Stainless steel CAN Rust and Stain – Here’s how to Prevent it

By superadmin on September 16, 2019 in Blog

Thought stainless steel (SS) couldn’t rust or stain? You might be surprised to learn that it actually can under specific circumstances. Whilst high quality stainless steel is remarkably resistant to staining and corrosion, if proper precautions are not taken you may run into issues. In this blog post, we’ll fill you in on everything you need to know about preventing rust and staining on stainless steel.

How is SS protected from rust and staining?

Steel itself is not rust resistant, and when exposed to oxygen it will start to form ferric oxide and turn a rusty red colour. However, stainless-steel features a chromium oxide covering which provides added protection against corrosion and staining. This protective layer is not visible to the eye, but rest assured it is there and it will do its job well provided that it does not become damaged.

The chromium oxide coating is NOT a permanent covering, and it can be removed by careless cleaning techniques, scratching or simply due to age. This does not mean you should be concerned at the first sight of a scratch, as the chromium oxide layer will regenerate provided that the surrounding area has not been entirely stripped. There must be a minimum of 12% chromium in the local area for a new protective barrier to form.

Protecting the Chromium Oxide Layer from Damage

If you want to prevent rust and stains long term, you will need to carefully follow the care guidelines. Here are a few tips to help you get the most out of your investment:

  • Clean Gently – Rapid scrubbing is likely to wear down the chromium coating a lot quicker. Whether you have structural stainless steel or a stainless-steel home appliance, you only need to use warm soapy water and a cloth to clean stains and grime.
  • Use Quality Detergent – You should try to avoid any detergents that are not made specifically for SS. Products containing ingredients like iodine, chloride and fluoride should be avoided. Alcohol based cleaners should NEVER be used.
  • Say NO to Steel Wool – Steel wool can damage your SS as it has a very abrasive surface. The iron particles can become lodged in the surface, eventually causing rust to appear.
  • Work with the Specialists – Mascot Steel fabricate quality SS for just about any project. We have decades of experience in the industry and can offer professional advice to suit your application. For example, if you’re looking for SS for an environment with chlorine or saltwater, we can ensure appropriate passivation to guard against corrosion. Just let us know what you need, and we’ll steer you in the right direction.

Best Cleaning Methods for SS

SS looks great when new, and if you want it to continue to look great throughout its service life you will need to clean carefully. The best way to keep your SS shiny and free of stains/rust is to simply use regular soap. This mild detergent will clean away all surface debris, and the gentle rubbing action will also aid in the formation of a new chromium oxide layer in areas which have suffered damage.

Looking for a SS Fabricator? Contact Mascot Steel Today

SS is a great choice for your project. By following care guidelines, you can preserve the appearance of your SS and enjoy many years of durability and reliable service. If you’re keen to get started on your project and would like to seek some advice or engage us as your fabricator of choice, please get in touch with us today on (02) 9313 1313, or contact us via our website. We look forward to assisting you!