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What about your stainless steel lights? How do I clean them?
All outdoor lights, including stainless steel (irrespective of the grade of steel used in construction) need to be cleaned regularly. Imagine how bad your car would look if you left it out in the weather for a whole year and never cleaned it! Stainless steel revivers can be used to reduce the appearance of tea staining and to add a protective layer to the fitting.
Oriel Lighting offers a number of 202, 314 and 316 Stainless Steel light fittings, or light fittings with stainless steel components and recommends careful selection and regular care & maintenance particularly when used outdoors. Your lighting specialist can advise you here.
Not all of the components of Stainless Steel outdoor lights are stainless steel, some may be aluminium, brass or copper. These materials will react differently to the conditions, atmosphere and chemicals.
Stainless Steel enjoys a strong and enduring reputation for long-term endurance and structural integrity. Stainless Steel offers a “raw” finish and should not be expected to resemble the popular plated finishes available (brushed chrome or satin nickel) as it will have surface polishing marks & abrasions.
Like all “raw” materials, stainless steel may become stained or discolour over time, impairing the overall look. This form of corrosion is often called “tea staining” and if left unchecked will result in what appears to be surface rust.
This discolouration is of the surface only and does not affect the structural integrity of the Stainless Steel.
There are differing GRADES of Stainless Steel, however all require maintenance. Even Stainless Steel of grade 316 will deteriorate similarly if left unattended. It should also be noted that the main corrosive for Stainless Steel, after the atmosphere, is warm chloride environments – a feature (chlorinated) pond for example. Garden chemicals can speed up the deterioration.
Washing removes contaminants (such as salt) that can cause tea staining. Rain washing over the fitting is not generally enough. Ideally warm water with a mild detergent should be used. The surface should be wiped dry. If the finish has deteriorated to a point where this is ineffective, then the use of a stainless steel cleaner / polishing product will be necessary.