Keeping Stainless-Steel Boat Parts Rust Free in a Marine Environment

Author: Forespar   Date Posted:2 June 2023 

Just like everything else on a boat, your stainless steel parts also need occasional care and attention to keep them working right and looking good. 

Stainless steel does not mean rust free. 

Generally, cleaning and polishing your stainless deck hardware will be an easy job unless your part is very old and has not been cleaned for years.

Freshwater Rinsing to Prevent Rusting
As noted above, Stainless steel will rust. This is a particular problem in saltwater environments because the salt covers the metal surface and robs it of the contact with the air needed to keep it rust free. That means the best way to keep your stainless clean and shiny is to rinse your parts with freshwater as often as possible. After rinsing, wipe it down using a good quality chamois if possible. This will minimize and delay future surface rust stains.

Removing Rust and Dirt for Stainless Surfaces
We realize that a freshwater rinse is not always available, but don’t worry if you end up with rusted stainless parts. The following steps can help you easily restore almost all stainless parts to their original shine.
Needed Items:
• Several soft absorbent cloths.
• Disposable toothbrush.
• Any available stainless metal polish. A few examples shown below.
• Light duty scrub pad or sponge.

Polishing Lightly Rusted or Dirty Stainless Surfaces:
1. Apply polish over the entire stainless part surface using a soft absorbent rag.
2. Let dry and then wipe the polish off with a clean, dry cloth.
3. Buff the surface with a clean cloth in the direction of the grain until desired shine is achieved.
Polishing Heavily Rusted or Dirty Stainless Surfaces:
1. Using the toothbrush, vigorously rub cleaner to the welds, corners, and harder to reach areas, being sure to completely cover the affected surface with polish.
2. Using a clean rag or scrub pad, vigorously apply polish to the larger surfaces being sure to completely cover the soiled surface with polish.
3. Once the stainless cleaner has dried, wipe surfaces with clean, dry cloth to remove any excess cleaner.
4. Using a clean dry cloth, buff in the direction of the grain to achieve desired shine.

Questions? We’re Here to Help.
Regular cleaning of your stainless steel fittings will keep things ship shape for as long as you own the boat. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our experts for help. -