Care & Maintenance
Ensure optimal appearance and long term performance
316 Stainless Steel is a durable material with strong anti-corrosion properties. With proper care and maintenance, it will maintain an optimal appearance over a long service life. Exposure to high-saline environments, chlorides, abrasive chemicals, or carbon steel will diminish its anti-corrosion properties and increase the risk of damage.
Improper care of stainless steel will diminish anti-corrosion properties and may result in surface damage.
- Use only stainless steel components (i.e. washers, bolts, etc. provided by Reliance Foundry) and tools when installing stainless steel products.
- Never use carbon steel or galvanized fasteners to install stainless steel products.
- Do not use cleaning products containing chlorides (i.e. hydrochloric acid) or other abrasive chemicals.
- When power washing nearby surfaces, wrap stainless steel to prevent contact with concrete detergents.
- If chloride solutions or concrete detergents contact stainless steel, immediately rinse away with water.
- Always wear clean gloves when handling stainless steel products.
- Do not use abrasive brushes or scouring pads to wipe stainless steel.
- Unless otherwise specified, apply all cleaners and polishers with a soft, lint-free cloth or soft nylon brush. For heavier rust deposits, a nylon scouring pad may be required, however buffing with nylon pads may alter stainless steel finishes. To minimize alteration, use only “ultra-fine” nylon pads and rub with the grain. Avoid excessive scrubbing.
- Do not clean stainless steel in direct sunlight or excessive temperatures.
- Do not weld, cut, drill or grind carbon steel near stainless steel. Resulting particles will contaminate and rust stainless steel.
- Stainless steel care and maintenance may require the use of harmful chemicals. Follow all use and safety instructions provided with cleaning or polishing agents. Ensure personal protective equipment is worn in accordance with occupational health and safety guidelines stipulated by your local governing authority.
- If unsure about the suitability of a product for cleaning stainless steel, contact Reliance Foundry before using.
Cleaning: Routine cleaning with soap and water is usually sufficient to maintain the corrosion resistance and appearance of 316 Stainless Steel. Use a soft nylon brush to remove any accumulated dirt. Wash with mild soap or detergent, then rinse in clean water and wipe dry with a soft cloth.
Iron or carbon steel contamination: Passivated stainless steel surfaces can be compromised by contact with iron or carbon steel products. This can result from exposure to nearby welding, cutting, drilling or grinding of carbon steel. Grit from iron or carbon steel will quickly rust in the presence of moisture. If left unattended, contaminates may compromise passivation, leading to stainless steel rust. To remove contaminants from stainless steel surfaces, use a soft cloth to apply a solution of Oxalic Acid. Leave solution on surface for a few minutes to dissolve contaminating particles. Once clean, thoroughly rinse away all residual solution with clean water.
Corrosion: 316 Stainless Steel will not corrode with proper care. If signs of corrosion appear, clean immediately.
- Minor: Use an all-purpose lubricant, such as WD-40, to wipe affected stainless steel. Domestic stainless steel cleaners containing calcium carbonate or citric acid, such as Citisurf 77 Plus, can also be used. Rinse thoroughly with clean water. If rust remains, treat as moderate. If rust returns in a short time, treat for iron or carbon steel contamination (see page 1).
- Moderate: Use E-NOX CLEAN or another Phosphoric Acid based stainless steel cleaner. Spread cleaner evenly over the surface, wait 30-60 minutes, then neutralize the acid with an alkaline cleaner like UNO S F. Thoroughly rinse away all residue with clean water. If rust remains, stainless steel may need to be treated for severe corrosion or be replaced. If rust returns in a short time, treat for iron or carbon steel contamination.
- Severe: Due to the highly corrosive nature of severe rust treatments, and the inherent risks to personnel and surrounding environments, a professional service provider is recommended. Severe rust is treated with a pickling bath, typically containing highly corrosive hydrofluoric acid. Once treated, stainless steel can be passivized with mild nitric acid.
Mortar and cement spatter: If mortar or cement comes into contact with stainless steel, remove immediately. Use E-NOX CLEAN or another Phosphoric Acid based stainless steel cleaner. Spread cleaner evenly over the surface, wait 30-60 minutes, then neutralize the acid with an alkaline cleaner like UNO S F. Thoroughly rinse away all residue with clean water.
Graffiti removal: Graffiti can be removed from stainless steel with a biodegradable graffiti-cleaning spray or wipe. Avoid using knives or hard scraping tools to remove graffiti, as these may damage stainless steel surfaces.
Oil and grease marks: Remove oil or grease from stainless steel with hydrocarbon solvents such as methylated spirit (Bartoline is a common brand), isopropyl alcohol (i.e. rubbing alcohol) or acetone. Apply solvent several times with a clean, non-scratching cloth until all oil or grease is removed.
Heavily neglected or tarnished surfaces: Use domestic metal polish to improve the appearance of tarnished stainless steel. Chrome polishes for automotive parts are suitable for stainless steel and are widely available. Treat entire stainless steel surface to avoid discolored patches.
Heavily damaged products: To avoid progression of damage, identify and address problems as early as possible. Heavy damage includes structural compromises such as visible dents, cracks, breaks and rust that can undermine the integrity of a product. Heavily damaged products should be removed from service until a repair or replacement can be made. To prevent worsening of damage, any significant rust should be removed as soon as possible. If any parts are broken or missing, contact Reliance Foundry’s Sales Department to determine the availability of replacements.
This content is provided for informational purposes only. Any mention of a specific product is not a guarantee of quality or effectiveness. Reliance Foundry is not responsible for any improper use or handling of hazardous chemicals.