How To Prevent Rusting On Commercial Stainless Steel Shelving
Stainless steels are the preferred material choice in commercial settings due to their durability and ease of maintenance. However, they will still suffer damages and corrode over time.
Corrosion is a common occurrence in metals, particularly those with high iron content. When exposed to air and moisture, a red or orange coating forms on the surface of metals, consisting primarily of ferric hydroxide or ferric oxide formed by oxidation.
Although rust is not harmful to the human body, it can significantly weaken and damage metal objects like stainless steel shelving racks. In Singapore, where humidity is always at its peak, moisture in the air can hasten the rusting process. Hence, protecting and maintaining the stainless steel equipment in your commercial facility is extremely important. Here’s what you can do.
1. Keep All Stainless Steel Equipment Clean and Dry
Water cannot be left sitting on any metals such as your stainless steel racks or tables because the oxygen present in water molecules causes corrosion. When oxygen and iron come into contact, they combine to form iron oxide, also known as rust.
To prevent your stainless steel equipment from rusting, you should always keep them clean and dry. Contaminants and debris such as dirt can make it harder for the passivation layer on the surface of your equipment to heal when damage occurs.
To keep your equipment clean, simply wipe down surfaces with a soft cloth, warm water, and a mild detergent. There are also cleaning agents formulated specifically for stainless steel to ensure that you won’t cause additional damage while keeping the surfaces and parts clean.
An extra step you can take is to install a dehumidifier.
2. Apply A Protective Coating
Another way to keep your stainless steel from corroding is to apply a protective coating to it. This coating can take many forms, including lubricants, sprays, and even paint.
Anti-rust lubricants and sprays are useful for coating small gaps between screws, while enamel or non-water-based paints can be used to coat larger surface areas to prevent pitting or corrosion. There are also anti-corrosion paints that contain 90% zinc, inorganic zinc silicate, and self-curing ingredients.
3. Avoid Abrasive and Sharp Tools
Avoid using abrasive and sharp tools, such as cutting food directly on top of stainless steel tables, because scratches or cracks in the metal expose them and hold water, allowing oxygen in water molecules to remain in contact with the iron.
Steel wool or metal scouring pads, as well as other abrasive materials containing iron, risk leaving microscopic iron deposits behind, resulting in free iron contamination; iron that is separate from the alloy and is not protected by the chromium oxide.
The free iron contamination reduces the passivation layer's ability to heal. This can lead to rust formation and a reduction in corrosion resistance over time.
4. Control The Chemicals In The Environment
Corrosion can be caused by harsh chemicals in cleaners, chloride, hydrochloric acids, sulfuric acids, and contact with iron or carbon steel. As a result, rust can form when your stainless steel's chromium oxide layer is damaged.
Ensure that your chemicals do not come into contact with any stainless steel equipment. If you must store chemicals on your shelving racks or your steel tables, keep them tightly closed or in a container before placing them on the steel racks.
If your stainless steel equipment does come into contact with harsh chemicals, quickly clean them with warm, mild soapy water and dry them immediately.
Regularly maintaining and keeping your stainless steel equipment clean is key to preventing corrosion. However, even with special care and maintenance, your steel tables and shelving racks can still suffer from damages over time.
When rust becomes too difficult to clean, it is time to replace your stainless steel equipment with newer, stronger models.
Shelvings provides commercial spaces with stainless steel equipment such as shelving racks, steel tables, wire shelving, and workbenches. Constructed with industrial-grade welded wire and certified by NSF®, the equipment is ideal for manufacturing, warehousing, production, and other operational needs. Contact us today for all your storage, handling and ergonomic solutions.