Maintenance and stainless steel

TEA STAINING - AN INSTALLER'S AND END USER'S GUIDE TO COASTAL CORROSION

What is it?

  • Tea staining is a type of atmospheric corrosion that can appear on the surface of stainless steel.
  • It is NOT rust and will not affect the structural integrity.
  • It is common in coastal areas (within 5km) whee salt is allowed to build up on the surface of the steel.
  • Stainless steel surface corrosion can also occur through contact with harsh cleaning acids (e.g. hydrochloric acid) or carbon steel (via spray from grinding, incorrect use of flap disks or welds not properly cleaned); this is NOT tea staining.

How to remove it

  • If you have a tea staining problem it is important to act quickly. The staining will get worse and will come back repeatedly if left too long before cleaning.
  • If the finish of your fittings is brushed satin then most stains can be scrubbed off using a standard household scourer. DO NOT USE STEEL WOOL.
  • For mirror polished fittings or particularly bad stains a mild cleaning acid should be used. Either Phosphoric or Sulphamic Acid can be applied with a brush, left to react for approximately 30-60 minutes (or until stains disappear) and washed off with clean water.
  • These acids can be obtained from several sources:

Revolution Advanced Metals and Materials (www.revolutionmaterials.com.au) sell a product called INOX-CLEAN which is specially designed for tea staining and contains approx. 20% Phosphoric Acid.

Cleaners Warehouse (www.cleanerswarehouse.com) sell various cleaning acids including "Splash Alpine" - approx. 12% Sulphamic Acid and "Blue Lazer" - approx. 15% Phosphoric Acid.

IMPORTANT: Always take appropriate safety precautions when using acid i.e. wears safety glasses, gloves and have a wash station or hose nearby.

 

 

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