How To Clean Stubborn Stainless Steel

We all can agree that stainless steel is common in most facilities and therefore it isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. In fact, at one point or another we’ve likely all had our fair share of “run-ins” with cleaning and more importantly “keeping” stainless steel clean. It can appear to be a stubborn and elusive surface, when in fact, it really isn’t with proper maintenance. It simply needs a combination of the right cleaning products, techniques, a little patience, and it will begin to shine again and stay that way with a minimal amount of touch-ups (depending on your building’s foot-traffic).

Let’s get started!…

Step 1 – Get Supplies Together:

  • 1 Bucket
  • Dawn Soap
  • Noxon 7 Metal Finish
  • White Mineral Oil
  • Terry Cloth Towels (Cotton)
  • Microfiber Towels

 
Step 2 – Soapy Water:

  • Fill the bucket with hot water and add a couple drops of Dawn soap.

Step 3 – Application:

  • Using a Terry Cloth, dip it into the soapy water, completely wring it out, and apply to the surface you are cleaning, always with the grain of the metal.
  • Immediately follow it up with a dry Terry Cloth or two until it is completely dried (with the grain). At this point you should have quite a bit of residue accumulating on your towel(s). The finger prints should be gone, but if streaks or a film remain, then you may need to repeat the process until they are gone.

Step 4- Apply Noxon 7 Metal Finish:

  • With the Noxon 7 Metal Finish (has a thick consistency and will dry fast) dab a little bit at a time to Terry Cloth and apply with the grain (careful not to spill on the floor/carpeting or on other nearby surfaces).

Step 5 – Remove Metal Finish Residue:

  • By the time you have finished applying the Noxon 7, the point where you started will most likely be semi-dry. This is okay. Follow it up with a dry Terry Cloth, removing all the leftover chalky white residue (with the grain)–it may take a couple of passes.

Step 6 – Apply White Mineral Oil:

  • With the White Mineral Oil dab/spray to a clean dry Terry Cloth and apply to the stainless steel surface (careful not to spill on the floor/carpeting or on other nearby surfaces). Be sure to coat the entire surface, overlapping each stroke with the grain to make sure nothing is missed.

Step 7 – Polish:

  • Follow up with a dry Microfiber Towel or two (with the grain), until the stainless steel is shining. Again, use overlapping strokes to cover the entire surface. As you begin to soak up the mineral oil the glow of the surface

Step 8 – Post Care Stainless Steel Maintenance:

  • For periodic touch-ups, use a dry Microfiber Towel with the grain to remove light finger and hand prints. If the surface becomes dull overtime, you may have to repeat Step 4.

Other Considerations:

  • Do not use any kind of acid based products to clean stainless steel, including window/glass cleaner, as overtime it will breakdown the invisible layer of chromium-oxide that gives its unique quality to repel rust.
  • All the steps are important, however, Step 3 is the most important as it gets rid of the previous chemical damage, not cleaning with the grain, etc. and preps the surface to allow the polish to set in the metal grooves and the shine come forward.
  • Any deep scratches where grooves can be felt to the touch, most likely will need to be repaired by a professional fabrication/repair shop.
  • Be sure whom you hire to clean your tile and grout surfaces doesn’t use any form of acid, specifically muratic acid. The fumes alone have the potential to cause discoloration to the best grades of stainless steel.

This should remedy your stainless steel issues once and for all…good luck!

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