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Cleaning Stainless Steel




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DESIGNER
HANDBOOK THE CARE AND
CLEANING
O F S TA I N L E S S
Value
Option
TABLE OF CONTENTS
INTRODUCTION 1
WHAT IS STAINLESS STEEL 1
ALLOY TYPES 1
FORMS AND FINISHES 2
CLEANING OF STAINLESS STEEL 3
Types of surface contaminants 3
TYPES OF CLEANERS AND METHODS 4
EFFECTIVE CLEANING METHODS 5
CARE OF STAINLESS STEEL 5
LISTING OF STAINLESS STEEL PIPE
AND TUBE MANUFACTURERS Specialty Steel Industry
of North America that this new
handbook contains published by the
Committee of Stainless American Iron and
The Specialty Steel Industry of the North
Steel Institute which no longer
America SSINA and the Current SSINA member companies it represents
have made were represented effort to ensure that the that
committee presented in this handbook is technically
correct However neither the SSINA nor its
The SSINA wishes to member companies warrants the accuracy
the information contained in this the
or its suitability for any general and specific
of the Nickel Development use The SSINA assumes no liability or
Institute and its consultant of any kind in connection Marketing
Resources the use of this information The reader is
advised that the material contained PA for help in
should not be used or relied on for any
preparing the contents of specific or general applications without
first
this handbook securing competent
WHAT IS STAINLESS and stainless steel are Stainless steel is not a single alloy but rather the name applies to a group of
related and in many applications alloys containing a minimum 105 chromium Other elements are added and the
each is dependent upon the other In
chromium content increased to improve the corrosion resistance and heat resisting
the handling of food chemicals
properties enhance mechanical properties andor improve fabricating and in the use of
stainless steel as a construction material There are over 50 stainless steel grades that were originally recognized by the wall panels entry
ways signs etc Iron and Steel Institute AISI Three general are used to identify steel provides the degree steel They are
of corrosion resistance that is necessary
1 Metallurgical structure
to prevent product contamination or
2 The AISI numbering system 200 300 and 400 series rusting However stainless best when clean cleanliness 3 The Unified Numbering System
which was developed by the American Society
is essential for maximum resistance for Testing Materials ASTM and the Society of Automotive Engineers SAE to apply
to corrosion to all commercial metals and alloys
This handbook describes various
The various types of stainless steel are detailed in a designer handbook for cleaning stainless steel
Guidelines for the Selection and Use of Stainless Steel available from the manufacture and in use This
includes methods for removing freeiron Steel Industry of North America SSINA Several other publications are also on stainless steel surfaces
including Stainless Steel Fabrication Stainless Steel Fasteners Stainless Steel
that may have been picked up from Finishes Stainless Steel and Stainless Steel Architectural tools and for removing
to mention a few
general accumulation of dirt grime and
surface stains that occur during normal
ALLOY and exposure to the elements
The reader should keep in mind 304 is the basic 316 offers more there are few specific rules for a
austenitic stainless steel and has through the addition of procedure Accordingly the been found suitable for a wide range
This grade is desirable where the
methods discussed in this handbook of applications It is the most readily possibility of severe corrosion exists
are suggestions Each manufacturer or available in a variety of product forms such as heavy industrial after obtaining competent
advice This grade is easy to form and fabricate and marine respect to their individual with excellent resistance to
corrosion
316L is the low carbon version of should select methods
304L is the low carbon version to those requirements 430 is a straight chromium
ferritic
304 It is sometimes specified where
stainless steel with lower corrosion
extensive welding will be done
resistance than the 300 series It is
principally employed for interior use
FORMS AND FINISHES Table 1 OF STAINLESS STEEL PRODUCT FORMS
Item Description strip plate and bar forms are shown in
Thickness Width Diameter or Size
Table 1 Sheet finishes are shown in Table 2 Sheet Coil and cut lengths
Bar product conditions and finishes are Mill finishes Nos 1 2D 2B under 316 476mm 24 6096mm over
Pol finishes Nos 3 4 6 7 8 under 316 476mm all widths
shown in Table 3 Plate is shown in Table 4
Strip Cold finished coils or cut lengths under 316 476mm under 24 6096mm
In addition to the common mill and polished Pol finishes Nos 3 4 6 7 8 under 316 476mm all there are numerous
special finishes Plate Flat rolled or forged 316 476mm over over 10 254mm
used for architectural applications Some of Bar Hot finished rounds squares
the more delicate finishes require special octagons and hexagons
14 635mm when cleaning and the advice Hot finished flats 18 318mm to 14 635mm to

8 203mm incl 10 254mm incl
of the supplier should be obtained
Cold finished rounds squares
The most common special finishes are octagons and hexagons
over 18 in Table 5 Cold finished flats 18 318mm to 38 953mm to

4 12 114mm 4 12 114mm
Wire Cold finishes only in coil
Round square octagon
hexagon and flat wire under 316 476mm under 38 953mm
Pipe Several different with differing are available For information on standard
Tubing sizes consult your local Steel Service Center or the SSINA
Extrusions Not considered standard shapes but of potentially wide interest Currently limited in size to
approximately 6 12 1651mm diameter or Table 2 STANDARD MECHANICAL SHEET FINISHES
Unpolished or Rolled Finishes
No 1 A rough dull surface which results from hot rolling to the specified thickness followed by annealing
and descaling
No 2D A dull finish which results from cold rolling followed by annealing and descaling and may perhaps get
a light roll pass through unpolished rolls A 2D finish is used where appearance is not of primary concern
No 2B A bright coldrolled finish resulting in the same manner as No 2D finish except that the annealed and
descaled sheet receives a final light roll pass through polished rolls This is the coldrolled
finish that can be used as is or as a preliminary step to polishing
Polished Finishes
No 3 An intermediate polish surface obtained by finishing with a 100grit abrasive Generally used where a
semifinished polished surface is required A No 3 usually receives additional polishing during fabrication
No 4 A polished surface obtained by finishing with a 120150 mesh abrasive following initial grinding with coarser
abrasives This is a bright finish with a visible grain which prevents mirror reflection
No 6 A dull satin finish having lower reflectivity than No 4 finish in a medium of abrasive and oil It is used for
architectural applications and ornamentation where a higher luster is undesirable and to contrast with
brighter finishes
No 7 A highly reflective finish that is obtained by buffing finely ground surfaces but not to the extent of completely
removing the grit lines It is used chiefly for architectural and ornamental purposes
No 8 The most reflective surface obtained by polishing with successively finer abrasives and buffing extensively
until all grit lines from preliminary grinding operations are removed It is used for applications such as mirrors
and 3 CONDITIONS FINISHES FOR BAR CLEANING OF
Conditions Surface Finishes STAINLESS STEEL
Hot worked only a Scale not removed excluding spot conditioning Stainless steels need to be
cleaned for
b Rough turned
c Pickled or blast cleaned and pickled aesthetic and to preserve
Annealed or otherwise a Scale not removed excluding spot
corrosion resistance Stainless steel is
heat treated b Rough turned protected from corroson
by a thin layer of
c Pickled or blast cleaned and pickled
chromium oxide Oxygen from the
d Cold drawn or cold rolled
e Centerless ground atmosphere combines with the chromium
f Polished in the stainless steel to form this passive
Annealed and cold worked d Cold drawn or cold rolled chromium oxide film that
protects from
to high tensile strength e Centerless ground
f Polished
further corrosion Any contamination of the
surface by dirt or other material hinders
Surface finishes b e and f are applicable to round bars only this passivation process and traps
corrosive
Bars of the 4xx series stainless steels which are highly hardenable such as Types 414 420 420F 431 440A
440B and 440C are annealed before rough turning Other hardenable grades such as Types 403 410 416 and agents reducing corrosion
protection Thus
416Se may also require annealing depending on their composition and size some form of routine
cleaning is necessary
Produced in Types 302 303Se 304 and 316
to preserve the appearance and integrity of
the surface Stainless steels are easily
Table 4 CONDITIONS FINISHES FOR PLATE cleaned by many
different methods They
Condition and Finish Description and Remarks actually thrive with
frequent cleaning and
Hot rolled Scale not removed Not heat treated unlike some other
materials it is impossible
Plates not recommended for final use in this condition to wear out stainless steel by excessive
Hot rolled annealed Scale not removed Use of plates in this condition is generally confined cleaning The effect of
or heat treated to heat resisting applications Scale impairs corrosion resistance
roughness grainpattern orientation and
Hot rolled annealed or Condition and finish commonly preferred for corrosion resisting and
designs that allow for maximum rain cleaning
heat treated blast cleaned most heat resisting or pickled
exterior applications should be considered
Hot rolled annealed descaled Smoother finish for specialized and temper passed
Types of surface contaminants
Hot rolled annealed descaled Smooth finish with greater freedom from surface imperfections Dirt Like any surface
that is exposed to
cold rolled annealed descaled than the above
the environment stainless steel can get dirty
optionally temper passed
Dirt and soil can consist of accumulated
Hot rolled annealed or heat Polished finishes refer to Table 2
treated surface cleaned dust and a variety of
contaminates that
and polished come from many sources
ranging from the
wind to everyday use These contaminates
Surface inspection is not practicable on plates which have not been pickled or otherwise descaled
will vary greatly in their effect on
appearance and corrosivity and ease of
Table 5 SPECIAL STAINLESS STEEL FINISHES removal While some may
be easily
Finish Description removed others may
require specific
Selective Polishing Selective polishing of unprotected areas to produce patterns cleaners for effective
removal It may be
Swirl Swirl patterns obtained with grinding wheels or stainless steel wire brushes necessary to identify
the contaminate or
Engine Turn Rings circles or overlapping circles created with a CNCoperated machine experiment with various
cleaners
Distressed Random scratch pattern covering entire surface
Frequently warm water with or without a
Angel Hair Finer random scratch pattern
gentle detergent is sufficient Next in order
Abrasive Blast Matte uniform blast media choice determines appearance
are mild abrasive powders
Selective Etching Etching of selected surface areas to obtain a pattern
such as typical household cleaners These
Embossing Raised patterns pressed into the stainless by rolling
can be used with warm water bristle
Applied to cut sheets numerous colors also called INCO or light interference coloring
Epoxy Paint Applied to coils full range of colors brushes sponges or clean
cloths
Sputtering Thin layer of a colored material applied to surface
Plating with colored andor precious metals
Perforated Designs Simple or elaborate patterns
3
Ordinary carbon steel brushes or steel Shop oil and Grease Shop oils which may not a problem on dull finishes or those
wool should be avoided as they may leave carry grease grit and metal chips surfaces finished with a coarse embedded on the
surface which commonly produce surface soiling after grit The best preventative measure is to
can lead to RUSTING many shop operations Greases and other avoid using abrasive cleaners unless
For more aggressive cleaning a small contaminates may also soil surfaces in food absolutely necessary When abrasives are
amount of vinegar can be added to the preparation and many other household and needed first experiment on an
scouring powder commercial situations These soils may be inconspicuous area A soft abrasive such
Cleaning should always be followed by corrosive in themselves or may not allow the as pumice should be used Abrasives can
rinsing in clean hot water surface to maintain passivity and so permanently damage some colored and
When water contains mineral solids periodic removal is a necessity Initially highly polished finishes Advice should be
which leave water spots it is advisable to soap or detergent and water may be tried or obtained from the finish supplier when
wipe the surface completely with dry towels a combination of detergent and water plus a cleaning special finishes Many and Stains
Fingerprints and mild solvent The removal of oil and grease from contain corrosive ingredients which resulting from normal use in
stainless steel parts by immersion in thorough postclean rinsing with and architectural applications are chemical solvents
is frequently used with water however thorough rinsing is
the most common surface contaminates coldformed or machined parts that are recommended for all cleaning these usually
affect only laden with lubricants This process in its Clean Water and Wipe The simplest and seldom have an effect on
simplest form consists of bringing liquid and least costly method that will resistance They are easy to solvent into contact
with the surface to be do the job is always the best by a variety of simple cleaning cleaned and allowing dissolution to take
Stainless surfaces thrive with Fingerprints are probably the place for example washing a surface with cleaning because
there is no surface
most troublesome marks to remove from the or similar liquid or stirring a coating to wear off stainless steels A soft
surface of smooth polished or bright batch of small parts in a container of cloth and clean warm water should stainless
steel Fortunately they solvent solvents such as be the first choice for mild stains and loose
can be removed with a glass cleaner or by acetone methyl alcohol ethyl alcohol dirt and soils A final rinse with clean water
gentle rubbing with a paste of soda ash methyl ethyl ketone benzene isopropyl and a dry wipe will complete the carbonate and
water applied with alcohol toluene mineral spirits and and eliminate the possibility of water stains
a soft rag Once again this should be turpentine work well Solvent Cleaning Organic solvents can be
followed by a thorough warm water rinse Many of these solvents are widely used to remove fresh fingerprints and oils
There are several special surface finishes used as individual cleaners but there are and greases that have not had time to
where fingerprints present special problems thousands of blended or compound cleaners oxidize or decompose The No 6 etched some
abrasive on the market Users are advised to contact solvent is one that does not contain finishes and light suppliers of
solvents for information on their such as acetone methyl alcohol and
colors applied over satin or brushed finishes applications on stainless steel mineral spirits There are many
compounded or blended organic there are several special finishes
TYPES OF CLEANERS that are commercially available and to withstand fingerprints AND METHODS
to optimize both cleanability and swirl patterns lined patterns etc General Precautions
attributes Cleaning can be accomplished
In selecting cleaning practices consider the by immersing smaller articles directly into
possibility of scratching and the potential for the solvent wiping with postcleaning corrosion
caused by cloths or by sophisticated vapor or spray
incompletely removed cleaners Scratching methods The wiping technique sometimes
can occur on a bright mirror finish by leaves a streaked surface
cleaners that contain hard abrasives or
even by grit in wash water This is CLEANING METHODS
CARE OF STAINLESS STEEL
Job Cleaning Agents Comments The cleaner stainless
steel can be kept
while in storage being processed or Cleaning Warm Water Soap Ammonia Detergent Apply with sponge or soft cloth
Can be used on all finishes use the greater the assurance of optimum
corrosion resistance Some tips on the and Smears 3M Stainless Steel Cleaner and Polish Provides barrier film to minimize
Arcal 20 LacONu Lumin Wash OCedar fingerprints Can be used on all finishes of stainless steel are listed below
Cream Polish Stainless Shine
1 Use paper or other protective
wrapping on the surface of the
Stubborn Stains 3M Stainless Steel Cleaner and Polish Rub lightly using dry damp cloth in
stainless steel until Discoloration Allchem Concentrated Cleaner Samae the direction of polish lines on the
Twinkle Cameo Copper Cleaner Grade FFF stainless steel is complete
or Grade F Italian Pumice Whiting or talc
2 Handle stainless steel with clean
Liquid Nu Steel Coppers or Revere Stainless
Steel Cleaner Household Cleaners Lumin gloves or cloths to guard against
Cleaner Zud Restoro StaClean Highlite
stains or finger marks
Allen Polish PennyBrite CopperBrite
3 Avoid the use of oily rags or greasy
Grease and Blood ScotchBrite Power Pad 2001 EasyOff Excellent removal on acids all finishes
cloths when wiping the or DeGreaseIt 4 to 6 hot solution Particularly useful where Foods of such
agents as trisodium is not practical 4 Do routine cleaning of exposed
5 to 15 caustic soda solution
surfaces Buildings with window
Grease and Oil Any good commercial detergent or Apply with sponge or soft cloth in washing systems can
utilize this
caustic cleanser direction of polish lines
method to clean exterior Use of proprietary names is intended only to indicate a type of cleaner and does not constitute an endorsement 5 Where
possible after cleaning
Omission of any proprietary cleanser does not imply its inadequacy All products should be used in strict accordance
with instructions on package rinse thoroughly with
water
6 Cleaning with Cleaners Household cleaners fall or low in chloride The cleaning method detergents must
be avoided
into two categories detergent generally employed with these cleaners is to 7 Even the finest cleaning powders
and abrasive cleaners Both are effective for apply them to the stainless surface and can scratch or burnish
a mild dirt stain and soil deposits as follow by cloth wiping or to wipe directly finish On polished as light
oils such as fingerprints The with a soft cloth In all rubbing or wiping should be done
abrasive cleaners are more effective but cases the cleaned surface should be in the direction of the
polish the possibility of scratching the thoroughly rinsed with clean water and NOT across However the
degree of wiped dry with a soft cloth if water streaking 8 DO NOT USE SOLVENTS in will vary greatly
with the is a spaces or while product and some brands will
Commercial Cleaners Many noticeable scratching on only the cleaners compounded from phosphates Many
papers and plastic
most highly polished and some colored sheets or tape applied
to stainless steel for
synthetic detergents and alkalis are
protection age in fairly short periods of All of these cleaners vary widely available for the cleaning of severely soiled
and become extremely difficult to remove
with respect to their acidity and the amount or stained stainless surfaces When used Manufacturers should
be contacted
of chloride they contain A neutral cleaner with a variety of cleaning methods these regarding information as
to how long
low in chloride is preferred unless the user is cleaners can safely provide effective protective films or
paper can be left in that the surface can be thoroughly cleaning Manufacturers should be
rinsed after cleaning The fact that the label consulted and their for stainless steel is no guarantee followed
whenever using cleaners of this
that the product is not abrasive not acidic kind The general precautions stated above
also pertain to these
5

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