It's hard to say enough positive things about the possibilities for stainless steel in the home. Countertops, backsplashes, cabinetry, and other common home improvement installations are using stainless steel more and more for durability, maintenance, and a fresh look. Too often, however, homeowners forget that no surface is truly maintenance-free. Stainless steel must still be periodically cleaned and, under the wrong conditions and left to its own devices, can even fall into disrepair.
Stainless Steel Cleaning
Basic stainless steel cleaning involves little more than wiping the surface down with a mild soap or detergent followed with a water rinse. You may find that cloth drying the surface results in a better cleaning finish. Avoid using cleaning products, unless they are specifically approved for stainless steel surfaces. How frequently stainless steel should be cleaned is a frequent question many homeowners have. There's no great secret or technical answer. Simply clean your stainless steel when it looks dirty. This can be as infrequently as a couple times a year or after every use depending on the location of the stainless steel and how you use that area.
Stainless Steel Maintenance: Pickling and Passivation
Pickling and passivation are acid treatments that remove different kinds of contaminants from your stainless steel surface. One of the most dangerous materials to your stainless steel is, in fact, other metals. Free iron deposits can be especially harmful to your stainless steel. When this metal mixes with the surface of your stainless steel, a layer of low chromium can result in reduced corrosion resistance. If the situation goes unchecked, corrosion will occur, leading to costly repair. Pickling or passivation removes this low chromium layer with acid treatment leaving a fully restored stainless steel surface behind. The main difference between the two processes is the exact mixture and application of the acid.
If a simple soap and water cleaning doesn't do the trick, you may be in need of this chemical treatment. Both processes involve the use of dangerous chemicals, and extreme precaution should be used. They can be harmful to you, the environment, and if not properly applied and completely removed, your stainless steel as well. To determine the need and extent of this treatment as well as the proper application, you may to consider hiring a professional. To ensure your stainless steel has a long life, it's a small price to pay.
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Stainless Steel Repair
If your stainless steel has become corroded, stainless steel repair may be possible, depending on the extent and nature of the corrosion. Once your stainless steel begins to show signs of corrosion, it's imperative that you contact a stainless steel repair professional as soon as possible. Many types of corrosion occur rapidly, and treating the stainless steel immediately can make the difference. For all but the beginning stages of corrosion, you're probably looking at an expensive repair project and possibly the complete replacement of your stainless steel installation. Naturally, the best plan is to take the necessary steps to prevent corrosion. Consistently keeping your stainless steel in clean condition and diligently looking for signs that something may be wrong with your stainless steel is usually plenty to ensure your can enjoy your countertops, wall tile, and cabinets for many years.