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Care of Metal Finishes


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Stainless Steel

Stainless steel owes its corrosion resistance to a thin, transparent, tightly adhering chromium oxide film that forms on the metal’s surface. When this film is penetrated, it rapidly reforms as long as oxygen is present. If the surface becomes contaminated with dirt or grease which prevents the oxygen from contacting the metal, corrosion (pitting and discoloration) will occur, therefore it is necessary to keep the surface clean.

Stainless steel products actually become more beautiful with use. The natural oils in hands touching stainless steel give it a lustrous sheen. However, those hands often carry contaminants which must be removed from the metal periodically. Regular maintenance will keep the stainless steel finish clean and bright. A mild detergent solution can be used, after cleaning, thoroughly rinse with clear water to remove all traces of solution, then wipe dry to prevent water marks from forming.

Clear Coated Brass

Care must be taken to protect the clear coating which prevents oxidation of the brass underneath. With a soft cloth dampened with water or mild ammonia based liquid, wipe clean. An acid based cleaner is not recommended.

Uncoated Brass

Regular cleaning and polishing with a brass polish will maintain the original beautiful brass finish and will also protect it against fingerprints, water marks, and rapid oxidation. Apply polish with a clean soft cloth and wipe clean before it dries.

Color Powdercoats

Wipe gently with a soft cloth dampened with water to keep the clear coat clean and glossy.

Metal Plated Finishes

All metal plated finishes are clear coated to protect the plating from oxidation. Care must be taken to protect the clear coat finish so that tarnishing will not occur. To clean, wipe gently with a soft cloth dampened with water or mild ammonia based liquid cleaner. An acid based cleaner is not recommended.


#2B finish

This is the natural unfinished look of sheet stainless steel. It is smooth and gray in appearance; used for unexposed portions where the material does not have to be finished.​​​​​​

#3 finish

(130-150 grit)—The appearance is rather coarse satin brushed finish and is commonly used in the industry by other manufacturers as a substitute for the #4 finish that is usually specified.​​​​​​

#4 finish

(180-220 grit)—the appearance is very fine, satin brushed finish. This is the standard specification in the industry, although many times other manufacturers will substitute the less expensive #3 finish.​​​​​​

#8 finish

This is a mirror finished, brightly polished finish which is used to fabricate stainless steel institutional mirrors and other polished finished items.​​​​​​

​Effective Cleaning Methods: Type 304 Stainless Steel

​For normal atmospheric & construction dirt
​Soap, ammonia or detergent and water
Sponge or rag, rinse with clear water, wipe dry
​​For heavier dirt containing oil or grease
​Organic solvents, ether, acetone, alcohol, benzol, benzene, xylol, etc.
​Sponge or rag, rinse with clear water. Observe SAFETY rules.
​ 5-15% caustic soda, 6% solution sodium metasilicate, trisodium phosphate, etc.
Same as above.
​For rust discoloration from other materials
​Oakite #33: One part per two parts water
​Clean cloth or sponge, let stand 20 minutes, rinse. Repeat and let stand longer, if necessary.
​For deposits which require scouring

​ ​

Grade FFF Italian Pumice, whiting, Bon Ami
Rub with damp cloth
​Liquid No-Steel Perma-Pass
​Rub with small amount on dry cloth
​Steel Brite
Rub with small amount on dry cloth
​Paste Nu-Steel or Dubois
​Rub with small amount on dry cloth
Cooper’s Stainless Cleaner
Rub with small amount on dry cloth
Allen’s Stainless Steel Polish
​Rub with damp cloth
Household cleaners: Bab-O, Old Dutch, Sunbrite, etc.
Rub with damp cloth


Always rub in the direction of the finish grain in the metal.  In extreme cases, Stainless Steel Wool can be used.  NEVER employ regular stainless steel wool.  For Polished Stainless Steel, use soft cloth so as not to mar the finish.