How to Take Care of Stainless Steel

As a custom stainless steel manufacturer in Perth, we like to see our clients happy. The way that happens is if the stainless steel products we supply for them go on to provide years of great service for them. For outdoor applications, that means being able to withstand the Perth climate due to its corrosion resistance. For medical or hospitality industry, it means providing a surface that helps them adhere to enhanced sanitation standards.

When caring for stainless steel, corrosion resistance and cleanliness go hand in hand. Corrosion resistance makes it easy to keep stainless steel clean, and keeping it clean helps to preserve its corrosion resistance characteristics. We would like to provide a basic guide for the care and cleaning of stainless steel. One of the main advantages stainless steel has over many manufacturing materials is that stainless steel products have a long shelf life. We want to do everything we can to help you do that.

How To Take Care Of Stainless Steel

Cleaning Stainless Steel: the Oxide Layer

Stainless steel needs to be cleaned properly to help preserve its sanitation, its aesthetics and its corrosion resistance. Stainless steel is an alloy which contains at least 10.5% chromium. The chromium on the surface of stainless steel reacts with environmental oxygen to form a layer of chromium oxide. This is a passive layer that protects stainless steel from other oxidative elements and stresses.

If this layer is contaminated by dirt or any material, the contamination interferes with what is known as the passivation process. Corrosive agents are trapped and the corrosion protection can be reduced or compromised. To preserve and protect the integrity and appearance of the surface, frequent cleaning on a regular basis is necessary.

Stainless steel can be cleaned many different ways and actually performs better when cleaned often. It is impossible to “wear out” the outer protective layer of stainless steel through frequent cleaning as long as it is done correctly. The main factors to be considered are the grain/pattern orientation, surface/pattern roughness and for exterior use, maximum rain cleaning.

Cleaners and Methods for Stainless Steel

The most important factor: you must always consider the potential for abrasive substances, even “grit” in cleaning water, to damage stainless steel. Cleaners that aren’t properly removed can cause corrosion after cleaning. If your finish is dull or has been finished with a coarse polishing grit, you have more “leeway.”

The best procedure, no matter how much leeway you have, is to avoid using any abrasive cleaners. If you are going to use an abrasive cleaner, experiment with a “soft abrasive” in an inconspicuous area. If cleaning a special finish, seek advice from your supplier. Abrasive cleaners can also pose a risk if they are not thoroughly rinsed away from the surface.

Clean Water and Wipe

The simplest solution is the most recommended solution. Many stainless steel surfaces clean fine with clean water and a soft cloth. This can be effective for mild stains, loose soil and dirt. Then, simply rinse it with more water and wipe dry.

Cleaning Solvents

You can use an organic solvent to remove greases, oils and fingerprints that haven’t had enough time to decompose or oxidise. Mineral spirits, methyl alcohol, acetone or any of many commercially available solvent cleaners that don’t contain chlorine are appropriate. Smaller stainless steel objects can be immersed in a solution of the appropriate solvent and wiped with a cloth. The main caveat here is that solvents can cause streaking.

Household Cleaners

There are two different types of household cleaners: abrasive and non-abrasive. We recommend mild detergents that contain no chlorine. Abrasive household cleaners can cause scratching.

Commercial Cleaners

Commercial cleaners are better suited for heavy-duty cleaning. Always adhere to manufacturer’s recommendations when using commercial cleaners to ensure that you don’t damage the surface.

Western Stainless Solutions

We have provided custom design stainless steel products and installation from our Perth area facility for over thirty years. From small pubs to major hospitals, we provide bespoke stainless steel solutions for a variety of applications.

Call 1300 794 647 today to learn more.