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Care and Maintenance

Care & Maintenance of Alpro Stainless Steel Handles

Stainless steels are selected in applications where their inherent corrosion resistance, strength and aesthetic appeal are required. However, dependent on the service conditions, stainless steels will stain and discolour due to surface deposits and so cannot be assumed to be completely maintenance free. In order to achieve maximum corrosion resistance and aesthetic appeal, the surface of the stainless steel must be kept clean. Provided the grade of stainless steel and the surface finish are correctly selected, and cleaning schedules carried out on a regular basis, good performance and long service life will result.

Factors Affecting Maintenance
Surface contamination and the formation of deposits must be prevented. These deposits may be minute particles of iron or rust from other sources used on the building of new premises and not removed until after the stainless steel items have been fixed. Industrial and even naturally occurring atmospheric conditions can produce deposits, which can be equally corrosive, e.g. salt deposits from marine conditions.

Working environments can also provide aggressive conditions such as heat and humidity, in swimming pool buildings. These conditions can result in surface discoloration of stainless steels and so maintenance on a more frequent basis may be required.

Modern processes use many cleaners, sterilizers and bleaches for hygienic purposes. Proprietary solutions, when used in accordance with makers’ instructions, should be safe but if used incorrectly (e.g. warm or concentrated), may cause discolouration or corrosion on stainless steels. Strong acid solutions are sometimes used to clean masonry and tiling of buildings. These acids should never be used where contact with metals, including stainless steel is possible, but if this happens, the acid solution must be removed immediately, followed by dilution and rinsing with clean water.

Maintenance Programme
With care taken during fabrication and installation, cleaning before "hand-over" should not present any problems. More attention may be required if the installation period has been prolonged or hand-over delayed. Where surface contamination is suspected, immediate cleaning after site fixing should avoid problems later. Food handling, pharmaceutical, aerospace and certain nuclear applications required extremely high levels of cleanliness applicable to each industry.

The frequency of cleaning is dependent on the application; a simple rule is; "Clean the metal when it is dirty in order to restore its original appearance". This may vary from once to four times a year for external applications, but may be daily for items in "hygienic" applications. Recommendations on cleaning frequencies in architectural applications are shown in Table 2.

Cleaning Methods
Stainless steel is easy to clean. Washing with soap or mild detergent and warm water followed by a clear water rinse is usually quite adequate for domestic and architectural equipment.

Where stainless steel has become extremely dirty with signs of surface discolouration (perhaps following periods of neglect, or misuse) alternative methods of cleaning can be used, as outlined in the Table 1.

Stainless Steel Advisory Service 12th March 2001.

Assessment of Cleaners and Polishes for use on Stainless Steel

British Steel Swinden technology Centre-Confidential Report SL/SSE/RGC/S1147/1/97/R PF Freeman.

Architects Guide to Stainless Steel Steel Construction Insititute-SCI-P-179 N Baddoo,R Burgan,R Ogden.

PLEASE NOTE: before commencing any tasks ensure that you have received the appropriate health and safety literature from the supplier and that you fully understand it. If in any doubt please seek advice. The advice provided is given in good faith but without responsibility.

Care & Maintenance of Alpro Coated and Anodised Handles
For the maintenance of coated handles, a mild solution of warm water and appropriate detergent is suggested. All surfaces of the handle should be cleaned, using a soft cloth or brush and dried thoroughly. Again a frequency of every three to six months is suggested.

Satin anodised door furniture, should be wiped over with a damp cloth and thoroughly dried, a wipe over with wax polish is then suggested to ensure ongoing aesthetics. Never use metal cleaning agents on aluminium anodised furniture.

Table 1 - Summary of Cleaning Methods for Stainless Steel

Requirement Suggested Method Comments
Routine cleaning of light soiling Soap, detergent or dilute (1%) ammonia solution in warm clean water. Apply with a clean sponge, soft cloth or soft-fibre brush then rinse in clean water and dry. Satisfactory on most surfaces.
Fingerprints Detergent and warm water, alternatively, hydrocarbon solvent. Proprietary spray-applied polishes available to clean and minimise remarking.
Oil and grease marks Hydrocarbon solvents (methylated spirit, isopropyl alcohol or acetone). Alkaline formulations are also available with surfactant additions e.g."D7" Polish.
Stubborn spots, stains and light discolouration. Watermarking. Light rust staining Mild, non-scratching creams and polishes. Apply with soft cloth or soft sponge and rinse off residues with clean water and dry. Avoid cleaning pastes with abrasive additions. Suitable cream cleansers are available with soft calcium carbonate additions, e.g. "Cif", or with the addition of citric acid, e.g. "Shiny Sinks". Do not use chloride solutions.
Burnt on food or carbon deposits Pre-soak in hot water with detergent or ammonia solution. Remove deposits with nylon brush and fine scouring powder if necessary. Repeat if necessary and finish with "routine cleaning". Abrasive scouring powder can leave scratch marks on polished surfaces.
Tannin (tea) stains and oily deposits in coffee urns Tannin stains - soak a hot solution of washing soda i.e. sodium carbonate Coffee deposits - soak in a hot solution of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate). These solutions can also applied with a soft cloth or sponge. Rinse with clean water. Satisfactory on most surfaces.
Adherent hard water scales and mortar/cement splashes 10-15 volume % solution of phosphoric acid. Use warm neutralise with dilute ammonia solution, rinse with clean water and dry. Alternatively soak in a 25% vinegar solution and use a nylon brush to remove deposits. Proprietary formulations available with surfactant additions Take special care when using hydrochloric acid based mortar removers.
Heating or heavy discolouration a) Non-scratching cream or polish e.g. Solvol Auto Chrome Metal Polish. b) Nylon-type pad, e.g.’Scotchbrite’. Creams are suitable for most finishes, but only use "Solvol" on bright polished surfaces. Some slight scratching can be left. Use on brushed and polished finishes along the grain.
Badly neglected surfaces with accumulated grime deposits A fine, abrasive paste as used for car body refinishing, e.g. ‘T-Cut’ rinsed clean to remove all paste material & dried. May brighten dull finishes. To avoid a patchy appearance, the whole surface may need to be treated.
Paint, graffiti Proprietary alkaline or solvent paint strippers, depending upon paint type. Use soft nylon or bristle brush on patterned surfaces. Apply as directed by manufacturer.

Table 2 - Cleaning Frequency in Architectural Applications for Common Stainless Steel Grades Specified (See reference 2)

Location 1.4016 (430) 1.4301 (304) 1.4401 (316)
Internal As required to maintain appearance or design
Suburban or rural 6-12 month intervals (as appropriate to location and design)
Industrial or urban Not recommended 3-6 months 6-12 months
Coastal or marine Not recommended Not recommended 6-12 months

Above table is for guidance only and handles should be cleaned as required bearing in mind the location. Frequency of cleaning may depend on external factors such as window cleaning solutions being used in the handles vicinity.

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