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Tarnished Stainless Steel with Muriatic Acid! Please help!

Q. Please help. We have tarnished our brushed stainless steel appliance doors and sink while cleaning the grout with muriatic acid! Is there anything we can do to fix this?

Thank you,

Rick Dudum
- San Francisco, California, USA

A. I reckon you have a problem. The chances of getting the appliance back to the original brushes state is minimal, but you may be able to find a brushing company who can do it in your home. If not, try the manufacturer. Muriatic acid is better known as hydrochloric acid and will attack most metals, causing pitting and unsightly stains. This is because it contains the chloride ion, that readily corrodes most metals.

trevor crichton
Trevor Crichton
R&D practical scientist
Chesham, Bucks, UK

Cleaning Cloth for Stainless Steel

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A. Not an uncommon problem, but a severe one. There is no simple way to correct the problem. Some of our customers have found good success in using Scotchbrite cloth, being very careful to brush ONLY in the direction of the grain of the brushed steel. You will probably still have to go over the entire surface to make it uniform. DO NOT use steel wool or any other iron containing material.

lee kremer
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Lee Kremer
Stellar Solutions, Inc.
supporting advertiser
McHenry, Illinois
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Q. I had a company come in to do some works on a tile floor, they ended up washing the tile floor by pouring acid on it, then let it rest and brush it, afterwards rinse it.

All my stainless steel kitchen equipment now is totally rusted, even meters away, so it can't be spatter, but must be vapor.

Can this be repaired, i.e., the stainless brought back to its non rusting state?

thank you

Marco Veringa
customer - Hong Kong
May 31, 2008

"The Complete Guide to Tile"

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A. Hi, Marco. Yes, the acid fumes are responsible. Muriatic acid is not really a liquid, it is a gas dissolved in water, and comes out of the liquid, the more so when splashed and agitated. Unfortunately, no, the appliances probably can't be properly repaired. Assuming you fixed the finish, imagine the condition of the wiring terminals and contacts and so on.

I am only an amateur tiler, not a professional. But I know that the acid is a time-saver but an unnecessary one: rather, the grout and all haze should be wiped up before it dries (even though this takes seemingly endless rinsing of the sponges and dumping & refilling the bucket). Good luck.


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Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey
June 2, 2008

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