9 November 2022

Why is My Stainless Steel Not Stainless?

So you’ve got the most expensive stainless steel pool fittings and finishes, and had a good season of sparkly enjoyment. But low and behold they’ve started to discolour and even rust… but stainless means stainless, no?

Well NO, actually!

Although the stainless steel used in swimming pool fixtures and fittings is the most resistant to corrosion in warm, submerged environments it can (and probably will) still corrode in places.

Stainless steel is an alloy of iron, at least 11% chromium, and various other metals and non-metals to provide other properties. The chromium reacts to form a protective oxide layer, but any abrasion or chemical interference no matter how small can spark the creation of a corrosive patch, which can then grow and form rust (iron oxide).

So YES! Your stainless steel is authentic, and can indeed be susceptible to rust. So what can you do?

Actually stainless steel in pools requires cleaning and protection throughout the course of its usage, this includes soft cleaning and hard cleaning.

Soft cleaning means rinsing and wiping the fittings with a soft cloth and gentle cleaning product to remove any dirt and grime. This can be done periodically to reduce the built up of heavy rust which can lead to pitting and irreversible damage.

In order to introduce an additional protective layer between the stainless steel surfaces and corrosive elements, wax can be applied and buffed to a shine. Not only does this produce a shiny new finish, it can provide an extra layer of protection for up to 6 months.

In the case of more heavy corrosion, hard cleaning may be required which is where a gently abrasive cleaning device and/or product are used to physical remove corrosion. This tends to occur in areas of strain and movement, especially in areas with less movement as in the cover pit if there the pool has one. In this instance it is also sensible to apply a type of grease designed for naval use, which can be applied under water without draining the pool, and provides a more substantial barrier between the stainless steel and corrosive elements.

If you would like more information on how to maintain your stainless steel components please get in touch. We also provide a stainless steel maintenance service which can be added onto your usual maintenance plan, or as a one off visit.