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How to care for Stainless Steel

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How to care for Stainless Steel

Stainless steel needs to be regularly cleaned to maintain its aesthetic appeal and to prevent corrosion. A corrosion protection film exists on the surface of stainless steel and is formed when oxygen from the atmosphere combines with the chromium in the stainless steel to form a passive chromium oxide film. Not regularly cleaning your stainless steel products can lead to corrosion as the product can become contaminated by dirt and other materials, which then become trapped against the surface creating corrosive agents and reducing the effectiveness of the corrosion protection film.

Stainless steel is easily cleaned and thrives with frequent cleaning. Unlike other, softer materials stainless steel cannot be worn out by excessive cleaning. The effects of surface or pattern roughness, grain or pattern orientation, and designs that allow for maximum rain cleaning should be considered.


Wrong Cleaning Damages

Good Cleaning

Types of Surface Contaminants

Like any surface material that is exposed to the environment, stainless steel can get dirty. Dirt and soil can consist of accumulated dust and contaminates that come from many sources, ranging from the wind and weather to grime from everyday use. These contaminates can vary greatly in their effect on appearance, corrosivity and ease of removal. Depending on the type of contaminant will affect what type of cleaner will be needed to remove it; while some contaminates may be easily removed others will require more force or specific products. Often, contaminants can be cleaned with warm water and detergent. If that does not work, there are non-scratching abrasive powders such as typical household cleaners which can be used with warm water, bristle brushes, sponges or clean soft cloths. Carbon steel brushes, steel wool and scourers should be avoided as they may leave particles embedded on the surface as well as cause scratching which can lead to rusting. For stubborn messes, more aggressive cleaning will be needed; in this instance, a small amount of vinegar can be added to the scouring powder. Cleaning should always be followed by rinsing in clean hot water and then wiping the surface completely with dry towels.

Fingerprints and Stains

Fingerprints and mild stains resulting from standard use are the most common form of surface contaminants. These usually only affect the appearance of stainless steel and rarely affect the corrosion resistance. These types of contaminants are easily removed by simple cleaning methods.

Fingerprints are some of the most common marks to ruin the shine and appearance of stainless steel. Fortunately, they are easily removed with glass cleaner or by gentle rubbing over with sodium carbonate and water applied with a soft cloth. Once again, this should be followed by a thorough rinse with warm water.


Oil and Grease

Grease, oil and other contaminants may soil surfaces during food preparation and many other household situations. These soils may be corrosive so periodic removal is a necessity. Initially, soap and warm water should be tried or a combination of detergent, water and a solvent. If this does not work, another removal option is immersion of stainless steel into chemical solvents. This process, in its simplest form, consist of putting liquid solvent onto the surface that needs to be cleaned and allowing dissolution to take place (where the chemical will work away at the contaminant).

Non-halogenated solvents, such as acetone, ethyl alcohol, mineral spirits, and turpentine work well. While these cleaners can be used as individual substances, but there are also numerous blended or compounded cleaners available. Users are advised to check the packaging or contact the suppliers of the solvents to gain information about the use of the chemical on stainless steel surfaces.

Types of Cleaners and Methods

When selecting your chosen cleaning practice, consider the possibility of scratching and the potential for post-cleaning corrosion caused by incomplete removal of cleaners. Scratching can occur by use of abrasive cleaners on bright mirror finishes, or even by ‘grit’ in wash water. This usually does not affect dull finishes or those surfaces that were completed with coarse polishing grit. The best preventative measure is to avoid using abrasive cleaners unless absolutely necessary, and to always wash down with warm water after cleaning. If the removal of tough grease, oil and stains does require abrasive removal substances, it is best to first experiment on an inconspicuous area and use a ‘soft abrasive’ such as a pumice. Harsh abrasives can permanently damage coloured and highly polished finishes so advice should be obtained from the manufacturer regarding cleaning special finishes.

Clean Water and
Wipe Dry

Stainless surfaces thrive with frequent cleaning because there is no surface coating to wear off. A soft cloth and clean warm water should always be the first choice for mild stains and loose dirt or soils. A final rinse with clean water and a dry wipe with a cloth is always recommended as it will remove any leftover contaminants and also eliminates the possibility of water stains.

Household Cleaners

Household cleaners fall into one of two categories either detergents (non-abrasives) and abrasive cleaners. Both are effective for many mild contaminants including dirt, stains and soil deposits as well as light oils such as fingerprints. Abrasive cleaners are more effective but introduce the possibility of scratching the surface, however the degree of abrasiveness will vary greatly depending on the product.

Many products can be labelled as ‘for stainless steel’ though there is no guarantee that the product is non-abrasive or non-acidic so again, it is suggested to first experiment on an inconspicuous area. In all cases and after use of all products, it is always recommended the surface is thoroughly rinsed with clean water and wiped dry with a soft cloth.

Solvent Cleaning

Organic solvents can be used to remove fresh fingerprints, oils and grease that have not had time to oxidize or decompose. There are many compounded or blended organic cleaners available that attempt to optimize both cleanability and safety attributes. Cleaning can be accomplished by using these organic cleaners with a soft cloth although occasionally this method of cleaning will leave a streaked surface.

Stainless Steel is a durable material and will clean easily providing you clean any contaminants quickly and efficiently. The main risk associated with maintaining the aesthetic appeal of stainless steel is the risk of scratches that lead to rusting. If you ever have any questions regarding the care and maintenance of your Tucker products please give us a call and our friendly staff will happily help you find the best solution for your product!

Stainless steel needs to be regularly cleaned to maintain its aesthetic appeal and to prevent corrosion. A corrosion protection film exists on the surface of stainless steel and is formed when oxygen from the atmosphere combines with the chromium in the stainless steel to form a passive chromium oxide film. Not regularly cleaning your stainless steel products can lead to corrosion as the product can become contaminated by dirt and other materials, which then become trapped against the surface creating corrosive agents and reducing the effectiveness of the corrosion protection film.

Stainless steel is easily cleaned and thrives with frequent cleaning. Unlike other, softer materials stainless steel cannot be worn out by excessive cleaning. The effects of surface or pattern roughness, grain or pattern orientation, and designs that allow for maximum rain cleaning should be considered.


Types of Surface Contaminants

Like any surface material that is exposed to the environment, stainless steel can get dirty. Dirt and soil can consist of accumulated dust and contaminates that come from many sources, ranging from the wind and weather to grime from everyday use. These contaminates can vary greatly in their effect on appearance, corrosivity and ease of removal. Depending on the type of contaminant will affect what type of cleaner will be needed to remove it; while some contaminates may be easily removed others will require more force or specific products. Often, contaminants can be cleaned with warm water and detergent. If that does not work, there are non-scratching abrasive powders such as typical household cleaners which can be used with warm water, bristle brushes, sponges or clean soft cloths. Carbon steel brushes, steel wool and scourers should be avoided as they may leave particles embedded on the surface as well as cause scratching which can lead to rusting. For stubborn messes, more aggressive cleaning will be needed; in this instance, a small amount of vinegar can be added to the scouring powder. Cleaning should always be followed by rinsing in clean hot water and then wiping the surface completely with dry towels.

Wrong Cleaning Damages

Good Cleaning

Types of Surface Contaminants

Like any surface material that is exposed to the environment, stainless steel can get dirty. Dirt and soil can consist of accumulated dust and contaminates that come from many sources, ranging from the wind and weather to grime from everyday use. These contaminates can vary greatly in their effect on appearance, corrosivity and ease of removal. Depending on the type of contaminant will affect what type of cleaner will be needed to remove it; while some contaminates may be easily removed others will require more force or specific products. Often, contaminants can be cleaned with warm water and detergent. If that does not work, there are non-scratching abrasive powders such as typical household cleaners which can be used with warm water, bristle brushes, sponges or clean soft cloths. Carbon steel brushes, steel wool and scourers should be avoided as they may leave particles embedded on the surface as well as cause scratching which can lead to rusting. For stubborn messes, more aggressive cleaning will be needed; in this instance, a small amount of vinegar can be added to the scouring powder. Cleaning should always be followed by rinsing in clean hot water and then wiping the surface completely with dry towels.

Wrong Cleaning Damages

Good Cleaning

Fingerprints and Stains

Fingerprints and mild stains resulting from standard use are the most common form of surface contaminants. These usually only affect the appearance of stainless steel and rarely affect the corrosion resistance. These types of contaminants are easily removed by simple cleaning methods.

Fingerprints are some of the most common marks to ruin the shine and appearance of stainless steel. Fortunately, they are easily removed with glass cleaner or by gentle rubbing over with sodium carbonate and water applied with a soft cloth. Once again, this should be followed by a thorough rinse with warm water.


Oil and Grease

Grease, oil and other contaminants may soil surfaces during food preparation and many other household situations. These soils may be corrosive so periodic removal is a necessity. Initially, soap and warm water should be tried or a combination of detergent, water and a solvent. If this does not work, another removal option is immersion of stainless steel into chemical solvents. This process, in its simplest form, consist of putting liquid solvent onto the surface that needs to be cleaned and allowing dissolution to take place (where the chemical will work away at the contaminant).

Non-halogenated solvents, such as acetone, ethyl alcohol, mineral spirits, and turpentine work well. While these cleaners can be used as individual substances, but there are also numerous blended or compounded cleaners available. Users are advised to check the packaging or contact the suppliers of the solvents to gain information about the use of the chemical on stainless steel surfaces.

Types of Cleaners and Methods

When selecting your chosen cleaning practice, consider the possibility of scratching and the potential for post-cleaning corrosion caused by incomplete removal of cleaners. Scratching can occur by use of abrasive cleaners on bright mirror finishes, or even by ‘grit’ in wash water. This usually does not affect dull finishes or those surfaces that were completed with coarse polishing grit. The best preventative measure is to avoid using abrasive cleaners unless absolutely necessary, and to always wash down with warm water after cleaning. If the removal of tough grease, oil and stains does require abrasive removal substances, it is best to first experiment on an inconspicuous area and use a ‘soft abrasive’ such as a pumice. Harsh abrasives can permanently damage coloured and highly polished finishes so advice should be obtained from the manufacturer regarding cleaning special finishes.

Clean Water and
Wipe Dry

Stainless surfaces thrive with frequent cleaning because there is no surface coating to wear off. A soft cloth and clean warm water should always be the first choice for mild stains and loose dirt or soils. A final rinse with clean water and a dry wipe with a cloth is always recommended as it will remove any leftover contaminants and also eliminates the possibility of water stains.

Household Cleaners

Household cleaners fall into one of two categories either detergents (non-abrasives) and abrasive cleaners. Both are effective for many mild contaminants including dirt, stains and soil deposits as well as light oils such as fingerprints. Abrasive cleaners are more effective but introduce the possibility of scratching the surface, however the degree of abrasiveness will vary greatly depending on the product.

Many products can be labelled as ‘for stainless steel’ though there is no guarantee that the product is non-abrasive or non-acidic so again, it is suggested to first experiment on an inconspicuous area. In all cases and after use of all products, it is always recommended the surface is thoroughly rinsed with clean water and wiped dry with a soft cloth.

Solvent Cleaning

Organic solvents can be used to remove fresh fingerprints, oils and grease that have not had time to oxidize or decompose. There are many compounded or blended organic cleaners available that attempt to optimize both cleanability and safety attributes. Cleaning can be accomplished by using these organic cleaners with a soft cloth although occasionally this method of cleaning will leave a streaked surface.

Stainless Steel is a durable material and will clean easily providing you clean any contaminants quickly and efficiently. The main risk associated with maintaining the aesthetic appeal of stainless steel is the risk of scratches that lead to rusting. If you ever have any questions regarding the care and maintenance of your Tucker products please give us a call and our friendly staff will happily help you find the best solution for your product!

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  • Katrina Hudson