Is stainless steel really stainless?

You might think given its name, that the answer to the question; is stainless steel really stainless? would be a solid yes. Actually it's only a yes, in certain environments.

Stainless steel boasts its protective layer due to an alloy which is made up of at least 12% chromium. Chromium reacts with oxygen on the top layers of the stainless steel surface to create the protective coating, chromium-oxide. Stainless steel is available in various grades. Tougher higher grades will also contain ingredients such as titanium or molybdenum.

Standard stainless steel is perfect for use in domestic situations such as for kitchen sinks. But if you’re looking at placing an item in an environment where other factors come into play such as the weather or chemicals, you need to consider selecting a higher-grade stainless steel.

What causes stainless steel to corrode?

Good ole Mother Nature.
Cycle racks, hand rails and street furniture such as park benches and waste bins can suffer damage if located in a seaside location, the salt in the air can slowly break down the protective properties and corrosion may occur.

Chemicals cause corrosion

Contact with chemicals such as large quantities of chlorine can also cause corrosion and result in brown marks, also known as 'tea staining'.

tea staining on stainless steel

Our range of Aqua stainless steel changing room benches are made as standard from 304 grade stainless steel. This is sufficient for use in changing areas when are moderate amount of chlorinated is present. When benches are located by a swimming pool or by the sea, where direct contact with concentrated chemicals may happen, we would recommend the use of 316 grade stainless steel.

How do I prevent corrosion of stainless steel and help prolong its life and help it maintain that high quality shine?

For items in daily contact with chemicals, rinse the stainless steel with clean water to remove chemicals and residue on a regular basis. Show it some love and give it a little buff with a dry cloth.

Optimal stainless steel maintenance

It is almost impossible to keep an item entirely corrosion-free, especially where stainless products are used in industrial environments of high humidity, moisture or those exposed to the elements. But, there is a way to enhance the life and remove staining and to bring back that natural shine. For optimal cleaning and maintenance, professional stainless steel cleaning products are available.

Photograph of Debs

Author Bio -

Content, marketing, social, graphic design and PA to an unusual small red dragon.

ESE Direct Ltd, Wensum Works, 150 Northumberland Street,
Norwich, Norfolk, NR2 4EE
ESE Direct Sponsors Norfolk Wildlife Trust - Investor in Wildlife

Company Reg No: 1279230 - UK VAT No: 287 8262 10
Phone number: 0808 250 0780

ESE Direct are a Feefo Platinum Trusted Service Award Winner 2021 Secured by sage Pay, we accept VISA, Mastercard, Maestro, Paypal or payment via Proforma


*FREE UK mainland delivery on all orders above £45 Ex. VAT
(Excluding postcodes HS, KW, ZE, IV, AB, DD, PH, PA, GY, JE, IM, BT, Isle of Anglesey, Isle of Wight and Eire).

Eastern Storage Equipment Ltd was established in 1975 in Norwich, Norfolk, UK and was rebranded to ESE Direct in 2013.


All content, images and graphics, unless acknowledged separately, on this site are © copyright and may not be copied, modified or distributed in any form or via any medium without written consent of ESE Direct Ltd. E&OE.


© ESE Direct Ltd. / Eastern Storage Equipment Ltd. 2005 - 2021. All Rights Reserved. Calls may be recorded for quality and training purposes.