Stainless Steel Cleaning and Maintenance
Stainless steel is a corrosion resistant chromium/nickel alloy steel that is
strong and durable with excellent luster. However, it is not rustproof,
particularly in the harsh environment of a swimming pool. Chlorine and bromine
used for sanitization are highly caustic chemicals for stainless steel and heat
and humidity enhance the corrosiveness of these chemicals. Regular cleaning is
the best way to prevent corrosion and add to the service life for your railings,
starting platforms, guard chairs and any other stainless steel equipment. The
goal of your cleaning and maintenance program should be to keep the stainless
steel's protective chromium oxide layer intact. This is what prevents corrosion.
General Cleaning and Maintenance Suggestion for Stainless Steel
- Rinse off stainless
steel pool equipment frequently with fresh water to wash away accumulated
chemicals such as chlorine and wipe dry with a clean cloth. Especially try
to clean equipment immediately after use around chlorides (chlorine powder,
- Clean frequently with a cleaner
and water. Any cleaner that is safe for glass is usually safe for stainless
- Inspect equipment frequently,
if you notice discoloration, tarnish or water stains, increase the frequency
of your fresh water rinses to reduce accumulated chemicals.
- Remove any rust spots as soon
as possible to prevent irreversible pitting.
- Occasionally clean with borax,
soda ash, or a non-abrasive commercial cleanser and water. Stubborn stains
may be removed with a magnesium oxide, ammonia and water paste.
- Consider the following periodic cleaning program:
1 can of powered cleanser
1 Scotchbrite pad
1 spray bottle cleaner
1 paste automotive wax
Wet cleaning pad with fresh water (do not use pool water) and apply powered
cleanser. Using gentle pressure, rub stained areas in the same direction of
the existing polishing grain until stains are removed. Rinse with clean
water. Use cleaner de-greaser to remove any stains. Thoroughly dry the
stainless then apply wax. Let wax dry to a haze and buff to a shine with a
clean dry cloth. Automotive waxes will provide added beauty and protection
for your equipment.
- Do not use steel wool
or sandpaper, or mineral acids, bleaches or chlorine cleansers.
- Do not add chlorine to your
pool right next to your stainless steel equipment. Added it as far away as
- Do not store stainless steel
equipment in a closed area underneath steel beams to avoid corrosive
condensation from dripping onto to the equipment and leaving brown spots.
- Do not store stainless steel
equipment where it will attract and retain moisture or airborne contaminants
and do not store equipment in the same areas as chlorine.
Discoloration, Tarnish or Water Stains:
The first stage of corrosion is completely on the surface and is easily
removed by most commercial metal polishes. Discoloration will be greater at
indoor facilities due to the chlorine vapor trapped in an inside
Rust is visible at this stage but little or no pitting has yet occurred. A
stronger cleaning agent, such as Simichrome Polish, is required.
A deep coat of rust with surface pitting can develop if corrosion has been
left unchecked for a long time. For advanced corrosion naval jelly is
To remove or reduce pitting damage caused by corrosion, mechanical polishing
is preferred chemical cleansing. Scotchbrite works well for this purpose.
Work only in the direction of the existing grain and never use steel wool.
Apply a physical barrier between the stainless steel and corrosive agents by
using a soft paste wax, such as an automotive wax. A coating of wax may last
for up to six months, depending on equipment usage.