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Stainless Steel Maintenance

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Why maintenance is necessary for stainless steel

Stainless steel is in real terms a metal which “stains less” than steel.

Surface contamination and the formation of deposits are critical factors which may lead to drastically reduced life or “tea staining” a brown/orange discolouration, which is the beginning of rust/corrosion. These contaminants may be minute particles of iron, rust or salt from naturally occurring atmospheric conditions and can result in deposits, which can be corrosive.

Working environments can also create more aggressive conditions, such as the warm, high humidity atmosphere above indoor swimming pools. These environments can increase the speed of corrosion and therefore require more frequent maintenance. Modern processes use many cleaners, sterilisers and bleaches for hygienic purposes. All these proprietary solutions, when used in accordance with their makers’ instructions are safe, but if used incorrectly (e.g. warm or concentrated) can cause discolouration and corrosion on the surface of stainless steels. Strong acid solutions (e.g. hydrochloric acid or “spirit of salts”) are sometimes used to clean masonry and tiling of buildings but they should never be permitted to come into contact with metals, including stainless steel. If this should happen the acid solution must be removed immediately by flushing with water.

 

Cleaning methods

Stainless steel is easy to clean. Washing with soap or a mild detergent and warm water followed by a clean water rinse is usually quite adequate for domestic and architectural equipment. An enhanced appearance will be achieved if the cleaned surface is finally cleaned with a silicone based stainless steel polish (even a car polish will do). Specific methods of cleaning are as follows:

  • Baked on grease 
    1. Soak effected area with a household ammonia cleaning solutions, such as ammonium hydroxide then brush in the direction that the stainless steel was polished
    2. Wipe with methylated spirits or other organic solvent
    3. Rinse well with clean water
    4. Wipe dry in the direction that the stainless steel was polished
  • Removing fingerprints on stainless steel

    1. Wipe with methylated spirits or any other organic solvent
    2. Rinse with clean water
    3. Wipe dry in the direction that the stainless steel was polished
  • Removing streaks on stainless steel
    1. Wipe with mild detergent and warm water
    2. Rinse with clean water
    3. Wipe dry in the direction that the stainless steel was polished
    4. Rub with a small amount of olive oil on a clean dry cloth
  • Removing staines or discolouration on stainless steel
    1. Use a rag or old toothbrush to rub the stain with “Jif” in the direction that the stainless steel was polished
    2. Rinse well with clean water
    3. Wipe dry in the direction that the stainless steel was polished
  • Removing minor heat stains on stainless steel
    1. Mix a pinch of salt with some soda water
    2. Wash with the soda water mixture
    3. Wipe dry in the direction that the stainless steel was polished
  • Removing lime stains on stainles steel caused by hard water
    1. Make a mixture of vinegar and water (1:3 ratio)
    2. Soak effected area then brush in the direction that the stainless steel was polished
    3. Rinse well with clean water
    4. Wipe dry in the direction that the stainless steel was polished
  • Stainless steel BBQ cabinets
    1. Please follow any of the instructions above for cleaning of stainless cabinets
    2. The hinges used for the doors on the cabinets generally are not stainless steel as there are yet to be any adequate stainless hinges available on the market. Hinges need to be sprayed regularly with “CRC” or a similar product in order to prevent rusting and binding up. If for example you live near the beach this should be done at more regular intervals (every fortnight) than if you live further inland from the ocean (once every couple of months)

 

What NOT to do

Do no rub stainless steel with steel wool as this will contaminate the surface and cause the rusting process to start almost immediately.