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How to Clean Stainless-Steel Boat Accessories and Parts

If you've recently purchased your first boat, you're undoubtedly experiencing a combination of happiness and apprehension. While a boat is an exciting new purchase, the idea of maintaining it properly can be overwhelming – especially when it comes to keeping your stainless-steel parts looking brand-new. Fortunately, preserving the luster and cleanliness of your boat’s metal parts is quite simple as long as you have the right products and knowledge.

Let’s take a look at how to clean stainless-steel boat parts.

Corrosion 101

One of the main reasons to clean stainless-steel boat parts regularly is to prevent the material from corroding. Although stainless steel is known for being the most corrosion-resistant metal, it’s not entirely rust-proof. Boat owners still need to take particular care when it comes to maintaining stainless-steel hardware on their boats.

Corrosion is what happens when metals break down as a result of chemical reactions. There are three basic types of corrosion – contact, chemical, and atmospheric. The kind that is most likely to affect stainless-steel boats is atmospheric corrosion. This occurs from sea spray, dirt, or rain coming in contact with the metal. As its name implies, contact erosion is the result of foreign matter becoming lodged in the material, while chemical corrosion is the result of exposure to certain chemical preparations, particularly those that contain bleach.

One of the most essential strategies in keeping your vessel free from corrosion is to clean and polish stainless-steel boat parts regularly and properly.

Know Your Material

The first thing you need to do when maintaining your boat’s accessories is to determine which fixtures are truly stainless steel and which are chrome-plated. Even though the two are very similar in appearance, they require very different maintenance techniques. An easy way to tell these materials apart is to apply a magnet to any metal boat parts. Because stainless steel is non-magnetic, the magnet will not stick to it.

Use the Right Products for the Job

To avoid leaving scratches when you clean metal boat hardware, you should always use a soft, clean, and dry chamois cloth. Under no circumstances should you ever use items such as wire brushes, steel wool scrubbing pads, sandpaper, or anything else with a rough texture.

For general upkeep of stainless steel, you don’t need to invest in specially formulated products – soap and water is just as effective. Simply run a soapy cloth over your boat’s metal surfaces, gently rinse it off, and dry the area completely. Be sure to do this regularly, as frequent maintenance will help keep your boat looking brand new and reduce the chances of corrosion.

If your stainless-steel boat fittings have somehow gotten stained, don't panic – you can remove imperfections using Super Stainless Cleaner from GemLux. This product works by initiating a chemical reaction that gently lifts stains. To use, just brush the Super Stainless Cleaner on using a soft cloth, let it sit for 45 minutes, and rinse thoroughly.

Despite its name, stainless steel still needs regular upkeep in order to maintain its appearance. For more information on how to clean your boat’s stainless-steel parts and accessories, contact GemLux today.