Stainless steel tubes require cleaning at regular intervals for effective maintenance of their integrity.You can educate about the signs of contamination, corrosion, and surface degradation of stainless steel to determine what degree of cleaning and care it requires.To establish the best cleaning criteria, you need to identify the scope and objectives of your cleaning process by carefully inspecting the stainless steel tubes. Accordingly, you need to deploy the best cleaning practices that adhere to the industry standards defined for the custom-built stainless steel tubes.
The surface of stainless steel tubes has a thin layer of chromium oxide which protects the metal from corrosion. The alloy’s chromium content combines with oxygen from the atmosphere to form the passive layer of chromium oxide. Various contaminants can get trapped within the passive film and can severely affect its corrosion resistance properties. Hence, stainless steel products require regular cleaning to prevent corrosion and protect the luster of the surface.
The various types of pipe contamination for 316 stainless steel tubes and other grades are dirt, iron contamination, deposition of oil, paint, grease, and rust. For cleaning stainless steel tubes, you can refer to the following.
To carry out routine cleaning of stainless steel tubes, you can clean them with soap, mild detergent, or ammonia solutions in warm water. You can apply any of these agents with a soft cloth or nylon sponge. After this, you need to rinse and dry it with a soft cloth. It helps to remove ordinary soiling. While cleaning stainless steel, use mild non-scratching abrasive powders, and avoid using standard carbon steel brushes or steel wool. It can leave articles embedded on the surface, which can trigger rusting.
You can use organic solvents to remove stains that are fresh and have not yet oxidized or decomposed. The solvent should not contain chlorine, like acetone, methyl alcohol, and mineral spirits. You can immerse smaller articles into the solvents or use the vapor cleaning method to control the discharge of solvents. Wipe it post-cleaning.
For Moderate Soiling
You can use a mild abrasive cleaner for moderate soiling and light staining and use a soft cloth, nylon scouring pad, or a soft bristle brush. In the direction of the polished finish, use the material to make long, even strokes. You need to avoid using a circular rubbing action. After you clean it, you need to rinse and dry-wipe to complete the process and remove water stains.
For Heavier Soiling
For more intense staining and heavy soiling, you can use ammonia solution or warm/hot detergents. You can also use acidic cleaners and follow the cleaning procedures mentioned for moderate soiling.
To maximize the corrosion resistance capability of stainless steel and remove surface contaminants, you can use the passivation treatment. First, you need to clean the stainless steel surface thoroughly and remove the pollutants. After this, you need to enter the metal in a passivating acid bath. Depending on the chromium content and the machinability properties of the stainless steel grade, the nature of the passivation treatment will vary.
While selecting the cleaning practices for stainless steel tubes, you need to carefully analyze the potential of the cleaning agent to counter the contamination or corrosion. Proper routine care can extend the lifespan of stainless steel.