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How To Clean Stainless Steel Equipment?

Updated: May 27, 2021

Equipment made of stainless steel is the most popular choice for the food and beverage processing industries. In an industrial or commercial setting professional-strength cleaners are ideal and typically required for public safety. An acid-based cleaner will remove heavy mineral deposits, scales, starches, and fatty acids deposited on the stainless steel equipment without harming its natural shine and resilience. An Acid base sanitizer is also an important formulation designed to sanitize the equipment.

Tips to Clean Stainless Steel Products

It is easy to revive the natural luster of your stainless steel equipment however, this easiness depends on the cleaning solution used. If the solution is not of the right grade and strength, you may waste too much energy or lose the shine and integrity of your equipment.

Here are some simple steps to help keep your stainless steel products clean and safe:

Step 1: Ask chemical supplier for acid-based cleaner that would be safe to use on stainless steel. An acid cleaner that has the ability to dissolve quickly. If on vertical surfaces it would be best to use something that foams and has some dwell time. For example, the Meyer Laboratory Brand AC220 is a highly concentrated foaming acid cleaner and scale remover which works great in applications where residuals are being removed. It is called a “safe” acid since it does not have a lot of the harmful acids that most cleaners do.

Step 2: Rinse any food particles that may have been left after production. Avoid rinsing near electrical connections attached to your equipment.

Step 3: Apply the detergent mixture via a CIP system, commercial sprayer, brush, or by hand. Be sure to always follow the manufacturer’s use, safety and storage instructions.

Step 4: Stand time. Do not exceed the instructed stand time. Never allow the cleaner to air dry on the surface area you are cleaning.

Step 5: Rinse Cycle. Like most cleaning procedures, rinse the cleaning detergent off your equipment surface with fresh potable water.

Step 6: Sanitize. Acid sanitizer is a concentrated quaternary/phosphoric acid formulation designed to clean and sanitize a variety of surfaces commonly found in food and beverage processing applications. It is not only effective in preventing the spread of Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus; it will prevent the buildup of mineral deposits. While surface is still wet from the rinse cycle, apply the sanitizer according to the manufacturer’s instruction. This application may be via spray, flooding, immersion or brushing. Let the sanitizer stand according the directions, then drain and allow equipment to air dry.

Step 7: Rust Spots. Should rust spots occur on stainless surface, simply scrub the area with a non-scratch scour pad. Once the rust is removed and the area clean, the stainless steel will naturally seal and protect itself again. Some reasons stainless steel show surface rust are as follows:

  • Heavy sea salt environment (cheese brine room)

  • Harmful chemicals being used (chlorine, bleach, etc.)

  • Carbon steel equipment near or by the stainless steel that is contaminating its chemical structure. (a carbon steel bolt or other parts on or near the stainless surface)

Stainless steel equipment is expensive but crucial when producing food for the public. Protect your investment by properly cleaning and maintaining it. When properly cared for, your equipment can last decades and your investment will pay for itself.

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