Cleaning and Care of Stainless Steel
Stainless steel is not a single alloy, but rather the name applies to a group of iron-based alloys containing a minimum 10.5% chromium. Other elements are added and the chromium content increased to improve the corrosion resistance and heat resisting properties, enhance mechanical properties, and/or improve fabricating characteristics.
myGRILL stainless steel type
We use the 304 grade stainless steel for all myGRILL grills. The 304 is the basic chromium-nickel austenitic stainless steel and it is easy to form and fabricate with excellent resistance to corrosion.
Cleaning of stainless steel
Stainless steels need to be cleaned for aesthetic considerations and to preserve corrosion resistance. Stainless steel is protected from corroson by a thin layer of chromium oxide. Oxygen from the atmosphere combines with the chromium in the stainless steel to form this passive chromium oxide film that protects from further corrosion. Any contamination of the surface by dirt, or other material, hinders this passivation process and traps corrosive agents, reducing corrosion protection. Thus, some form of routine cleaning is necessary to preserve the appearance and integrity of the surface. Stainless steels are easily cleaned by many different methods and unlike some other materials, it is impossible to “wear out” stainless steel by excessive cleaning.
Types of surface contaminants
Dirt – Like any surface that is exposed to the environment, stainless steel can get dirty. Dirt and soil can consist of accumulated dust and a variety of contaminates that come from many sources, ranging from the wind to everyday use. These contaminates will vary greatly in their effect on appearance and corrosivity and ease of removal. While some may be easily removed, others may require specific cleaners for effective removal. It may be necessary to identify the contaminate or experiment with various cleaners. Frequently, warm water with or without a gentle detergent is sufficient. When water contains mineral solids, which leave water spots, it is advisable to wipe the surface completely with dry towels. Ordinary carbon steel brushes or steel wool should be avoided as they may leave particles embedded on the surface which can lead to rusting.
Fingerprints and Stains – Fingerprints and mild stains resulting from normal use are the most common surface contaminates. Fortunately, these usually affect only appearance and seldom have an effect on corrosion resistance. They are easy to remove by a variety of simple stainless steel cleaners.
Oil and Grease – Oils, which may carry grease and grit, are commonly produced during cooking. Initially, soap or detergent and water may be tried or a combination of detergent and water plus a solvent. This process, in its simplest form, consists of bringing liquid solvent into contact with the surface to be cleaned and allowing dissolution to take place. Non-halgenated solvents, such as acetone, methyl alcohol, ethyl alcohol, methyl ethyl ketone, benzene, isopropyl alcohol, toluene, mineral spirits, and turpentine work well. Many of these solvents are widely used as individual cleaners, but there are thousands of blended or compound cleaners on the market. Your are advised to contact suppliers of solvents for information on their applications on stainless steel.
Types of cleaners and methods
In selecting cleaning practices, consider the possibility of scratching and the potential for post-cleaning corrosion caused by incompletely removed cleaners. Scratching can occur by cleaners that contain hard abrasives, or even by “grit” in wash water. Avoid using abrasive cleaners unless absolutely necessary. When abrasives are needed, first experiment on an inconspicuous area. Many cleaners contain corrosive ingredients which require thorough post-clean rinsing with clean water.
Clean Water and Wipe – The simplest, and safest method that will adequately do the job is always the best method. Stainless surfaces thrive with frequent cleaning because there is no surface coating to wear off stainless steels. A soft cloth and clean warm water should always be the first choice for mild stains and loose dirt and soils. A final rinse with clean water and a dry wipe will complete the process and eliminate the possibility of water stains.
Solvent Cleaning – Organic solvents can be used to remove fresh fingerprints and oils and greases that have not had time to oxidize or decompose. The preferred solvent is one that does not contain chlorine, such as acetone, methyl alcohol, and mineral spirits. There are many compounded or blended organic cleaners that are commercially available and attempt to optimize both cleanability and safety attributes.
Household Cleaners – Household cleaners fall into two categories: detergent (non-abrasive) and abrasive cleaners. Both are effective for many mild dirt, stain, and soil deposits, as well as light oils such as fingerprints. The abrasive cleaners are more effective but introduce the possibility of scratching the surface. A neutral cleaner low in chloride is preferred unless the user is assured that the surface can be thoroughly rinsed after cleaning. The fact that the label states “for stainless steel” is no guarantee that the product is not abrasive, not acidic, or low in chloride. The cleaning method generally employed with these cleaners is to apply them to the stainless surface and follow by cloth wiping, or to wipe directly with a cleaner-impregnated soft cloth. In all cases, the cleaned surface should be thoroughly rinsed with clean water and wiped dry with a soft cloth if water streaking is a consideration.
Care of stainless steel
The cleaner stainless steel can be kept, the greater the assurance of optimum corrosion resistance. Some tips on the care of stainless steel are listed below:
- Handle stainless steel with clean gloves or cloths to guard against stains or finger marks.
- Avoid the use of oily rags or greasy cloths when wiping the surface.
- Do routine cleaning of exposed surfaces.
- Cleaning with chloride-containing detergents must be avoided.
- Even the finest cleaning powders can scratch the surface.
- DO NOT USE SOLVENTS while cooking.