How to Care for Stainless Steel Hardware

Stainless steel has excellent corrosion resistance, luster, strength, and durability. However, it is not stain or rustproof. Regular maintenance is required to keep stainless steel clean and free of contaminants.

In most applications, stainless will not rust or stain even after many years of service. However, stressful environments such as marine, polluted surroundings, salted highways, concentrated chlorine, or other situations where stainless may be exposed to corrosive elements require proper care and maintenance.


Do’s & Don’ts:

  • Do clean stainless frequently with soap and water. Any cleaner safe for glass is usually safe for stainless; apply with a cotton cloth.
  • Do use a coating to help safeguard stainless, such as car wax, for added beauty and protection.
  • Do remove discoloration or rust spots as soon as possible with a brass, silver, or chrome cleaner. Irreversible pitting will develop under rust that remains on stainless for any period. Apply a mild abrasive cleaner such as Bon Ami, Ajax, or their equivalent with a wet cotton cloth in the direction of the grain of the finish. Rinse thoroughly and wipe dry. Stains that resist the above treatment may require scouring in the direction of the grain with stainless steel wool and a mild abrasive cleaner in creamy paste form. If scraping is required, use stainless steel pads, sponges, wood, or plastic tools. Note: indoor pool rails and [1]ladders require particularly frequent maintenance due to chlorine vapors.
  • Don’t use coarse abrasives like sandpaper or steel wool on stainless. These may cause rusting.
  • Don’t clean with mineral acids or bleaches.
  • Don’t leave stainless in contact with iron, steel, or other metals which cause contamination leading to rust or corrosion.
  • Don’t store near any chlorine product.


[1] Information provided courtesy of