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Home > Blog > Maintaining Stainless Steel Grills

Maintaining Stainless Steel Grills

Date Created: 17/12/14
Maintaining Stainless Steel Grills For many of us around now is the last time this year we take a look at our barbecues, apart from all the hardcore year rounders, hunkering them done for the winter now the good weather has gone and the nights, and cold, draws in, but not everyone likes what they see when they see their lovely stainless steel barbecue beginning to show signs of corrosion.

It is a popular belief that stainless steel does suffer from the effects of corrosion. The wide scale usage and popularity of the metal makes this misunderstanding all too understandable. Whilst the name itself correctly highlights the rust resistant properties of the metal “stain-less” does not mean 100% “stain-proof”. The only metals which are completely corrosion proof are gold and platinum which are not ideal for building barbecues from for reasons which we are sure you can appreciate!
Over many years stainless steel has proven to be the most cost effective solution in many thousands of situations to combat the unavoidable environmental factors that cause corrosion

Stainless steel is actually an alloy which resists corrosion by the means of its 10.5 per cent minimum Chromium content re-acting with oxygen in the air to create a self repairing “passive film” of Chromium Oxide which is what gives the capability to resist corrosion. Knowing how the corrosion is able to be resisted makes the possibility of corrosion in stainless steel more understandable.
On stainless steel barbecues, or grills, the most frequently occurring form of corrosion is known as an “Uniform Attack”, which is also known as general corrosion. This will happen if an overall breakdown of the passive film of Chromium Oxide occurs giving the whole surface of the stainless steel a uniform sponge like appearance. Halogens will penetrate the passive film of the stainless steel allowing corrosion to occur. These halogens are easily identifiable as they all tend to end with “-ine”. Fluorine, chlorine, bromine and iodine are some of the most active. These halogens are readily found in the wider environment but will be in much higher concentrations in the vicinity of swimming pools, hot tubs or lawn care products, but will be found in many other products as well.
The simplest way to maintain the passive film and minimise the likelihood of corrosion is by simply cleaning the stainless steel on a regular basis. A very simple, but effective example of cleaning stainless steel can be found in most homes. A stainless steel kitchen sink can be subjected to some of the most hostile chemical attacks in any household though the stainless steel will always remains bright and maintains it's sheen, but why is this?

This is due to the constant flow of fresh water and the wiping down that removes the harmful chemicals that, if left unattended, could attack the stainless steel's passive film. The harsher the environment and exposure to chemicals the more cleaning will be required to maintain that passive film.
We cannot stress enough how cleaning stainless steel is essential for maximum resistance to corrosion, however abrasive powders or materials should never be used on stainless steel. A soft cloth and a mild soap should always be used but detergents containing chloride should be avoided. Even if there is a wide distribution of corrosion across the stainless steel all is not lost as the corrosion will be sat on the surface rather then penetrating down into the alloy itself. A nitric acid solution is ideal in eliminating surface corrosion on the stainless steel when it does occur and this is what will be found in most brands of stainless cleaner whether purchased through a barbecue retailer, through a home wares store, or an alloy wheel cleaner in a motorist's store Whatever the product these will all need to be generously applied to the corroded area with a damp cloth and left to sit for several minutes before washing off with a soft cloth and buffing the stainless steel back to its original shine.

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