Remodeling Guide

Remodeling Home
Remodeling Intro
Kitchen Colors
Kitchen Styles
Kitchen Layouts
Designing around Limitations
Tips for Hiring a Contractor
Shopping for Accessories
A Feng Shui Kitchen
Kitchen Redo For Less
Fireplace Accessory Info
Preparing Your Fireplace
Designing a Home Bar
Increase Kitchen Storage
Organize Your Laundry Room
Creating Your Own Wine Cellar
Bathroom Storage Options
Kitchen Islands and Kitchen Carts
Accessorizing Your Bathroom
Outdoor Living
Outdoor Kitchens
Cabinet Hardware
Kitchen Sinks and Faucets
Bathroom Ventilation
Create Your Own Mudroom
Baker's Racks
Keeping Trash in Order
Bathroom Sinks and Faucets
Father's Day Gifts
Feng Shui For the Garden
A 4th of July Celebration
Choose the Right Bar Stool
Choosing a Countertop
Pot Racks
Range Hoods
Choosing a Bath Vanity
Turn Your Closet Into a Pantry
Cabinet Lighting
Installing a Bathroom Fan
Choosing a Medicine Cabinet
Outdoor Fireplaces
Built-In Ironing Boards
Lazy Susans

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Stainless Steel Facts and Information

Physical Properties
Stainless steel contains chromium, which reacts with oxygen to form an invisible, yet tough, protective film on the steel surface.  This chemical reaction gives stainless steel its corrosion resistance.  Stainless steel can be scratched, and those marks will show, but the damage will not lead to corrosion because the exposed steel instantaneously reacts with oxygen in the air to repair the invisible seal.  Stainless steel will only rust if it has no exposure to oxygen, or if the surface has been contaminated with other metals.

This is why stainless steel is so durable.  Although more expensive than many other metals, stainless steel is often the most cost-effective option because of its longevity.  Less expensive metals that are prone to rust must be replaced more often than stainless steel.  Stainless steel kitchen accessories, bathroom products, and outdoor grills will remain lustrous and intact for many years.  Stainless steel is often used in manufacturing plants because it has a high tolerance for extreme temperatures. 

The gauge of stainless steel refers to the thickness and is measured in inches. You can find stainless steel in gauges ranging from 10 to 32. A 16-gauge stainless steel sink, range hood or pot rack is a bit thicker than its 18-gauge counterpart, but both are sturdy and durable. Some stainless steel is referred to as 18/10 or 18/8, or 18/0 stainless steel. The 18 signifies the percentage of chromium, and the number after the slash denotes the nickel content in the stainless steel.

The magnetic properties of stainless steel are a common source of confusion.  The 300 series is NOT magnetic, but the 400 series is magnetic.  If you have purchased a set of 300 series stainless steel refrigerator panels hoping to post notes and papers on your refrigerator door using a magnet, you'll have to use a remount spray adhesive instead.  Then you can use a citrus-based adhesive remover to remove any residual glue.

Maintenance of Stainless Steel
Stainless steel is one of the easiest surfaces to maintain.  It does not require polishing, and of all countertop surfaces, stainless steel requires the least effort to clean and sanitize.  Despite being one of the most durable metals in the world, stainless steel is not invincible, so take a look at the following guidelines to ensure that your appliances and countertops remain attractive and functional for many years.

Removing Dirt - Try to remove dirt with warm water with or without a gentle detergent.  Most of the time, the dirt will come right off.  If that doesn't work, try a non-abrasive cleaning powder, and if that fails, try a non-acidic soft abrasive powder.  Use warm water, bristle brushes, sponges, or clean cloths.  If you're having trouble cleaning stainless steel, try adding some vinegar to the scouring powder.  Always rinse stainless steel with hot water after cleaning it.  It's also advisable to wipe stainless steel dry with towels after cleaning.  Do not use an ordinary carbon steel brush or steel wool.  Both of these may embed particles on the surface and lead to rusting.

Removing Fingerprints - Wash fingerprints and similar stains with glass cleaner or by gently rubbing a paste of water and soda ash over the surface.  Do not use an abrasive cleaner unless absolutely necessaryAbrasive cleaners are especially harmful to polished mirror finishes.  We suggest testing any abrasive cleaners on an inconspicuous area of the stainless steel before applying it.

Cleaners and Cleaning Methods - When deciding which cleaners and cleaning methods to use, keep in mind that abrasive cleaners can scratch stainless steel.  Do not want use soaps that contain grit, and definitely stay away from hard abrasives.  A soft abrasive, such as pumice, should be used instead.  As a rule, always use the safest cleaning agents first (water is the least harmful), and only use strong cleaners if milder ones do not work.  Whenever you are wiping a stainless steel surface, do so in the direction of the polish lines, not across them.

If water and a towel cannot remove a particular stain, try organic solvents.  Organic solvents are especially effective in eliminating fingerprints, oils, and greases that have not begun decomposing or oxidizing.  Never use acetone, methyl alcohol, mineral spirits, or any solvent that contains chlorine.  To clean with organic solvents, you can immerse smaller objects into the solvent or wipe solvent-impregnated cloths over the stainless steel.  We recommend adhering to manufacturer cleaning and care instructions for all stainless steel products.

If you plan on using household cleaners, try neutral cleaners that are low in chloride before applying something that is abrasive or has a high acidity content.  Regardless of what you use, make sure to rinse the stainless steel with water and then wipe it dry with a soft cloth after cleaning.  For severely soiled or stained surfaces, you might want to try commercial-grade cleaners.  These are often compounded from phosphates, synthetic detergents, and alkalis.  Use the same precautions as stated above when selecting a commercial-grade cleaner.

Removing Scratches - You can avoid most unsightly scratch marks by purchasing stainless steel accessories in certain finishes.  If you think something might get scratched, consider buying it with an unpolished finished, such as matte, embossed, or swirl.  These finishes hide scratches.

If your stainless steel gets scratched, you have three options.  The first option is purchasing a replacement.  If your refrigerator has been scratched, you may be able to buy replacement panels, which are often less expensive than the cost of hiring a professional to refinish the stainless steel.  If the scratch is deep, however, repairs will be very expensive, which is why most people avoid this option whenever possible.

The third option is to change the finish, which you can do yourself as long as the scratches are minor.  Use a non-metallic abrasive pad to rub the surface with long uniform strokes in the same direction as the current polishing lines.  This results in a hairline or long grain finish, which will hide future scratches.

Important!  If your kitchen flooring is made of slate or tile, DO NOT USE MURIATIC ACID as a cleaning agent - THE FUMES ALONE WILL STAIN THE STAINLESS STEEL!

Benefits and Uses of Stainless Steel
Everyone wants an attractive home interior, but few people enjoy housework.  Stainless steel both looks great and requires little maintenance, which makes it a popular surface in the modern home.  In addition to being low-maintenance, stainless steel is one of the most hygienic surfaces available.  Using a basic household cleaner, you can wipe out more microorganisms on a stainless steel countertops than you could on any other surface.  This is especially beneficial in the kitchen, where remnants of food and cooking grease promote bacterial growth.  Stainless steel pot racks, countertops, and range hoods are easy to sanitize and remain lustrous for many years without much effort from the homeowner.

Stainless steel does not rust from exposure to dampness or moisture, making it a perfect metal for bathroom accessories.  Your stainless steel toilet roll holders, towel bars, and bathroom shelving will not become discolored over time.  Other popular stainless steel accessories include cabinet knobs, refrigerator panels, and trash cans.

If you're environmentally conscious, rest assured that stainless steel is 100 percent recyclable.  The stainless steel accessories you purchase are, in all likelihood, made from 50 percent recycled material.