How to Clean Stainless Steel

September 16, 2013

It’s great to learn about this material, the grades of stainless steel available,  and especially methods recommended by experts on how to maintain and clean stainless steel. If you are interested in more supporting information please read on.

Teak Warehouse doesn’t recommend using any harsh chemicals to clean stainless steel. Chloride derived cleaners; as well as bleaches, should be completely avoided. In fact, because stainless steel is such a versatile material, you will likely need some advise on how to keep it’s appearance stunning.

Keeping your stainless steel looking beautiful can take a few minutes a week by performing a simple wipe down with a dry microfiber cloth; this will prevent most cloudy (minimal) corrosion.  Microfiber cloths are available at most home improvement stores or even at electronics stores. These cloths are delicate and the material essentially grips dirt at the molecular level to avoid the need for cleaners. Often times, water is enough to clean with, if using a microfiber towel.

More often than not, you’ll typically be cleaning stainless steel once every 6-12 months with soap and water, depending on your own environment and, unless you are in particularly harsh conditions (like direct salt air environments, around certain trees that produce sap in your garden; close to the coast or sailing on the ocean), this regimen will be enough to maintain the beauty of your furniture.

In this video, Eduardo, General Manager for Teak Warehouse talks about how to clean stainless steel furniture:

Many of our customers mention products made by 3M, as great products for their stainless steel.  This well-respected company with decades of experience in renewing the original look of Stainless steel components. Remember: if you choose to use chemical cleaners in some extreme cases then do so; 3M products are among the most respected products for cleaning stainless steel on the market.

Please take a look at the video to see our  recommendations.

If using 316 marine grade stainless steel you could experience “tea” staining especially if you do not wash this outdoor product and take care of it. Our 316 will not rust using the above methods for cleaning. This is the highest grade available for the marine industry and our teak furniture. It is the most expensive but also the best available.

If you have lower grades of stainless, such as 304 the risk of rust is there, especially if there is no maintenance and there is a greater risk if these lessor grades are not electro polished.  Therefore the quality of  the grade and manufacture and considering the environments where the furniture will be used are priorities when purchasing this material.

 

How to clean Stainless Steel of Hard Water Marks

To clean hard water marks (if you didn’t wipe down the stainless steel after spraying it with the garden hose, for instance), you can use a mild 15-25% vinegar to water solution. This is made using roughly 3 parts water, 1 part vinegar after cleaning with this solution, be sure to rinse with clean water and wipe to dry.

 

A bit of information about 316 Marine Grade Steel

316 Stainless is an alloy of stainless steel that uses a higher content of molybdenum and nickel. Simply put, it is these components, which allow this grade (called “marine grade”) of stainless to enjoy more strength and corrosion resistance. Regular stainless steel (or lower grades, like 302 or 304) are similar in appearance but don’t have as much resistance to scratching, pitting, denting and/or corroding.

What you need to know is that for the series of stainless which sees the most commercial usage: 316 represents the top tier and most desirable characteristics and beauty.

Teak Warehouse uses only high quality 316 stainless steel in its products featuring stainless steel and for many pieces of hardware on its teak furniture.  Among the reasons for using 316 Stainless steel are the corrosion resistance properties, long-life and good looks. Stainless steel as a material is not completely immune to corrosion, but it offers excellent characteristics for all but the harshest environments. That said: Stainless steel for  outdoor furniture  use offers a nearly unbeatable option for both good looks, and great wear characteristics.

You can see just how beautiful this stainless steel is when you look at the stark contrast in one of our pieces that highlight both materials (teak and stainless). The warm tones of the wood look so inviting against the backdrop of the cold metallic surface of the 316. Our furniture uses this grade of stainless steel, because we believe that all furniture should be built to last and designed to make a big impression. Marine grade stainless steel stays good looking for longer and is easier to maintain and provides the best possible build quality.

 

Clean Stainless Steel is beautiful

When your stainless steel begins to get dirty, it is often in the form of cloudiness on the surface, compared to the original luster and surface grain pattern you saw when you first used your furniture.

While you don’t need to wait until stainless steel gets noticeably dirty to clean it, you can definitely use that as an indicator of how often you might need to plan to clean it, to maintain the look you love.

One concept is certain: clean and well maintained stainless steel is far more beautiful, statement making and inviting than the cloudy or otherwise dirty stainless steel you might find in neglected pieces. While stainless steel starts with a leg up on most materials for the length of time it can stay clean, it does require some attention. Using the simple techniques above (and in the accompanying video) is our recommendation on how to clean stainless steel.

 

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