Deeageaux - Stainless Steel Question for You

rococogurlApril 24, 2014

A poster over in kitchens had her new SS appliances cleaned with Flitz, which caused discolorations that looked like rust. She wanted to know what to do.

In the course of the usual prescriptions by various posters, jellytoast mentioned that one of her appliances got a scratch and it was clear that the stainless steel was a finish, not an integral material. She described the scratch as looking as if the stainless was applied like auto paint.

So the question naturally arose: which brands actually use sheet stainless and which might have a stainless finish and how to determine that in advance.

I suggested that it's a factor that makes a difference between the highest end appliances and more affordable brands. Electroplated finishes, as we see on faucets, are quite excellent and durable. But clearly, some of these finishes are electroplated.

This is the sort of thing that only you or antss might know so thought I'd ask. To wit: just exactly what are folks buying when they buy a "stainless steel" appliance and how can they determine in advance what they are getting?

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dzane

Speaking of stainless, we are considering using Stainless as a backsplash. I know that some cheaper grades of stainless are magnetic. Magnetic stainless as a backsplash would work very well for me. C'mon opinionistas! Tell me the pros and cons. THanks.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2014 at 2:17PM
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wekick

Here is one article about magnetic vs non magnetic ss.

Here is a link that might be useful: Why don't magnets work on some stainless steels?

    Bookmark   April 24, 2014 at 2:28PM
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deeageaux

In short I don't have an answer.

I have heard of aftermarket products like Thomas' Liquid Stainless.

http://www.liquidstainlesssteel.com/index.html

But I have not heard of large appliance makers coating the appliances in actual stainless. Plastic/paint laminates that approximate SS like Samsung's "Platinum Finish" yes but not actual SS coatings.

My guess would be the only way to know for sure is to scratch the surface.

It does make sense though. It seems high end manufactures like Capital have raised their prices in accordance with rising SS prices but large mainstream manufacturers like Whirlpool have had much smaller increases. Large volume buyers should be able to resist price increases better than small volume buyers but only to a certain point.

I will try to find out when I speak to people that might know about this stuff.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2014 at 3:29PM
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kaseki

Plating stainless steel would require either plating a nickel and steel combination at the same time or plating a proportional (18:8) combination of nickel and chromium with steel at the same time. Nickel plating (yellowish) and chromium plating (blueish) are, of course, a long-time available plating capability. But mixtures seem to me to be difficult. Chemical vapor deposition could handle mixes, as could flame spraying, but surely any of these would be more expensive than just using stainless steel. I would believe that the coating is a paint.

I would clean any steel showing rust or some corrosive discoloration with appropriately diluted phosphoric acid mix followed by a rinse, while wearing adequate personal protection. A scratch that insists on rusting would need a follow-up rinse with a zinc phosphide solution. DuPont makes such chemicals for the auto body trade.

I'm not sure I would call 400 series (magnetic) stainless steel materially cheaper, although it might be slightly less expensive for all I know. It is used in many applications where better corrosion resistance is needed at the expense of prettiness (discoloration). Welding hoods using one or the other material may involve different costs for meeting appearance standards.

kas

    Bookmark   April 24, 2014 at 8:49PM
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jellytoast

Thanks for asking this rococogurl!

"My guess would be the only way to know for sure is to scratch the surface."

deegeaux, I still don't know for sure what it is, only that it isn't like real stainless steel. Rococogurl's explanation of a spray on stainless colored coating seems the most likely. If it is a stainless steel sheet, it is thinner than a sheet of paper!

Do let us know if you find anything out.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2014 at 5:13PM
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rococogurl

Not to misunderstand the question, I'm not thinking that actual stainless steel would be plated. No need.

To be clear the question is which appliances are made with actual sheet stainless -- I can tell f,ex. that SZ and Miele are -- while others are selling stainless steel appliances and referring to the finish.

I've never heard of their being any rule that stainless appliances need not be called that if there is another metal being used that is electroplated.

I know that faucets are made this way and sold as stainless when they are stainless finish.

So that's the question. Which appliances are actually stainless and which are finish? Does anyone know?

When jelly toast scratches hers and the finish seems to come off, it's a no brainer. I can scratch mine and there will just be a scratch in the metal.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2014 at 6:30PM
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deeageaux

I can scratch mine and there will just be a scratch in the metal.

That is why you scratch an area that is not seen from a normal view in the kitchen. Sides back underneath. Some place inconspicuous.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2014 at 7:46PM
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PRO
Sophie Wheeler

GE makes ''clean steel'' which is a lower grade of stainless with a clearcoaat. Whirlpool has ''silver mist'' which is a paint finish. LG has ''platinum'' which is a powder coat. There are a lot of the faux stainless steel appliances out therethat advertise themselves as ''fingerprint resistant'', but none of them are EVER advertised as being ''stainless steel''. If someone buys one of them and mistakenly thinks they have stainless, then they didn't read the specs close enough.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2014 at 8:48PM
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rococogurl

Very helpful info holly. but my impression from the other thread is that people think they are getting actual stainless, not a finish in many cases. Jellytoast felt that for 3k she was getting a stainless fride, not a coated finish, not that they advertise as one thing and switch. It's just not made clear. Folks on the kitchen forum tend to be conscious of things like this and on this case there was surprise.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2014 at 12:24PM
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jellytoast

"If someone buys one of them and mistakenly thinks they have stainless, then they didn't read the specs close enough."

From KA's website:

KA Proline series "towel bar handles complement a STAINLESS STEEL exterior"

And from the manual ...

"To keep your stainless steel refrigerator looking like new
and to remove minor scuffs or marks, it is suggested that
you use the manufacturerâÂÂs approved Stainless Steel
Cleaner and Polish, Part Number 4396920. To order the
cleaner, call 1-800-442-9991U.S.A."

There is nothing in the specs that says anything to the contrary.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2014 at 10:53AM
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