5 Tips for Cleaning Stainless Steel

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The distinctive shine of stainless steel is found everywhere you look -- from the kitchen sink to the pinnacle of the Chrysler Building. And no wonder: It's a high- performance marvel, an extremely durable material that does not corrode or rust. It doesn't stain easily, either, although it's not stain-proof. Low maintenance and distinctive luster make it popular for use in cookware, cutlery, hardware, and major appliances like refrigerators and stovetops, as well as surgical instruments and many industrial applications.

Stainless steel needs to be cleaned to look its best and to prevent corrosion. Oxygen from the atmosphere combines with the chromium in the stainless steel to form a passive chromium oxide film that protects the object from further corrosion. Any contamination on the surface by dirt or oils hampers this process and traps corrosive agents, reducing corrosion protection.

Luckily, stainless steel is easy to clean using several inexpensive methods. Unlike some materials, it thrives with frequent cleaning. It's impossible to wear out stainless steel by cleaning it too much.

Read on to learn more about cleaning stainless steel, from the gentlest methods to the most aggressive.