Can Stainless Steel Drums Rust? Yes, they can, but here’s how to avoid it.
While stainless steel is a remarkable and revolutionary material for thousands of applications, corrosion can sometimes occur. Stainless steel in its proper state is close to impenetrable as far as rust goes, but scratches and exposure to specific chemicals and environments can make it vulnerable. Below are some insights on how to avoid stainless steel drums rust and protect the longevity of your investment.
CHOOSE THE RIGHT TYPE OF STAINLESS STEEL
Before you even think about how to treat stainless steel to avoid rust, it’s important to select a stainless steel that is least likely to rust in the first place. There are different types of stainless steel manufactured today, and you need to be sure you choose a drum made from a type that will last longest for your application. Each type of stainless steel contains different elements, some of which increase durability; others cause it to deteriorate more quickly. The wisest choice is 304 stainless steel, a well-rounded, versatile choice of austenitic steel that contains approximately 8% nickel. Nickel helps increase durability by working with the chromium content to bolster its protective layer, which can otherwise become compromised (more on that later).
DON’T BUY USED OR REFURBISHED STAINLESS STEEL DRUMS
Used stainless steel drums can be more hazardous to your products than you might think (not all manufacturers follow MSM’s quality checklist). Dince you can never be sure how long a used stainless steel drum has been in use, the possibility of rust and other forms of deterioration increase dramatically. Make sure you read up on the importance of avoiding used or refurbished stainless steel before you make your purchase.
UNDERSTANDING WHY STAINLESS STEEL DRUMS RUST
While a stainless steel drum is significantly less likely to rust than non-stainless drum, it is still possible for rust to occur. What makes stainless different from other types of steel is the presence of chromium. Chromium works with the oxygen to form chromium oxide, which creates a protective layer around the steel that prevents oxidation and the rust that usually results from it. However, when this layer is exposed to hostile environments, the chromium oxide layer can become compromised. This is why choosing a stainless steel drum made from the best stainless steel possible is so important.
HOW TO CARE FOR YOUR STAINLESS STEEL DRUM
Stainless steel is a smart choice for many types of applications because maintenance is often simpler and less demanding than for alternative materials. It is still important to properly maintain your stainless steel drum to get the longest life out of it, though. There are plenty of guidelines in regard to caring for stainless steel – here are a few highlights:
- Avoid steel wool. Steel wool can create scratches and leave behind iron particles that can contaminate the surface of the stainless steel, causing rust.
- Use a soft sponge. Routine cleanings require nothing more than a soft sponge and mild soap. Be sure to rinse with warm water.
- Be careful with chemical treatments. Make sure you’re using the right product to care for your stainless steel drum. Avoid potent cleaning chemicals that can compromise the finish, stain or damage stainless steel.
Stainless steel’s unique corrosion resistance and its ability to protect the content it houses make it the perfect material for stainless steel drums. To learn more about selecting the best stainless steel drum for your products, talk to someone at MSM today.