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Preventing Rust and Corrosion in Stainless Steel Appliances

preventing corrosion stainless steel appliances

In the modern world of 2019, stainless steel is one of the top materials out there for a number of home appliances. Everything from refrigerators and washing machines to furnaces, dishwashers and numerous other appliances may utilize stainless steel, a material known for its strength, aesthetic qualities and ability to resist many forms of rust and corrosion.

At All Pro Appliance Service, we’re here to service any and all stainless steel appliances in your home, including washer and dryer service. Unfortunately, there’s a common misconception with stainless steel: The idea that it’s completely impervious to all rust or corrosion no matter what. While stainless steel does have several anti-corrosion properties that separate it from other forms of steel and metal, it may still be susceptible to some forms – and these forms can create the sort of damage that costs you money on repairs if it’s not addressed early enough. Let’s go over the basics of stainless steel and rust, and how you can prevent it.

Stainless Steel Basics

Normal steel is made from iron and carbon, combining to form a high-strength material. Stainless steel is infused with chromium in addition, which is an invisible chemical layer that protects it from various heat, moisture and chemical exposure.

Due to this chromium, stainless steel will resist traditional rusting formed by ferric oxide. It can also help prevent corrosion due to oxygen exposure, so long as there is enough chromium. Essentially, the chromium allows a new layer of steel to form after oxidization is prevented.

Stainless Steel and Corrosion

Unfortunately, the chromium layer we’ve just described is not invincible. It can be broken down by a few different sources, including moisture, abrasions or the presence of chloride. There are three broad categories of stainless steel corrosion that can take place as a result:

  • General corrosion: When the surface of the steel contacts an acid-based material, often one found in household cleaners.
  • Crevice corrosion: When tiny pits form in the stainless steel after it’s exposed to salt, water, food or anything else that has high chloride content. When these pits are too small for oxygen to access, chromium cannot do its job and rust can show up.
  • Galvanized corrosion: When two different metals contact each other and there’s moisture present, such as when bolts or connectors hold stainless steel components together.

Preventing Stainless Steel Rust

A few basic tips to prevent this kind of rust or corrosion on your stainless steel appliances:

  • Clean appliances only using mild soap or cleaners that are designed for use on stainless steel. Check ingredient labels on all cleaners used.
  • Only wipe with soft cloths, and in the direction of the steel grain.
  • Never use abrasive materials like steel wool, scouring pads or others, which can scratch the steel and remove the protective chromium layer.

For more on protecting your stainless steel appliances from rust and corrosion, or to learn about any of our home appliance service offerings, speak to the staff at All Pro Appliance Service today.