Depending on the type of metal surface you are trying to clean, you may want to use sandpaper, steel wool, or a wire brush to get rid of rust build-up. If you run your knives through the dishwasher, rust stains are likely to appear. Cleaning and iron recontamination is well documented in stainless steel cleaning product suppliers literature and literature published by the Nickel Development Institute. A grinding wheel that has been contaminated by carbon or tool steel will embed steel particles and will smear iron across the surface. This is critical because minerals in water can leave deposits on stainless steel. Citric acid powder dissolved in water and even concentrated lemon juice will also remove rust in much the same way as vinegar.
If you have a good tip on how to get old tarnish off good silver, without resorting to chemical products that strip the silver and are pretty yukky all round, then I would love a post on it. I’ve tried three times to clean up my inherited silverware, in all my usual ways, but to no avail. Use the solution to remove the soil, rinsing with fresh water and a clean cloth, and dry completely. Here are ten ways to clean your stainless steel appliance for a flawless finish.
When your stainless steel has a brushed finish, scrub the stains from the surface in the same direction as the grain of the finish. Since polishes react with the steel to remove the outer-most layer, often this is only necessary when a deep-cleaning is called for or the metal has taken on a dull color. If you’re removing rust from stainless steel, make you scrub in the direction of the grain (not against). Stainless steel is also vulnerable to contamination by plain carbon steel, the kind found in tools, food cans, and steel wool.
Scrub the paste over the stainless steel surface with a mildly abrasive (fine for our bowls but not for polished stainless steel) or scratch free scrubbing pad using a circular motion. If you would like to book your BBQ in for a clean or ask us about cleaning rust off a BBQ then call Kristof on 0434 512 344 today. Some harsh chemicals and antibacterial soaps can cause rusting in stainless steel – more on this in the preventing rust section below. And yes, I love the copper cloths….excellent for cleaning pots and pans too, and they don’t rust like other ones.
Many commercial cleaners containing phosphates, synthetic detergents, and alkalis are available for severely soiled or tarnished stainless steel surfaces. If you washed you cutting knives by hand, not in the dishwashing or in the sink water because that will make them blunt quicker anyway. For premium cleaning and buffing use a Weiman Microfiber cloth along with a Weiman stainless steel wipe or aerosol. This deeper cleaning process can be used as needed (when stains or rust appear) or on a weekly/monthly basis as a preventative action.
Whether you go stainless or not is primarily an aesthetic choice, rather than a functional one. As you can see in the image below, the Weiman Stainless Steel Wipe removes the oil, fingerprints, dirt and smudges quite effectively. If it’s only a thin layer on top of the stainless steel, then a professional BBQ cleaning service can remove most of the rust. As Ted points out, even properly passivated stainless can encounter damaging circumstances.
Removing rust from a stainless steel sink is easy with a little green cleaning product called baking soda! I went to Home Depot to make sure the refrigerator is marketed as Stainless Steel. Dampen a small section of a soft flour sack and sprinkle the moistened area with Bon Ami Rub it onto your stainless steel in circular strokes, covering the entire surface. There were several products recommended on how to clean rust from inferior Stainless Steel. Any fragments left behind will rust in the grain of the stainless steel brushed finish.
You just need to saturate the stain in freshly squeezed lemon juice and sprinkle salt over it. Leave the solution on the spot for at least half an hour and then, blot it (do not rub) with a clean white towel. Place a perforated rubber or plastic mats in a stainless steel sink to reduce scratching and marking by pans and tableware. It’s important to thoroughly clean all the surfaces to be welded in order to remove any oils or greases that may be present.
S/S should be manufactured in a clean environment and most certainly away from carbon steel. That discoloration you are seeing is common to all stainless steel exhaust, caused by heat. That’s because the surface of stainless steel is protected by a nanometer-thin layer of chromium and iron oxides. Under normal use, heavy heat tinting (oxidation) of stainless steel surfaces is unlikely to be encountered. Well… the elements have finally gotten to it, and there are a few rust marks showing on the smooth stainless steel.
Rubber dish mats, wet sponges and cleaning pads are a no-no for a lengthy stay in your sink. Vinegar, much like baking soda, has the ability to remove rust from stainless steel. So, I covered the rust with baking soda, lightly scrubbed the stain until it was gone, and rinsed. Careful with your mix of citric acid and salt, not from a personal safety aspect, but because residual salt on the parts accelerates rusting. Just wondering which of the methods you mentioned for cleaning stainless steel appliances is the most effective.
Stainless is carbon based, if its protective oxide coating wears, it can bleed ‘rust spots’ when exposed to moisture. Use olive oil to remove streaks and undiluted vinegar to clean and polish stainless steel or remove heat stains from cutlery. For hard-to- clean projects, try a ScotchBrite type scouring pad when the job at hand requires a little extra effort, again in the direction of the grain. Once the sword is cleaned up, it is a good idea to seal it with something to prevent rust in the future, and help preserve the color and shine.
Some of the tests simply look for rust stains from contact with water or high humidity environments, but for detection of the ’cause’ ie free iron on the surface, rather than the ‘effect’, which is the resulting rust stains, then the ‘ferroxyl test’ is probably the better method. If the mark still won’t shift, it might be necessary to use a proprietary stainless steel cleaner. After the part is dry I polish it a bit with fine steel wool or a fine steel or brass bristle brush. Although stainless can rust on its own due to several previously mentioned conditions, it is more than likely contamineted. Do not leave stainless steel objects to soak for long periods in chlorine solutions (e.g. overnight).