Stainless steel is all around us. It’s used in kitchen appliances, automobiles, industrial tanks and machinery, architecture, and more. The material is known for being both sturdy and low maintenance, but it does require some routine cleaning and upkeep. This guide on how to maintain stainless steel will teach you the basics of keeping your stainless steel in good condition.
As with any other material, you must clean stainless steel regularly. The method and materials you use to clean stainless steel will differ based on how dirty the surface is:
- For a light or routine cleaning, water and soap, mild detergent, or a diluted ammonia solution will suffice. Use a soft cloth, sponge, or brush to rub the surface.
- If the surface of the steel is slightly stained or moderately dirty, clean it with a very mild abrasive solution or a solution containing bicarbonate of soda. Rub the surface gently in long strokes.
- For heavily soiled surfaces, soak the stainless steel in a solution of water and detergent or water and ammonia before cleaning. Then, complete the steps for cleaning moderately or lightly soiled surfaces as needed.
Always remember to clean in the direction of the stainless steel’s grain. Never use bleach on stainless steel, as it will damage the finish. Avoid the use of abrasives, but if the steel is dirty enough that you must use an abrasive to clean it, be sure to choose the gentlest one possible.
Polish Your Stainless Steel
Polished stainless steel is smooth and shiny, and it makes for an attractive surface. If you have an appliance or piece of machinery made of polished stainless steel, you may need to repolish it at some point in its life. Depending on your desired finish, you can use one of several different types of polishing compounds to polish your stainless steel.
Passivate Your Stainless Steel
Passivation is a common process performed on stainless steel that keeps the metal from corroding. The process is particularly common on industrial stainless steel parts and on metal tanks and pressure vessels that hold potentially corrosive materials. To passivate stainless steel, the steel must first be cleaned. Then, a passivating solution is placed on the metal, removing iron particles from the surface of the steel and coating it to increase its resistance to corrosion. If the function of your stainless steel item makes it particularly susceptible to corrosion, passivating it is a good idea.
Hopefully this guide has taught you something you didn’t know about how to maintain stainless steel. Whether you work in an industry that uses stainless steel machines or you just want to polish your kitchen utensils, use this information to keep your stainless steel beautiful and functional.