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Cleaning and Maintenance – Stainless Steel

Cleaning and Maintenance of your Stainless Steel Balustrade

Glass Balustrades

Stainless steel is easy to clean. Washing with soap or a mild detergent and warm water followed by a clean water rinse is usually quite adequate for domestic and architectural equipment.

Grade 316 has excellent corrosion resistance in a wide range of media. Its main advantage over grade 304 is its increased ability to resist pitting and crevice corrosion in warm chloride environments. It resists ordinary rusting in virtually all architectural applications, and is often chosen for more aggressive environments such as sea-front buildings and fittings on wharves and piers. It is also resistant to most food processing environments, can be readily cleaned, and resists organic chemicals, dye stuffs and a wide variety of inorganic chemicals.”

The stainless steel does not rust but will have brown spots appear on it. This is call “tea staining”. The stainless steel will require some cleaning every 3-6 months depending on various factors such as proximity of the ocean and other salt sources and other environmental conditions. The cause of the staining is the salt deposits (from the salt in the air from the ocean) collecting on top of the stainless steel.

The definition from the Australian Stainless Steel Development association (ASSDA) is: Tea staining is discoloration of the surface of stainless steel by corrosion. It is a cosmetic issue that does not affect the structural integrity or the lifetime of the material.

For staining issues, we suggest following the instructions for the “Stubborn Stains”.

We would also further advise to use a “Scotch Brite Sponge” (see below) to lightly scrub the surface for a SATIN/BRUSHED finish stainless steel ONLY. This is only to assist the user in cleaning.

Using abrasive surfaces and NOT to be used in Mirror finished or powder coated finish stainless steel surfaces

Application of a stainless-steel protectant will extend the period of time between the tea staining. With cleaning and reapplication of the protectant every 3-6 months or so, it will stay clean.

To achieve an enhanced appearance, simply wipe the cleaned surface dry. Do not use steel wool under any circumstances.

Methods of Cleaning Stainless Steel
Problem Cleaning Agent Comments
Routine Cleaning, All Finishes Soap or mild detergent and water, (preferably warm). Sponge, rinse well with clean water, wipe dry if necessary.
Fingerprints, All Finishes Soap and warm water or organic solvent (eg, acetone, alcohol, methylated spirits). Rinse well with clean water and wipe dry. Follow polish lines.
Stubborn Stains, All Finishes Mild cleaning solutions, eg, Jif, tooth paste, specialty stainless steel cleaners. Use rag, sponge or fibre brush. Rinse well with clean water and wipe dry. Follow polish lines.
Lime Deposits from Hard Water Solution of one part vinegar to three parts water. Sponge on solution then brush to loosen. Rinse well with clean water and wipe dry.
Oil or Grease Marks, All Finishes Organic solvents (eg, acetone, alcohol or methylated spirits. Follow with soap and water. Rinse well with clean water and wipe dry.

Ongoing Maintenance

Cleaning may vary from once to four times a year for external applications or more frequently with internal applications for hygienic reasons. Regular maintenance will protect and restore the original appearance.

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