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Old 25-12-2006, 20:38   #1
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Magic Stainless Steel Cleaner

After leaving a metal toolbox on the floor of a cabin that later got wet and left a large rust stain, I purchased some "THE WORKS" cleaner ($1.19 for 24 ounces) at WalMart. It is basically Hydrochloric acid. Removes rust and calcium stains from fiberglass without damage.

While trying to remove some rust from a deck fitted stanchion, stainless steel, I swiped it at the pitted rust that always comes on such deck fittings and it evaporated the rust. It was WAY too easy. Previously my wife had been using Nev'r Dull, with good success, but hours of work and rubbing.

I wiped the "The Works" solution on, rust gone, and then wiped off the stainless with a diesel coated rag to put some oil on the steel as well as remove excess acid. So far it seems to keep the steel clean LONGER than the Nev'r Dull, and at about 1/10th the time, and 1/5th the cost of the Nev'r Dull seems too good to be true. We're stocking more before WalMart finds out it is being used on BOATS which will jack the cost up like everything else related to boats.

Break Out Another Thousand.... oh well.

STILL never had this much fun even at the BEST day at the office!

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Old 25-12-2006, 20:45   #2
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Hey great tip. I have used wink toilet bowl cleaner for years with the same effect. Just be careful with LPU paints because it will dull them.
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Old 25-12-2006, 20:48   #3
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"Rust Never Sleeps" Neil Young 1979!

Better stock up OTG! Nice tip! Thanks.
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Old 26-12-2006, 05:02   #4
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Partially dissolved acids have a number of applications on a boat but the stiffer ones are more a gross method of cleaning than something that's desirable to use regularly. If you have stainless that needs periodic cleaning to remove corrosion and a waxy application to preserve its finish, I haven't found anything that even comes close to Easy Dab from National Chemical. They make industrial cleaners (800 NAT CHEM) and their products are sold thru-out N America. Easy Dab requires no gloves, a very little bit swept over a stainless surface removes surface corrosion easily, leaves a nice film that has some protective qualities, and sells for about $9/quart. The one we use aboard WHOOSH has been in constant use for 2 years, is still half full. No neutralizing or secondary wipedown needed. I usually work the deck hardware thoroughly at the beginning of the season, then do it again when putting the boat to bed at season's end. It's marvelous stuff and, while it makes the galley stove totally sparkle, it's also a way to clean that rasty oven interior (which does take elbow grease).

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Old 26-12-2006, 07:27   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Euro Cruiser
Partially dissolved acids have a number of applications on a boat but the stiffer ones are more a gross method of cleaning than something that's desirable to use regularly. If you have stainless that needs periodic cleaning to remove corrosion and a waxy application to preserve its finish, I haven't found anything that even comes close to Easy Dab from National Chemical. They make industrial cleaners (800 NAT CHEM) and their products are sold thru-out N America. Easy Dab requires no gloves, a very little bit swept over a stainless surface removes surface corrosion easily, leaves a nice film that has some protective qualities, and sells for about $9/quart. The one we use aboard WHOOSH has been in constant use for 2 years, is still half full. No neutralizing or secondary wipedown needed. I usually work the deck hardware thoroughly at the beginning of the season, then do it again when putting the boat to bed at season's end. It's marvelous stuff and, while it makes the galley stove totally sparkle, it's also a way to clean that rasty oven interior (which does take elbow grease).

Jack
Thanks for the reply. I did forget to mention that wearing gloves is advised, and that it is a dangerous acid, but it just WORKS! The steel seems to stay clean longer, and wiping it off doesn't take that much extra time. Appreciate your comments. I am just offering for others to try or consider. Happy Holidays.
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Old 26-12-2006, 13:11   #6
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Danger in using hydrochloric acid on stainless steel

Yes, hydrochloric acid can remove some stains from stainless steel but don't use it. There are "friendly" as well as "unfriendly" acids with respect to the long term viability of the strength of stainless and hydrochloric acid is definitely unfriendly. Chlorides allow intrusion past the protective oxide layer on the surface of stainless which can ultimately lead to crevice corrosion and failure with essentially NO visible outer damage.

See the following site for cleaning stainless steel and read the last paragraph for the warning:
www.alvaradomfg.com/pdf/misc/stainless-steel_tips.pdf

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Old 26-12-2006, 13:55   #7
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There are a billion products out there for cleaning and polishing metal, so the one to use is the one that works best for you, but as a chemical engineer who has done a lot of corrosion related work I will second the notion that hydrochloric acid is NOT a good choice, as pretty as it might make the surface in the short run!

On our boat we use grocery store product called "Barkeeper's Friend", basically a formulation of Oxalic acid and mild abrasives. For stainless steel, brass, and bronze it works great. With a bit of a sit-and-soak, it is also good at removing rust stains from FRP.

Bill
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Old 26-12-2006, 14:05   #8
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Hydrochloric acid

Most acids will remove rust to some extent. Including lemon juice.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydroch...kling_of_steel

Nitric acid is what I use to remove rust from sails. But it will etch ferrous metals including some stainless steels.

Note:
Yes, I know this stuff is danerous. But I've been trained in the use of toxic chemicals and have the proprer safety gear (PPE).
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Old 26-12-2006, 16:31   #9
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Lemon juice: aka citric acid and I'm told that some companies are using concentrated citric acid as an eco-friendly alternative to the acids they used to use to passivate stainless steel. No surprise the lemon juice works.<G>

otg, rust on stainless stanchions, etc. is usually the result of iron grains embedded by tools and dies during the manufacturing process. Passivating with acid basically allows the acid to eat out the iron grains, and once they are gone there will be no more rust.

In theory.<G>
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Old 26-12-2006, 16:47   #10
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I'm a fan of phosphoric acid. You can get it at a hardware store. Just look for Ospho or anything which contains phosphoric acid. You don't need to pay chandlery prices. It will remove rust from anything. Just wipe it on and wait a few minutes. If the stain is old/deep/big, you might need to do it a few times. No rubbing needed. I go over my boat's exterior and wait for the next rain. This time of year, that's only a few minutes!
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Old 27-12-2006, 19:05   #11
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Thank ALL replies. I guess it is not as harmless or good as I thought. I will see how the stanchions look in 2 months when we go back to the boat, and if clean, will leave alone, if not, will use something perhaps safer. This forum is a great way to learn and share.

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Old 28-12-2006, 06:58   #12
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As noted above, there are many potions and off-the-shelf products that can clean stainless. But just because of what happens each time I give or loan a 16 oz plastic bottle of the stuff to a friend, I'll repeat: Call National Chem, find out where they sell Easy Dab in your area, and try some. It lasts almost forever, is dirt cheap, and is just downright miraculous.

Untitled Document

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Old 28-12-2006, 12:27   #13
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Jack-
Not that I'm saying Easy Dab isn't good stuff, don't misundertand me.

But that link pushes it as a bacteriostatic creme cleanser. Their own MSDS shows three active ingredients:

Quartz, aka sand or abrasive polish. A good thing in a polish when it is the right size grains.

Ammonium Oxylate, which appears to be a quaintly obsolete misspelling of
Ammonium Oxalate, which translates into our old friend OXALIC ACID! the known rust buster in so many stainless cleaners.

And Diethanolamine, better known in the US as "DEA", used as a wetting agent in shampoos and accused of possible carcinogenic problems. Whatever the purpose of the DEA, and whether it is or isn't a health concern...

It seems like the NatChem product is just oxalic acid and grit. A fine combination, but then again, easier to buy in the supermarket as "Bartender's Friend" or other brands.

No need to mail order it, or split the 55-gallon drum among friends.<G>

Gotta LOVE those MSDS statements!<G>
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Old 27-06-2007, 08:15   #14
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Well good points.
I agree, there are far to many hazardous substances used on boats.
A research done by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
and the EPA showed that the run offs in marinas are worse than in petrol-chemical factories. We all should remember this whenever we do maintenance. And with every harsh substance we use the runoff create dull surfaces, eats into wood or sealers (and skin) and let us buy more chemicals to fix these self made trouble.

The problem with stainless steel and when you use a abrasive polishing is that you damage the passivation layer. This is usually no problem as it is self healing with oxygen. But when you apply a oil or a wax on to the steel, this process is interrupted due to the oxygen can't reach the steel. This can actually worsen the problem over time.
I recommend to remove the corrosion with an abrasive cleaner and clean the stainless steel if possible daily with clean water for a week or so. This way salt can't cause new corrosion until the passive layer is completed again.

And while we all recommend some products I would go with NH 2015 from Nanovations. Nanotechnology treatment* for stainless steel Cheers
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