Coincidentally, I was looking at a lot of stained stainless just this morning. Grabbed my trusty tube of Wichinox -- bugger! It's empty!
It is also bloody expensive here in Oz, and I was no where near a source... what to do??
Got to thinking... this expensive stuff seems to be a polishing abrasive and a weak acid to attack the rust stains. Hmmmm. So, I got out the tin of rubbing compound (cutting compound to Aussies) which one can buy at any hardware
or automotive store. Then I mixed up about a tablespoon of Oxalic acid crystals (also available at the hardware
store for little cash) with a few spoonfuls of water, added a couple of spoons of the rubbing compound and mixed well. Got a disgusting greenish slurry from this activity. Tried rubbing some on a badly stained stanchion... WOW! It really worked, removing the stains in a few seconds. Let it dry for a few more seconds and polished it briefly with some old towling, and Voila! it looked great.
IN short, this micky mouse stuff worked as well as the high priced spread for getting the s/s looking good again, and with remarkably little work. My kinda stuff!
The Wichinox folks claim that use of it will passivate the s/s and render it more resistant to staining. I dunno... never seemed to do that for me, but it's hard to prove either way. I certainly don't claim that this mixture will do that, but who knows? I believe that one could use phosphoric acid (often used in passivation processes) in the same way, but I didn't have any on board. May well give it a try at first opportunity.
Oh yeah... probably should use gloves. I didn't, and my hands haven't fallen off yet, but prudence might be good.
I'd be interested if anyone else has tried or will try this mixture. I'll sure be finishing up the remainder tomorrow (if it doesn't rain too much).
Jim and Ann s/v Insatiable II lying Towlers Bay, NSW, Oz