How to Clean Stainless Steel Labels and Plates

How to Clean Stainless Steel Labels and Plates

All metals react with their surroundings, including water and even the air. In the case of stainless steel, this can lead to dullness or discolouration. To return stainless steel labels to be shiny again can seem like a complicated task. You might assume you need some specialised solvent or polish, or perhaps a special kind of rag impregnated with some chemical. No, cleaning a stainless steel surface is a lot easier than you’d ever imagine.

In general, to clean stainless steel labels and plates, or tags, all you need is a microfibre cloth and a bucket of warm water with a mild soap. Find out more about how to clean stainless steel labels.

What are Stainless Steel labels and plates used for?

Stainless Steel is tough, durable and relatively easy to engrave, usually using a laser. What’s more, compared to many other metals, it’s relatively maintenance-free. A quick clean from time to time and stainless steel plates, labels and tags will last almost forever.

Stainless steel plates and labels can be used almost anywhere. You have probably seen them crafted into equipment labels, plates and tags on factory equipment, ID plates and maybe even the towbar data label on your vehicle.

A major advantage of stainless steel over other metals when manufacturing plates, labels and tags is that, unlike other engraving techniques, laser-etched lettering is not actually engraved into the metal. This means creating smaller lettering and more detailed images and logos is possible.

Although not engraved into the metal the lettering is permanent and as tough as the metal beneath.

Cleaning stainless steel polished surfaces

Stainless steel plates and labels surfaces have a shine to them thanks to the dense and high-quality metal that stainless steel is. Once polished, it has that wonderful silver metallic colour that, when used for plates and labels, looks classy and is virtually indestructible.

As New Zealand metal label, plate and tag manufacturers, Metal Image recommend, however, that, depending on its use a metal label or tag should be carefully placed. Stainless steel finishes show fingerprints and dust and can look dirty very quickly if they are placed in a position where they are likely to be touched frequently, or exposed to the elements.

Of course, in many industrial situations such as stainless steel equipment ID plates and tags, exposure to harsh conditions is unavoidable – in fact, it’s the very reason you chose to use stainless steel. Even so, while your stainless steel asset tags and labels will withstand most factory conditions, they will benefit from the occasional cleaning to keep them readable and to check that they are still firmly attached to the machinery.

Three steps to cleaning stainless steel labels, tags and plates

The process for removing fingerprints, dust and grease stains from stainless steel labels or plates is, as mentioned above, quite simple.

Step 1: Rub the stainless steel surface with a microfibre cloth. Do not use a coarse cloth because it may cause scratching. A microfibre cloth is tough enough to remove any surface dirt or grease from the stainless steel and soft enough not to scratch the metal finish.

Step 2: For areas that remain uncleaned, use a damp soft cloth to wipe away any dirt or staining. At this point, water only will usually suffice.

Step 3: If, however, some areas remain uncleaned, use a solution of mild soap in warm water. Once again, ensure the cloth used is soft and not likely to scratch the stainless steel surface.

That’s how to clean a stainless steel surface – it’s easy. Although many stainless steel labels and plates installed in industrial settings are rarely cleaned, doing so as part of a regular maintenance programme will ensure the tags remain readable and any lost or detached labels can be identified and replaced.