The modern-day lifestyle has paved the way for sophisticated appliances to take over the world, thanks to technology. The importance of technology in our world cannot be understated. The world is changing and the most amazing thing about the change is how human beings are seamlessly slotting in. Part of what technology has caused us to enjoy some appliances that have made life easier for us. We can only wonder how life could have been if these appliances hadn’t been invented. Some have even been tagged “smart” as people can now control them from their different smartphones and do just about a lot of things with them. Stainless steel, one of the most popular finishes as far as home appliances are concerned, has made its way into the appliances market in a big way. “Stainless steel this, stainless steel that.” Every household now has at least one item made of stainless steel. However, despite being called stainless steel due to the presence of a chromium oxide layer that can prevent it from different stains like corrosion, discoloration, and rust, stainless steel is still susceptible to these aforementioned stains because the chromium layer can be damaged at some point. Knowing how to prevent stainless steel from rusting will do you a lot of good in the house as you’ll be able to prevent total damage to your stainless steel items/appliances and also save yourself a lot of money in the process. The good thing about chromium oxide is that it can self-heal. If you can detect the rust soon enough and get to the root of it, you can return the chromium oxide layer to its usual form.
Prevention is better than cure; that’s what we’ve always known because sometimes, it’s just hard to return something to its usual form after it must have been tampered with. Knowing how to protect stainless steel from rust is arguably far better than knowing how to remove rust from stainless steel.
Knowing how to stop stainless steel from rusting will do you a lot of good and that’s what we’re going to be discussing later in this article. But before then, we’re going to be looking at the most popular stainless steel items/appliances found in the home and the ones that are most susceptible to rust due to exposure to air and water.
How Popular Are Stainless Steel Appliances?
We can’t close our eyes to the popularity of stainless steel appliances for the past few decades and homeowners have duly loved it. Many people prefer stainless steel appliances and items in their spaces for many reasons, some of which we’ll be discussing later in this article. Despite people’s busy schedules, there are people who spend more time in their kitchen spaces. A recent study by Houzz shows that about two-thirds of homeowners spend over three hours in their kitchens. This shows how much others regard their kitchen spaces, thus explaining why they invest a lot. People are open to new ideas in terms of finishes but stainless steel has managed to be the star of the pack, as proved by the 2019 edition of the five most popular kitchens on Houzz, with all of them boasting stainless steel appliances.
Apart from the fact that people find stainless steel appliances appealing because of how much beauty they add to their spaces, the stainless steel material is also popular because it’s durable. According to Frederick Real Estate Online, the average life expectancy of refrigerators, electric ovens/ranges, and dishwashers stand at 9-14 years, 13-15 years, and 7-10 years respectively. This shows that if you’re targeting long-term, stainless steel appliances are still your best bet.
What are the most popular kitchen appliances?
Take a minute to imagine what the world would be like without some of the appliances we get to enjoy today. Take for example a refrigerator. Imagine a world without a refrigerator which means there’s no fast way to preserve food and as a result, you have to take a trip to the grocery store more often than easy and even have to settle for canned items. It’s even hard to imagine a life without these appliances because we’ve gotten so used to them that we almost can’t live without them. We have air conditioning units and heaters to keep us cool and warm, we have gas and electric ranges to prepare our food without much stress, we have microwave ovens to keep them warm and preserve cooked food. It is quite hard to think of what would have happened if these appliances hadn’t existed in this modern world.
Let’s take a look at some of the popular appliances around the house for the past few decades;
A refrigerator is one of the most popular appliances in the house and it comes in different types; French door refrigerator, top freezer refrigerator, bottom freezer refrigerator, and many more. It plays a great role in the kitchen such as preserving food items and leaving you with enough cold drinks to consume when the temperatures begin to climb up.
There are traditional ways of cooking but none of them makes cooking as easy as a cooking range does. A range can come in electric or gas form, and both range types make cooking easier and more comfortable. Apart from that, we have cooking ranges with different finishes that range from matte black to stainless steel, all of which make them look so beautiful and give the kitchen a different look.
With the hope of finding something that would make people spend less time cooking, the domestic microwave oven was introduced in 1967 and several decades later, it is safe to say that it’s still serving its purpose, albeit, in a more modern and sophisticated way. Today, it is one of the most important kitchen appliances and not just because it makes cooking easier for people but for the many features that now come with it, thanks to technology.
Why do people love stainless steel? (Benefits of stainless steel)
Commanding that modern look, it’s hard not to have stainless steel items in the house, be it your bathroom or kitchen. Information provided by the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers shows how much popularity stainless steel has accrued in the past few years. Take for example side-by-side refrigerators. Stats provided by Reviewed show the shipments of stainless steel side-by-side refrigerators increasing drastically (by 25%) in just 5 years, from 2010 to 2015. This is enough proof that stainless steel items and appliances have been on the high side and manufacturers have duly taken advantage of these popular demands to increase their turnovers.
There are reasons why stainless steel is a popular finish though. Below are some of the benefits of stainless steel;
If you ask 10 homeowners with stainless steel appliances in their homes why they love stainless steel items/appliances, 8 out of the 10 homeowners will mention “durability” as one of their reasons. A lot of people see every stainless steel item as a part of their long-term plans. They don’t see themselves buying these appliances yearly or every half-a-decade, so they don’t look at the huge prices slam on these appliances because they know what they’re getting their hands on. What more, stainless steel is an alloy mixed with other metals, making it a strong option. On top of that, it has the ability to resist heat, rust, and corrosion, which is another reason why a lot of people decide to opt for it when faced with different material options. An average stainless appliance/item should last for about 7-15 years so when you’re purchasing one, you should know you’re covered in that area for the next 7 years on the minimum.
It is non-porous
If you prioritize healthy living and you don’t want germs near your space, be it kitchen or bathroom, then stainless steel should be your go-to material. Its non-porous nature makes it a tough place for germs to dwell. This is why you see lots of businesses in the health industries choose stainless steel items. Hospitals, factories, pharmacies, and even offices often have stainless steel items because it is one of the required conditions for a healthy environment due to its non-porosity. A stainless steel-dominated space is no home for germs too well.
Another reason why people often opt for stainless steel around the house is that they are very easy to clean. Unlike other surface finishes that need a rigorous cleaning process, stainless steel only needs a basic cleaning process to wipe off the stains on it. Usually, fingerprints are the most common stains with the stainless steel surface and many commercial cleaning products can get rid of them in a matter of seconds. Cleaning isn’t anybody’s favorite thing to do and one of the best ways to avoid it in excess is by investing in stainless steel items/appliances around the house.
Complements any decor
According to Architecture Restoration, it doesn’t matter what the decoration of your house is, the stainless steel finish will perfectly complement it. If anything the stainless steel finish surface is widely known for, it is complementing other things in the house even if they are not made of stainless steel. In your kitchen, stainless steel items will complement that granite countertop perfectly, alongside other appliances in the space with different finish surfaces. Also in the bathroom, it doesn’t matter what you’ve got on the wall, your stainless steel faucets will still complement seamlessly.
Why should you have a rethink about stainless steel? (Drawbacks of stainless steel)
We’ve been able to see some of the many reasons why a lot of people consider stainless steel as the best surface finish they can possibly get on the market. However, this doesn’t mean that there are no reasons for you to reconsider after seeing those benefits. Like everything else in the world, stainless steel comes with its downsides but the good thing the benefits outweigh the drawbacks and that shows what a quality material stainless steel is and why it’s still very popular around every household.
Below are some of the downsides of the stainless steel material;
It is usually expensive
If you’re looking for a cost-efficient finish, you should think twice before opting for stainless steel because it’s not the most cost-efficient metal out there. Manufacturing stainless steel is not as easy as the other surface finishes, making its items and appliances come with rather hefty price tags. This is why many industries seldom implement it in some of their products because it’ll command hefty prices which might put a lot of people off. If you’re on a tight budget, you might consider opting for other materials.
It shows dirt easily
Despite being non-porous and easy to clean, you might want to weigh your options again if you have kids at home and you’re also considering stainless steel items for your bathrooms and kitchen. Stainless steel items and appliances will display smudges and fingerprints far too easily and if you love to have your kitchen in a certain way (without stains), stainless steel won’t give you that except you’re cool with cleaning almost every time.
How to prevent rust on stainless steel appliances
Rust is such an annoying thing and if you don’t pay attention to it, it will cost you a lot of money trying to replace damaged items. Whether you’re a home or business owner and you like to have stainless steel items and appliances around you, special attention needs to be paid to these items because they often come with hefty price tags and replacement shouldn’t be that easy even if you have the financial capability. Treating steel to prevent rust has therefore become an important process and as a result, you need to know how to prevent rust. This way, you’ll be saving yourself a lot of money, and not just that, you’ll keep your stainless steel items fresh as they will retain their rather beautiful looks which make them the ideal choice in the first place.
The basic step to take is to prevent moisture from getting to the metal which can be done in many ways. We’ve highlighted the best ways to treat the metal to prevent rust;
Never use chloride-based substances on stainless steel
Every stainless steel item comes with a manual that strongly warns against the use of chloride-based cleaners because of the effect they have on stainless steel. Chloride-based cleaners will only cause your stainless steel items/appliances to rust and pit, and to avoid the stress of going through the process of correcting the rust with methods like baking soda or white vinegar, you should just stick to alkaline chlorinated cleaners and not their chloride-based counterparts.
Treat your water regularly
This is not new anymore and you’ve probably heard it somewhere but we’ll bring your mind back to it again; hard water stains can cause rust. To avoid this, reduce the deposits and corrosive elements by regularly treating your hard water to be softened. You might have to involve a treatment specialist to help you with this if you’re not sure what to do or how to best treat hard water in your space.
Stubborn stains can build up to the point of rustiness but what you can do to avoid that is by cleaning regularly. A lot can be avoided by doing what seems like a simple task and although nobody likes to clean, it can save you a whole lot of money in the process. It has proved to be one of the best ways to neutralize rust over the years.
Use only the right cleaning tools
We mentioned earlier that what gives stainless steel protection against things like rust, corrosion, discoloration and many more is the presence of a chromium oxide layer. Using the right tools such as non-abrasive tools, soft scouring pads, and microfiber towels when cleaning will ensure nothing happens to the chromium oxide.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can rust be stopped?
The moment you notice rust on your stainless steel item and begin the process to get it wiped off is when you’ve truly stopped it. Yes, rust can be stopped. If you’re beginning to notice rust on your stainless steel refrigerator, here is an article to help you get rid of it.
2. How long does it take for stainless steel to rust?
If stainless steel is in constant exposure to oxygen and water, it’ll start to show signs of rust in about 4 to 5 days. The good thing is that it can be corrected using popular corrective methods like baking soda, vinegar, and oxalic acid-based cleaners.
3. Can stainless steel rust?
Yes, it can.
If you run a stainless steel-dominated home, you have to be on a constant lookout for rust because it can make you spend more than you’ll ever imagine, which means replacing all damaged items and appliances. We’ve highlighted the best things to do to prevent stainless steel from rusting but you can make further research to explore further options and steps to take when preventing stainless steel from rusting. We hope that you find this piece helpful at the end of the day.
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