How to Clean and Maintain Stainless Steel

Stainless steel products as you know are used in a wide variety of applications because of their corrosion resistance, strength and aesthetic appeal. In some cases though where stainless steel is applied it may discolour or stain due to deposits left on its surface and therefore sometimes maintenance is required on such stainless steel products.

How do you maintain and clean stainless steel?

In order to ensure that maximum corrosion resistance and aesthetic appeal of the stainless steel is at its best then the surface must be kept clean but this is dependent on whether or not the grade of the stainless steel and the surface finish are correctly selected. In addition it becomes important that a regular cleaning routine is adopted which then will ensure good performance, long service life and will obviously keep the aesthetic appeal.

There are a number of factors which may well affect stainless steel; where surface contamination is suspected, immediate cleaning is required. In applications such as in the catering industry it is important that cleanliness is always maintained as with medical applications too. Higher levels of cleanliness in such industries will be required which brings about the question:

What frequency is required for cleaning stainless steel?

A question which we are asked regularly; the answer is that the frequency is dependent upon the application of the stainless steel. One unwritten rule is to clean the stainless steel when it first appears dirty rather than leaving it to worsen.

Table: Cleaning frequency in architectural applications


Grade: 430 (1.4016)

Grade: 304 (1.4301)

Grade:316 (1.4401)


As required to maintain appearance or design


6-12 month intervals (as appropriate to location and design)


Grade not recommended

3-6 months

6-12 months


Grade not recommended

Grade not recommended

6-12 months

Can you damage stainless steel by cleaning ?

The simple answer is yes, care must be taken when selecting both cleaning chemicals and cloths. For routine cleaning a soft cloth, with soap, detergent or diluted ammonia (1%) is suitable. For more stubborn stains mild non scratching creams can be used. Care should be taken not to use abrasives which could scratch, as equally important is ensuring that you do not use chloride containing chemicals and detergents. After cleaning it is always recommended that you rinse with clean water. Always check the suitability of any household detergents and remember you cannot wear out stainless steel by too much cleaning.

If you are unsure about the maintenance or cleaning required for different types of stainless steel then please contact us on +44 (0) 1254 681112 and we can advise. Alternatively you can email

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