Walk into any commercial kitchen, from your local pizza store to a high-end restaurant, and you’ll soon discover that stainless steel is the industry standard for items, furniture, and kitchen accessories.
Stainless steel benches are no exception because stainless steel is easy to clean and hygienic, and its trademark modern, metal style suits residential and commercial needs.
Like any product, maintenance is key to keeping your steel bench looking its best. This page discusses the different categories of potential stains and marks and provides easy-to-follow steps to remove each.
The average lifespan of a well-maintained stainless bench
One of the great advantages of stainless steel is its durability. A well-maintained stainless steel bench can last for decades and look as good as the day you bought it. There are a couple of key factors to keep in mind.
Firstly, without some TLC, nothing will last to its potential lifespan, and your stainless kitchen bench is no exception.
Secondly, the quality of your bench will influence how long it’ll last. A custom stainless steel fabrication will be made with the best quality materials and specifically designed for your workspace and needs. It will be able to handle many years by your side as your business thrives.
How to clean stainless steel benches
Regularly cleaning your stainless steel bench not only keeps your workplace looking its best but can greatly extend the life of your bench. For those in the food service industry, regular cleaning keeps your surface hygienic and your work area safe for you, your employees, and the public.
However, mess and stains are unavoidable in a busy work area, so let’s look at how to clean your stainless steel. Depending on the situation, there are different recommended approaches.
Cleaning basic stains
For everyday spills and basic mess, the good news is you don’t need to spend an arm and a leg on expensive cleaning products. Some hot water and a soft cloth are all you need. We also recommend drying the surface to prevent any water stains. A microfibre cloth absorbs water for extra effectiveness and is particularly good for avoiding streak marks.
Mild stains: Add dishwashing detergent to the mixture if warm water and fibre cloth aren’t doing the trick. Be sure to rinse this solution before drying the surface.
Stubborn stains: Various stainless steel cleaning products on the market effectively remove tougher stains. Always double-check if a cleaning product is suitable for stainless steel before using it. We recommend trying the above steps before using stainless steel cleaners. If they work, you’ll save money in the long run.
How to sanitise steel benches for commercial kitchens
Here are some steps you should take to keep your stainless steel kitchen benches sanitary and safe.
- Pre-Clean: Remove any crumbs, food or other debris from your countertop.
- Wash: Wash down the surface to remove any grease and food residue
- Rinse: Rinse away any detergent and other residues.
- Sanitise: To sanitise steel benches, use a commercial-grade, food-safe solution. How much to use may vary depending on the product, so check the instructions. The sanitiser will kill any remaining microorganisms.
- Rinse if necessary: Rinse off sanitiser if necessary. Products vary in this step, so be sure to check the instructions.
- Dry: Allow to drip dry or use paper towels.
Sanitisers can vary in toxicity level, so always follow the manufacturer’s instructions while using them. Preparation surfaces should be sanitised after each use and at the end of each day. Countertops should be cleaned after every shift.
How to buff a stainless steel bench
Kitchens can be hectic areas; no matter how careful everyone is, you can still end up with scratches on your bench. Let’s look at how to deal with minor and major scratches. Before tackling the problem, work out the direction of the grain so you know which way to rub. Rubbing against the grain can cause more harm than good.
For finer scratches, you’ll often find a non-abrasive cleaner can remove them. There are products available on the market, but you can use toothpaste or baking soda mixed with water as a substitute.
- Make sure the surface is clean of any debris or food.
- Add a small amount of the chosen compound to a microfibre cloth and rub gently on the scratch, working with the grain.
- After a few minutes, use a clean microfibre cloth to remove the solution.
- Examine the scratch and repeat if necessary.
For deeper scratches, you’ll need to get out a scouring pad and do the following:
- Apply some olive oil or cleaning product to the scouring pad. Using moderate pressure, buff the scratch by going with the grain.
- Scrub the area around the scratch to help create a consistent appearance
- Check the results and repeat them if necessary.
- Once satisfied with your results, remove the oil or cleaning solution with a dry microfibre cloth.
How to remove rust from stainless steel benches
Stainless steel can experience rust build-up when exposed to moisture for a prolonged time. When rust develops, it’s best to deal with it ASAP.
- Mix a tablespoon of baking soda with 2 cups of water or a splash of lemon juice to create a paste. If you need more paste, adjust the ingredients accordingly.
- Rub this paste onto the rust-affected area with a cloth. Try to work with the grain of the workbench.
- Leave the paste to set for a few minutes.
- After waiting, rinse with a damp towel.
- Repeat the process if any rust remains.
If the rust stains don’t budge after a few attempts, you may need to try a stronger solution, like a cleaning product that contains oxalic acid. This is readily available in supermarkets and hardware stores. WD40 is another product proven to be effective in removing rust stains. This technique will also work on a stainless steel cart, trolleys, workbench, undershelf or on the frame of your kitchen bench.
How NOT to clean stainless steel benches
Maintenance isn’t just about knowing what methods you should use but what you should avoid. Here are the biggest mistakes you can make when cleaning your stainless steel bench:
Don’t use bleach: Some people love to use bleach on everything, but on stainless steel, not only is it unnecessary, but it can cause severe damage. Some cleaning products contain bleach in their ingredients, so double-check before trying a new brand.
Don’t use steel wool or brushes: We understand how frustratingly stubborn some stains and caked-on food on your table can be, but don’t give in to the temptation of using steel wool. You’ll regret it when you see the scratched surface you’ve left behind.
Don’t use anything too abrasive: Stainless steel doesn’t require much scrubbing, so anything overly abrasive will do more harm than good. Heavy-duty steel wool, for example, will completely scuff up stainless steel tables.
Don’t use stainless steel cleansers until you have to: Given the name, it may seem counterintuitive, but stainless steel cleansers and polishes should be saved as a last resort. These products are designed to repair damage and discolouration, so polishing isn’t necessary if your workbenches are in good condition.
With the support of our extensive courier network, we provide delivery all over Australia. Martin Stainless Steel offers a wide range of custom stainless steel options to suit any requirement or price. We can incorporate everything on your kitchen wish list, including dishwashers, storage, sinks, shelving, drawers, freezers, fryers, refrigeration, and more. Contact us today to learn about our service, prices, and products.