Does Stainless Steel Rust?

Stainless Steel

There are a lot of myths out there about stainless steel and outdoor kitchens. Let’s set the record straight.

The myth is that stainless steel does not rust but unfortunately that is not true, stainless steel is susceptible to rusting.

The Facts

There are two different metals, active and passive.  Active metals such as iron and steel easily corrode showing yellow or orange rust.  Stainless steel is referred to as passive because it contains other metals including chromium.  There are two grades of stainless, 304 and 316L. The 316L contains additional molybdenum and resists corrosion in environments rich in salt and chloride, thus known as “marine grade”

stainless steel. However, the addition of molybdenum only delays corrosion, it does not stop it. Regardless whether you use 304 or 316Lstainless steel cabinetry or appliances for your outdoor area, they require maintenance.

Chromium creates an invisible shield and the cabinets or appliances remain corrosion resistant until this shield is broken down. Three things that can cause this to happen is as follows:

  1. Mechanical abrasion – steel pads, wire brushes and scrapers will scratch the steel surface.
  2. Water – depending on where you live, your water can be hard or soft. Hard water may leave spots and when heated leave deposits behind. These can break down this layer leaving the stainless steel to rust. Remove deposits from food preparation.
  3. Chlorides – are found everywhere including in water, food and table salt.  Household and industrial cleaners contain some of the worst chlorides.

Tips for Success


As great as an outdoor kitchen may be, there is some maintenance that comes with owning one.

How quickly your outdoor stainless steel cabinets and appliances will rust depends on the type of stainless steel and how well you maintain them. The following are cleaning tips to reduce the risk of rusting and corrosion:


  1. Use only alkaline, alkaline-chlorinated or non-chloride cleaners.
  2. Avoid hydrochloric acid (muriatic acid) on your stainless steel.
  3. Always use a non-abrasive cleaning tool such as a soft cloth or plastic scouring pad.
  4. Avoid steel pads, wire brushes, scrapers.
  5. Always clean in the direction of the polishing marks by locating the lines or grain and scrub in a motion parallel to them.
  6. If you do end up using a chlorinated cleaner, be sure to rinse thoroughly and dry the  surface immediately.
  7. Air dry your equipment.

Finally, it is important to note that stainless steel is NOT stain proof, it is stain less.

Working With Magazi Kitchen and Baths

Magazi Kitchens and Baths and A.G. Building and Remodeling will work with you to meet your budget and accomplish improvements that will make a statement and allow you to enjoy your space. Relying on 25 years of experience with kitchen and bath planning and remodeling, Magazi Kitchens & Baths works with you to understand your dream for the space. By combining the talents of a designer and installer that work together every step of the way, we ensure your project is built in the most efficient and economical way. Our work spans Montgomery, Howard, Baltimore, and Anne Arundel Counties, including the towns of Bethesda, Silver Spring, Rockville, Kensington, Olney, Gaithersburg, Columbia, Ellicott City, Annapolis, and more. Be sure to follow us on FacebookGoogle +Twitter, and LinkedIn!

This entry was posted on Friday, June 22nd, 2018 at 5:40 pm. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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