horrible sensation in my mouth, especially on my tongue. I can only eat out of metal plates or bowls with plastic utensils. At least I know I’m not the only one with this problem.

  24. It’s so cool to relate to people with the same problem. Yes I am sensitive to metal sounds or nails on the chalkboard kind of stuff.

  25. I originally found this post years ago when trying to figure out why I was experiencing this when eating from an aluminum pan with metal utensils. Ive been that way since I was a kid. It was nice to see so many people who have this as well. I always thought that I was the only one. Even stranger, the metalic battery sensation seems to have disappeared. I didnt even notice that it happened until recently when I started getting notifications about new comments on this topic. Now I’m wondering if it will resurface.

  26. This happens to me to and always has but I just thought it was certain cutlery or something. First realised what caused it when I ate baked beans out of a tin with a metal fork (when I was a student). My girlfriend also thought I was bonkers and we did the blind testing thing, which of course I won hands down.
    Can’t believe that after 30 posts and people like me stumbling across this as the only source of info, NO ONE has an explanation!!!!!! Are WE strange? Or is it them………? I’m going to get to the bottom of this and post the answer. Goodbye for now fellow AI-Fe-Ni-Cr- ers……….

  27. http://science.howstuffworks.com/question564.htm

    This page has something similar, biting into aluminium foil, and they say it’s because of the voltaic effect…
    “Basically, when you bite on foil, you set up a battery in your mouth and the electrical current stimulates nerve endings in your tooth.”

    I suspect that when you scrape the aluminium foil with your spoon tiny aluminium particles are sticking to your spoon and then you are tasting the effect in your mouth?

    I tested by putting a bit of aluminium foil in my mouth, there is no metal taste.
    Then when I touch the piece of aluminium in my mouth with my fork I can taste the electricity…

    Battery in my mouth! I guess some people are more sensitive than others…
    Gotta test with my family tonight 🙂

  28. Me too, me too! I’m not alone!!!

    I’m having a biopsy done tomorrow and plan to refuse the metal marker they want to place (titanium)….I’m paranoid that my strange reactions to metals will somehow cause a chronic irritation in my tissue! Plus the idea of any metal in me makes me cringe!

    I have zero metal fillings….but I did have a little ceramic fill in a dental chip a few years ago and I swear, I had a metallic taste for months! It was maddening! The dentist thought I was NUTS because there was no metal left in my mouth, and she said sometimes there can be nerve damage that makes things taste bitter, but I don’t think that was it! It was all surface work and it wasn’t a bitter taste, it was this annoying metallic thing! So weird!

    I figure we are so rare, there’s probably no research on how we do with these metal markers, but any of you ever get one by chance??

    Fellow Magnetos, unite! 🙂

    • hah! Yes we need a study group on this. Just like they recently discovered the lady who could smell a difference in people with Parkinson’s. Some of us are just more sensitive to certain external factors than others.

  29. so im a little different cuz when ever any type of metal scrapes on metal my mouth waters and my teeth hurt and i dont know why dose anyone else know

  30. I’d like to add that there may be a heredity aspect in all this. Like many comments have mentioned, I’ve experienced it for as long as I could remember. I was always told to stop creating excuses and just eat the mini pie crust (with metal around) and sweet potatoes filing, just like everyone else at the table. I recently discovered that both my brother and father experience the very same sensations.
    It would be cool to somehow use it for a practical purpose, or perhaps use it to accomplish a “magic trick”.
    Just saying, it’s weird and cool, and I’m curious to keep hearing from others.
    Signing out, my fellow Ions.

  31. Finally! I knew it wasn’t just me. People give you the strangest look when you tell them why you need a new utensil!

  32. It only makes sense with our day to day knowledge that it must just simply create a charge. But it is nice to know were not alone lol…..

  33. Same issue here. A metal fork that has touched a pewter plate (or any metal, it seems) makes me cringe. Same tongue-on-battery “taste”.

    I’m not as sensitive as others that can’t chew gum that came from a foil wrapper or can’t eat a burrito wrapped in aluminum foil.

    Cool to read about others that have the same issue! So, if a fork touches aluminum, we’re the only ones bothered by it? I’ve never tested this, but I’ll try it with my wife.

  34. I think it had something to do with the ph balance of your saliva, Swiss some baking powder in your mouth and you will notice a reduction in the metallic taste. For the same group, when you were young did you ever lick a cut on yourself and notice the metallic taste?

  35. Know this is a really old thread but does any one else die at the dentist? I swear one of the worse parts for me is them putting the damn mirror in my mouth, I can ‘feel’ exactly where it is and I want to punch someone with it, I feel physically sick when they use the metal tools to scrape, typing that made me nauseous lol, I think I’m either radioactive or crazy!!

  36. I found this when search “Why do I taste metal when I touch certain metal objects” When this thread came up I also struggle with not being able to eat from a fork that has touched an aluminum plate. I just have lived with it for years and thought I was overly sensitive.

    Then someone gave me a copper bracelet wrapped in what I presume to be aluminum. As she was putting it on me I could immediately taste metal however have a lot of other metal bracelets that do not effect me this way. I left it on trying to “get over the weirdness” and still it feels hot and I can taste metal. What is up with that? How can I possibly taste what is on my wrist?? (And no I am not licking the bracelet. lol)

  37. So glad to have found this thread. If I rub a fork on aluminum foil, and just lightly tap my tongue, it’s like a touching a battery to my tongue. And licking your own cut…definitely metallic…a zappy sort of zing that I never thought about. I thought it was normal. Odd…why do you think we’re like this? Does anyone here have psychic abilities? Like you have strong intuition, or you are great at guessing? Or are any of you “gifted” intelligence wise? Like in gifted classes or love to read, etc.

    Maybe we’re the next step in human evolution 😉 Or maybe people like us have always been around, being super sensitive and cool.

    • I like that one, Tiana! next step in human evolution!
      I think that the new biology textbooks this year will have at least a chapter on us and our super powers!

    • Strong intuition, seen ghosts (I assume that’s what I was seeing), and other weird psychic stuff, and pretty smart if I do say so myself. Hey, I like your theories!
      Let’s hope we can figure out if our bodies have some kind of elevated electrical charge or something, or if it’s just an acidity/ph thing. Oh, I seem to crash external hard-drives and my cell phone gets really hot sometimes. May not be related at all, just throwing it out there-

Leave a Reply