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How To Clean White Haze from Stainless Steel

Stainless steel can cloud for a number of reasons. Often it is merely a mild residue left behind by the water, like water spots. Sometimes it can be the result of a stain that was improperly cleaned in such a way that it was thinned out and spread in a hazy film instead of removed. Lastly, and more seriously, it can be a result of contact with acid, acidic foodstuffs or acidic/citrus based cleansers. Try the following techniques to fix or alleviate these stains, testing them in an inconspicuous spot first to help ensure desirable results.

Dampen a clean rag with rubbing alcohol. Rub the haze and spot affected areas lightly in the pattern and direction of the existing finish. If you are using a non-abrasive cloth, this method is suitable for mirror-polishes as well. If the marks remove easily, repeat as needed, regularly switching to a clean section of the rag and freshly applied rubbing alcohol.

If the haze is resistant to removal with rubbing alcohol, it may well be the result of contact with acid, such as acidic foodstuffs or acidic/citrus based cleansers. Make a light paste of baking soda and water. This will act as a light abrasive, and may also help to neutralize any remaining acid. Apply the baking soda and water paste with a clean soft sponge, and rub on the haze-affected area in the pattern and direction of the existing finish. Rinse well with water, and pat dry with paper towels. If the acid damage has moved beyond haze to scaling and pitting, you may want to consider using vinegar (a milder acid that can remove the scaling without significantly changing the unaffected steel) to remove the scaling, and a metal paint, available at hardware and home improvement stores, such as Hammerite to repair and camouflage remaining damage.

Caution: Never mix cleaning agents or chemicals, the result can be dangerous or deadly. Before cleaning, always test the agent on an inconspicuous location to determine its suitability and to make certain it does not damage the material. Wear appropriate clothing such as gloves and protective eyewear, and work in a well-ventilated area. Accidental inhalation or ingestion of cleaning agents can be hazardous and even fatal, particularly to pets and children.

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