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Here are some tips for looking after stainless steel, even in harsh environments

Indoor structures

Benchtops, rangehoods, etc should be wiped with a warm soapy cloth first, then with a good quality waterbased cleaner. If salts or other contaminants are left to build up they may cause a stain to appear on the surface of the stainless. This is known as Tea Staining, and is chemically quite different to rust, though it is often confused for rust and is in fact the early stage of the oxidising process. Tea staining is easily removed with Quickleen-S.

Simply wipe on with a damp cloth, then wipe or rinse off with water. Always wipe in the direction of the grain, and never allow the use of harsh cleaners or mild steel cleaning pads (eg steel wool) as they’ll scratch the surface of the stainless and leave embedded iron filings that may rust

Don’t use products containing bleach, and be aware that some commercial cleaning products such as Muriatic Acid can leave permanent marks on the surface of stainless steel

Outdoor structures

Maintenance in external situations is similar to that for internal structures, but with the following extra considerations:

In coastal regions be aware that salts and other contaminants in the atmosphere will effect all surfaces, including stainless steel (also anywhere around chlorine or saltwater swimming pools)

Marine grade (316) stainless should be used for external applications as it contains a higher percentage of corrosion resisting elements. Tea staining can still occur if contaminants are allowed to build up, but rinsing the stainless once a week with clean water will help significantly to keep the surface looking good

Stainless Steel Polish can be applied periodically to give additional protection from the elements. This is particularly good for BBQ’s, benches, balustrades, light fittings, etc

Galvanic / dissimilar metal corrosion

Wherever possible try to avoid different types of metal from permanently contacting each other, especially in wet areas - this includes fixings such as bolts, screws, rivets, etc. The resulting electrolysis can be a problem depending on a few variables, but especially in coastal areas it's best to avoid this if you can.   A rare exception to this is the combination of stainless steel and brass which don't react negatively with each other

Bell Stainless can also arrange a periodic maintenance schedule to suit your requirements. Contact us for an obligation-free quote

How to maintain your stainless steel assets