Stainless Steel Corrosion – How to Avoid It

clean stainless steel

Stainless steel is a popular choice of metal both in the home and the commercial sector because it provides a sleek contemporary look and is highly resistant to corrosion. That said, there are certain contaminants which can damage the protective layer of stainless steel fabrication components.

By taking certain preventative measures to keep stainless steel items or components safe from exposure, you can avoid this happening.

What causes stainless steel corrosion?

There are several things that can cause corrosion. These include:

  • Contact with hydrochloric or sulphuric acids
  • Contact with iron or carbon steel
  • High temperatures

Since there are more than 150 different grades of stainless steel, it’s hardly surprising that some grades will have a lower resistance than others and will be more likely to corrode.

It’s important that you understand the type of stainless steel that you’re considering for a project, that way you’ll know how to clean and maintain it to keep it in tip-top condition and prevent corrosion. 

Best cleaning methods for stainless steel

Here are a few practices which regard to cleaning that will help extend the life of your custom steel fabrication.

  • Always use stainless steel tools
  • Avoid any contact with disinfectants or bleach that chlorine as these can cause the surface of the steel to disintegrate
  • Never use abrasive scrubbing pads or steel wool
  • Wear clean gloves so as not to contaminate the steel

Routine Cleaning

You really don’t need any special products in order to clean your stainless steel – Warm water and a soft cloth will produce great results. Whenever possible, a power washer or hose that can spray warm water should be used to clean large expanses of  steel.

Mild tarnish

If water alone isn’t sufficient then vinegar and a chloride-free detergent should do the job and is perfectly safe to use on stainless steel. Be sure, however, to rinse the stainless steel thoroughly afterwards as any residue could cause damage. Don’t be tempted to soak stainless steel items either, as long-term exposure can do damage.

Tough stains

A holistic cleaner probably won’t work in cases of severe tarnish or discolouration. As an alternative, we suggest using a commercial cleaner that’s intended for stainless steel. The majority of these cleaners will do the trick provided, of course, you follow the manufacturer’s instructions.


Exercising precautions around stainless steel components and parts is all that’s involved in maintenance. For example, refrain from grinding or welding any iron-based metals close to stainless steel as this will cause oxidisation to occur, and your stainless steel will look rusty.

Alongside routine cleaning, keeping stainless steel well away from adverse environmental conditions, chemical solutions, and mechanical damage will help increase the lifespan of your custom 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.




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