Stainless steel is everywhere in a commercial kitchen, and it's no wonder--it's such a durable, easy-to-clean material, plus it looks great too. But it's not a totally maintenance-free item, and it can start to rust if not properly cared for. Fortunately, properly caring for your stainless steel flatware, cookware, work tables, sinks, and even stainless steel equipment is easy. Read on for the best way to clean stainless steel and keep your equipment, cookware, and flatware looking great for years to come!
Unlike iron or steel that readily corrodes, stainless steel contains additional metals like chromium and nickel. Don't confuse stainless steel with galvanized steel--galvanized steel is plain steel with a layer of zinc deposited on the surface.
While there are many different "series" (different compositions) of stainless steel, two of the most common ones you'll see in the food service industry are 400 series and 300 series.
Without getting too technical, adding these metals in specific percentages to the steel itself change its makeup all the way down at the atomic level, and form an invisible film on the surface, which protects the metal against corrosion.
Because this film is only millionths of an inch thick, it can be damaged if abused. Three basic things can damage this protective layer and allow corrosion to take hold:
They not only clean and shine, but also help enhance the protective film. It's also a good idea to clean and sanitize frequently, using chemicals at the required strength. Noble's QuikSan is a ready-to-use sanitizer that won't damage stainless steel and is great for sanitizing work tables, and other surfaces around your commercial kitchen. Cleaning stainless steel regularly also prevents dirt or spills from drying onto the surface so you won't have to work as hard to clean anyway!
For other types of cleaners including citrus-based cleaners, bleach, and deliming agents, the key is to rinse them off thoroughly after use.
Stainless steel flatware will last longer and look better if you keep the following tips in mind:
Most of the general tips for stainless steel care also apply to stainless steel cookware. A few other points: