General CleaningYour stainless steel railing will show the benefit of a good cleaning the same way your stainless appliances do. Most household cleaners, such as Windex or 409, even plain old warm water and soap, work well to remove fingerprints, smudges, etc. and restore shine. Just be sure that your cleaner does not contain chlorides. If you have any question about this, there are stainless steel-specific products available at most hardware and big box stores.
Hard to Remove Stains/ScratchesWith a coarse Scotch-Brite Pad® safe for stainless steel, you will be able to remove most stains that your household cleaner was unable to, and even some scratches. Take note of the direction of the grain of the stainless steel and scrub in the same direction as the grain until the stain or scratch is removed. Wipe down the area with a cleaner and soft cloth to bring out the shine.
Tea Staining and RustIf you live in an area where levels of air-borne contaminants are high, namely, marine environments (pool areas are another), it is possible you might see some actual corrosion. This is rare, but it does happen from time to time, even with grade 316 stainless steel. In this instance, you will want to use a cleaner that is specifically formulated to remove rust and repair the natural protective layer that gives stainless steel its corrosion resistance.
It is best to deal with these rust issues immediately so as to minimize impact and prevent actual pitting of the metal. Most exterior railing systems from AGS Stainless include a kit containing a Scotch-Brite Pad® (safe for stainless steel) and a bottle of CitriSurf® 77 Plus Stainless Steel Cleaning & Maintenance / Passivating Kit. You can also purchase a special protectant which acts like a car wax, but is especially for stainless steel, such as Kingsley-Bate Stainless Steel Anti-Corrosion Wax online or at a local hardware store.
MaintenanceKeeping your stainless steel railing clean and free of salt or other corrosive elements is the best way to avoid having to deal with rust. This can be achieved with an occasional rinse with fresh water. In more severe environments, you might find yourself needing to apply protectant, or wax (remember – no chlorides!) from time to time. Each geographic location is different and factors such as temperature, humidity and wind will play a role in what your maintenance program will need to be.
What NOT To DoNow that you know the basics of cleaning and protecting your stainless steel railing, there are a few things you should never do:
- NEVER use steel wool or sandpaper on your railing. Stick to the Scotch-Brite Pads® (safe for stainless steel) as mentioned above.
- NEVER use chlorine or chloride-based solutions for cleaning your railing.
- NEVER use muriatic or hydrochloric acids on your railing. If you use them to clean tile or concrete near the railing, rinse the railing with fresh water afterward.
Cable TensionAny slack in the cables can be taken up in the same manner in which they were originally tensioned (see instructions). Remember, there is no need to tighten the cables more than what is necessary to eliminate any sag.
® 3M, the 3M logo, Post-it, Scotch, Scotch-Brite, Scotchgard, and Thinsulate are the worldwide trademarks or registered trademarks of 3M.
® CitriSurf and Stellar Solutions are registered trademarks of Stellar Solutions, Inc., McHenry, IL, USA. Other names and brand names may be claimed as the property of others.