While stainless steel is often the choice of metal for its non-corrosive properties, there are certain contaminants which can damage the protective layer of custom stainless-steel fabrication components.
For this reason, it’s always best to take certain preventative measures to ensure that any stainless-steel components or pieces are kept safe from exposure.
What causes stainless steel to corrode?
There are several things which can cause stainless steel to corrode. These include:
- Contact with iron or carbon steel
- Contact with hydrochloric or sulphuric acids
- High temperatures
Because there are in excess of 150 different grades of stainless steel, it’s inevitable that some grades will be less resistant than others and therefore more prone to corrosion.
When using stainless steel for a project, be sure to understand the type of stainless steel that you are considering so that you know the best way to clean and maintain its form. Your provider should be able to suggest the most suitable type of stainless steel for your application.
Best cleaning methods for stainless steel
To extend the life of your custom stainless-steel fabrication, there are a few best practice to follow with regard to cleaning.
- Wear clean gloves so as not to contaminate the steel
- Always use stainless steel tools
- Avoid any contact with bleach or disinfectants which contain chlorine that can break down the steel’s surface
- Steer clear of abrasive scrubbing pads or steel wool
It’s surprisingly easy to clean your stainless-steel without any need for special products or materials. We find the best results are achieved with warm water and a soft cloth. If you’re cleaning a large expanse of stainless steel, then we suggest using a power washer or hose that is capable of spraying warm water, where possible.
In the case of mild tarnish, when you need a little more strength, then vinegar and chloride-free detergents can be safely used. You must, however, make sure that these are rinsed off thoroughly as any residue remaining can cause damage to stainless-steel. Also, do not soak any parts as long-term exposure can also cause damage to stainless-steel.
If you have severe tarnish or discolouration, then a holistic cleaner probably won’t work. Instead, we recommend you use a commercial cleaner intended for stainless-steel. Provided you follow the instructions, most of these cleaners are very effective.
Stainless steel maintenance
Basically, maintaining your stainless steel involves using precaution around parts and components. For instance, welding or grinding any iron-based metals near to stainless-steel will cause oxidisation, meaning your stainless steel will appear to look rusty. Alongside proper routine cleaning, keeping stainless steel away from chemical solutions, adverse environmental conditions, and mechanical damage, will all help increase the longevity of your custom stainless-steel fabrication.
If you’re considering stainless steel for your next project then the experienced team at Metro Steel is here to help. Why not give us a call on 07 3204 1000 or drop by our purpose-built facility at Kabi Circuit, Deception Bay and let’s talk.