Why does Stainless Steel rust?
Stainless steel is a material widely known and valued for its unique properties, which make it ideal for an unimaginable number of applications. It is one of the preferred materials for the manufacture of furniture, utensils, technical equipment in the different fields of the productive industry. One of the main reasons to prefer it is its easy cleaning.
Cleaning stainless steel turns out to be a very simple task, if you have the necessary advice and supplies. Stay to find out how industrial stainless steel should be cleaned, what things should be taken into account beforehand, and how to preserve it for longer.
However, in order to know how to clean and care for something, it is advisable to know exactly what that thing is. So, if you want to know how to clean and extend the life of your table, cabinet, kitchen, locker, sink or any other element made of industrial stainless steel, you should know what stainless steel is.
Stainless steel, incredibly, is newer than you think: it dates back to the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It is not a material found in nature, since it is an alloy. That is, it is a material composed of other materials. Alloys have their own properties, which depend on their chemical composition.
Iron, which is found in nature, is the main element that makes up stainless steel. To this is added between 10 and 12% chrome. This is classic stainless steel, so to speak. Chrome gives steel its characteristic shine while giving it a lightness that iron does not have; on the other hand, it shields it against oxidation through a process called passivation.
This process is mainly due to chrome. This element causes a film or passive layer of chromium oxide to be created on the surface of stainless steel, which is in contact with the environment and its weather (especially air). This layer is passive, or inactive, which does not damage or impair the structure of the stainless steel.
Likewise, there are other types of stainless steel, whose different compositions give them different properties. We have, for example, austenitic stainless steel, which has a small percentage of nickel and carbon. Or the ferritic, which does not have nickel and chrome is less present. Or the martensitic, which is especially resistant to sudden changes in extreme temperatures. There are many types, but they all share, to a greater or lesser extent, the same properties.
After having seen the virtues of stainless steel, you can imagine the enormous number of applications it has found in the domestic, industrial and commercial fields. And it is not surprising, because it is an ideal material both for heavy work due to its great resistance, and for domestic work, due to its versatility, appearance and lightness.
One of the main applications of stainless steel takes place in the pharmaceutical, health and food preparation fields. Why? Precisely because of the aforementioned properties, but especially because stainless steel repels the presence of microorganisms potentially dangerous to health, which allows us to affirm that it is an antiseptic metal.
How does it manage to be so hygienic? Well, this is a very characteristic quality of stainless steel. This is a consequence of its other virtues: being so resistant to knocks and scratches, the surface of stainless steel will always remain smooth. It will not have dents or depressions where organic material can lodge, which is the ideal place for pathogenic microorganisms to proliferate.
Scratches on stainless steel can almost be said to “heal” themselves. This, as you know, is due to the passivation process. The direct consequence is that the surface remains smooth and immaculate at all times. In addition, it feels so smooth, it is very easy to clean, and it can be done more frequently without compromising the integrity of the metal.
As you saw, stainless steel is especially strong and durable compared to other materials. Cleaning stainless steel is really simple, but you must bear in mind that, like other materials, its general appearance will depend on frequent care. Also, keep in mind that cleaning stainless steel not only affects the appearance and useful life of the material: it directly affects hygiene and, therefore, your health.
But you may be wondering, how to properly clean stainless steel? What things should be taken into account? Although stainless steel stands out for its durability, its appearance could deteriorate if it is not cared for properly. Well, no special care or cumbersome chemicals that are hard to come by are needed. With the supplies you have at home, enough.
Consider your use of stainless steel. Consider what type of dirt you want to remove from the material. They do not always submit to the same conditions: a kitchen is different from a factory, they demand different things from steel. If you want the cleaning of stainless steel to be perfect, keep in mind the following…
Although stainless steel, by definition, does not deteriorate due to humidity, it can become dull if it is not dried correctly after each cleaning. Therefore, try not to leave it wet.
Chlorine is unnecessary. Stainless steel is already sterile. If you apply chlorine, the only thing you will achieve is to transmit its pungent smell.
Avoid that the chemical products that you apply on stainless steel for longer than the recommended time. It could cause stains that are difficult to remove.
It often happens that stainless steel stains. When water is contaminated by a chemical and evaporates, the chemical can stick to the surface of the steel and stain it. The trick to getting rid of those nasty stains is vinegar. Thus, the cleaning of stainless steel will be impeccable.
A little vinegar diluted in water, spread on a cloth, is enough to remove them permanently. At the end, as always, remember to let the surface dry with a cloth.
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