Stainless steel must be cleaned to keep it looking beautiful and to maintain its ability to resist corrosion. The beautiful surface of stainless steel is protected from corrosion by a thin layer of chromium oxide. Oxygen from the atmosphere combines with the chromium in the stainless steel to form this passive chromium oxide film that protects the stainless steel surface from further corrosion. When the surface is contaminated by dirt, sand, or other materials, this passivation process is hindered and corrosive agents are trapped, allowing corrosion to occur.
Some form of routine cleaning is necessary to preserve the appearance and integrity of the surface. Stainless steel is easily cleaned by many different methods. The surface will actually thrive on frequent cleaning. Unlike some other materials, it is impossible to “wear out” stainless steel by excessive cleaning.