Cleaning stainless steel

Stainless steel is a high-quality material often used in areas where hygiene and appearance really matter. Whether your stainless steel is for indoor or outdoor use, you should always take good care of it to keep it in perfect condition. materials4me has put together some tips on caring for your stainless steel, showing you how to remove stains and limescale and what you should do after welding.

For minor stains we recommend that you clean stainless steel immediately. Generally all you will need is a damp cloth or soft sponge and a little detergent. After cleaning, rub the surface dry to prevent limescale stains and deposits.

Stainless Steel - removing streaks and smears

Removing streaks and smears

Vaseline or methylated spirits are well-known home remedies for removing streaks and smears from stainless steel surfaces. They can also be used to remove light grease and oily stains. But remember, methylated spirits are highly flammable and must be kept away from open flames and hot surfaces.

Removing grease splatter and fingerprints

Make a paste of 3 parts baking soda and 1 part water. Rub the paste into the stainless steel surface. The fine consistency of the mixture removes dirt and fingerprints without damaging the finish of the material. Then rinse the surface thoroughly with water. And don’t forget to rub it dry.

Removing adhesive residues

Stickers or adhesive residues should be removed as quickly as possible. The best way to remove adhesive residues is with acetone. Alternatively you can use a cleaning fluid containing alcohol.

Stainless Steel - Tackling stubborn limescale buildup

Tackling stubborn limescale buildup

Limescale forms in areas where a lot of water is used. If you can’t keep your stainless steel surfaces dry at all times, clean them regularly with vinegar cleaner. You can make this yourself by mixing 1 part vinegar concentrate with 4 parts water. Use as follows:

  • Apply vinegar cleaner and leave it to work for 5-10 minutes,
  • then rinse it off with plenty of water and
  • rub dry.

You may need to repeat this several times to remove the limescale completely.

Cleaning stainless steel after welding

Stainless steel parts should always be treated after welding to remove discoloration caused by oxidation and restore the material’s corrosion-resistant properties. Special stainless steel pickling pastes are available for this. Observe the safety precautions when using as pickling pastes are aggressive.

Stainless steel - cleaning after welding

The dos and don’ts of caring for and cleaning stainless steel

In addition to the above cleaning methods, we’d like to give you a few more tips on how to take care of stainless steel:

  • Don’t clean stainless steel with anything that scratches, such as abrasive cleaners, steel wool, scouring pads or other cleaning utensils.
  • Don’t use cleaning agents containing chlorine or other aggressive substances. Take your time and clean stainless steel very thoroughly.
  • When cleaning stainless steel always wipe in the direction of the grain. Otherwise the surface will lose its matte finish.
  • Don’t use different cleaning agents together as this can cause harmful chemical reactions and damage the material.