Stainless Steel

How to Clean and Maintain Tarnished Stainless Steel

stainless steel

Stainless steel is renowned for its ability to ward off rust and corrosion - it's where the 'stainless' part of the name comes from!

Stainless steel's resilience comes down to its chromium content. It contains a minimum of 10.5% chromium, which forms a protective layer of oxide (called a "passive film") on the surface of the steel. This helps prevent corrosion by blocking oxygen and moisture. Stainless steel also contains other elements - such as nickel and molybdenum - which further increase its corrosion resistance. All of these aspects make stainless steel far tougher against rust and corrosion than regular steel.

With that said, stainless steel isn’t invulnerable. Spending enough time exposed to moisture can eventually lead to it tarnishing - it can lose its lustre and become coated in a black, orange, or grey layer of corrosion. Although tarnish doesn’t damage the metal, it can spoil its appearance and make it look much older than it actually is. Luckily, tarnish can usually be cleaned with a few simple steps.

Clickmetal are the UK’s stainless steel and aluminium experts. Read on for our guide to cleaning your tarnished stainless steel and restoring it to first-rate condition.

How do you remove tarnishing on stainless steel?

To clean tarnish off stainless steel, rub the metal gently with something abrasive like steel wool or sandpaper. Stainless steel is typically hard-wearing enough to withstand abrasive materials, but if you’re worried about scratching your metal, you can easily get hold of a specialist polish and use a soft cloth to rub it in. A polish will also make the removal process quicker and easier.

If you’re looking to save money on restoring your steel, common household items that help with tarnish removal include:

  • Olive oil
  • Vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • Lemon juice

A mixture of salt, plain flour, and white vinegar. Apply it to the tarnished metal, leave for 1-2 hours, then remove.

How do you keep stainless steel tarnish-free?

Once you’ve restored your stainless steel to its former glory, it’s only natural to want to keep it looking bright and lustrous. One of the best ways to do this is to coat it in a clear sealant.

Applying a special sealant will add an additional layer of protection to your steel. It will prevent oxygen or other reactive molecules from reaching the surface, making tarnishing much less likely. Everbrite is a popular polish used for keeping stainless steel shiny.

Clickmetal is a leading online supplier of stainless steel

If you’re looking for stainless steel for your project, look no further than Clickmetal! We stock a vast range of stainless steel shapes and sheets, including:

Simply specify the shape and dimensions you require, and we’ll have your metal parts measured, cut, and sent to you, ready for use in your project.

Shop our full range of stainless steel online!

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