Why is my Stainless Steel Rusting?

Rust on stainless steel raises a lot of concerns, because stainless steel is not supposed to rust…right? Actually, stainless steel is corrosion resistant due to its high percentage of chromium. When the chromium is exposed to water, air, and acids, a thin layer of oxide forms to stop further corrosion.

Common causes of stainless steel rusting or corroding:

Improper cleaning – When all dirt is not removed from the surface, the surface is not thoroughly rinsed after cleaning, or the surface is thoroughly dried after cleaning can allow iron (found in most water) to react to oxygen in the air. This forms into a rust film.

Scouring the surface with steel wool or wire brush – When this process is used to clean stainless steel, particles are embedded onto the surface. When these particles are exposed to humid air or moisture, rust forms.

Cleaning chemicals – At times, it’s not the products being used on the stainless steel but around them that can cause rust. For example, the chemicals used when cleaning concrete or windows can land on the stainless steel surface and react with the air for form a rust film. Concrete dust from pouring floors, dirt, dust and grime can also settle on the stainless steel and combine with the air to create a rusting appearance.

To treat this problem, you can purchase a special cleaning kit or have the products be refinished. To prevent this from happening in the future, consider these tips:

  • Look into using a polished (smooth) finish US32 rather than satin (grain) finish US32D. The grain in the satin finish is more susceptible to the build-up of contaminants.
  • For harsh environments, consider using a higher grade of stainless steel.
  • During construction or remodeling, leave the product’s original plastic film in place or use something similar until the project is completed.

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