Cleaning Your Stainless Steel

Stainless steel has become one of the most popular products in the modern home design. Countertops, backsplashes, cabinetry, appliances and other common home improvement installations are using stainless steel more and more. While stainless steel is durable and easy to maintain, homeowners often forget that no surface is truly maintenance-free. It must still be periodically cleaned or under the wrong conditions and neglected, can even fall into disrepair.

Basic Stainless Steel Cleaning

Basic stainless steel cleaning normally takes just wiping the surface down with a mild soap or detergent followed with a water rinse. Then, buffing with a dry cloth results in a better cleaning finish. You should avoid using cleaning products, unless they are specifically approved for stainless steel surfaces. There is no technical answer on how frequently stainless steel should be cleaned. Simply clean your stainless steel when it looks dirty. This can be a couple times a year or after every use depending on how often you use that appliance or area.

Heavy Duty Stainless Steel Cleaning

If a simple soap and water cleaning doesn’t clean your stainless steel, then you may need a chemical treatment. These acid treatments are known as Pickling and Passivation which remove different kinds of contaminants from your stainless steel surface. What most people do not know is that one of the most dangerous materials to your stainless steel is, in fact, other metals. Free iron deposits one of the most harmful to your stainless steel. When this metal mixes with the surface of your stainless steel, a layer of low chromium can result which makes the stainless steel less corrosion resistance, ultimately leading to costly repairs. Pickling or Passivation removes this low chromium layer with an acid treatment which leaves a fully restored stainless steel surface behind. The main difference between the two processes is the exact mixture and application of the acid.

You may want to consider hiring a professional for this, because both processes involve the use of dangerous chemicals, and extreme precaution should be used. They can be harmful to you, the environment, and if not properly applied and completely removed, your stainless steel as well. To ensure your stainless steel has a long life and you a healthy one, hiring a professional is a small price to pay.