How to cleaning Decorative 304 Stainless Steel

How to cleaning Decorative 304 Stainless Steel

304 stainless steel decorative hardware is easy to clean. The added properties of chromium and nickel to the steel add to the corrosion resistance. Knowing this does not however take you off the hook for caring for your decorative 304 stainless steel.

There are several do's and don'ts.

Let's start with the do's:

1) To clean and polish 304 stainless steel moisten a clean cloth with white vinegar. Rub and wipe dry.

2) Use a mild dish soap and water to remove dirt and grit. Always rinse with clear

water and wipe dry with a clean dry cloth.

3) Try a mild paste of water and baking soda. This is a nonabrasive cleaner. But

remember to rinse well and dry.

4) To remove streaks try club soda on a clean cloth and again rinse well.

5) Finally after cleaning you can rub your 304 stainless decorative hardware with

Olive oil. This also helps to remove streaks. Then buff it to a beautiful finish.

Now for the don'ts:

1) Do not use cleaners containing chlorine. They will stain the hardware.

2) Do not use any abrasive cleaners.

3) Do not use steel wool or steel brushes. Both abrasive cleaners and steel wool or

Steel brushes will leave scratches.

For the consumer stainless steel is available in many grades. As an example 430 stainless steel which is used on many consumer products, technically is very different from 304.

The more expensive 304 stainless is far more corrosion resistant than the 430. 

When shopping for stainless steel decorative hardware take a magnet with you. Seriously. 430 stainless will rust and stain and requires extra care and feeding. You will need to take extra care to postpone corrosion. However, there is a very simple test you can do.

Hold a magnet up the stainless piece you are interested in. If it sticks it is 430 stainless (no matter what any sales person tells you). If it does not it is the superior 304 stainless. You see, in addition to being inferior, 430 stainless is also magnetic.

Mary Barrett President EHC (The European Hardware Company) 800 975-7089


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