Maintenance & Care: Stainless Steel

Kalispell Rust-Proof Stainless Steel Pool Access Ramp by Spectrum Aquatics

Do you have equipment with steel railings or other items with steel components? Are there some signs of tarnish and rust? Well, this post has some neat tips for you!

When your stainless steel equipment is exposed in a chloride or other corrosive environment (all swimming pools), tarnish and rust may occur from chlorides reacting with oxygen and iron on the surface. However, simple procedures can be put in place to maintain stainless! 

Regular Maintenance

Preventative Care:

Daily rinsing with clean water is the best way to maintain the surface. This removes any chlorides that may have been splashed onto the surface in normal use.


First Signs of Rust / Severe Rusting:

Use a passivation product (Recommended: Spectra-Clean System 1 by Spectrum Aquatics!). This will remove the rust and re-passivate the surface.

Existing rails where there is visible crusty rust will usually require a maroon pad. Do not use a coarser 3M pad than maroon, as green and higher will scratch surface, thus creating more corrosion points. 

All areas passivated also require treatment with "Spectra Shield" to ensure salts do not find a way into the structure of the steel. 


Spectrum Aquatics Spectra Clean Spectra Shield

Stainless Treatment

1) Clean dry equipment with passivation product. This chemical must be re-sprayed or re-applied as required to maintain a wet surface for 30 minutes. Re-apply chemical and agitate as required. After 30 minutes of wet contact, very thoroughly hose off stainless.

2) After 10 minutes, agitate the surface with a non-abrasive pad (Suggested: 3M Scotchbrite white). If visible rust does not seem to disappear, use a mildly abrasive pad (3M Scotchbrite grade maroon).

TIPS: Hand dry so that watermarks do not develop. Unrinsed chemical will dry white, so make sure you remove all of the chemical so there is no residue after drying.

3) Thoroughly dry stainless. The Stainless Steel needs to be more than dry to the touch. Seams & crevices (as well as pit pockets) must be bone dry in order to accept the sealer. The best practice is to allow steel to dry 48 hours (or more). If treating steel during pool operation, allow over 4 hours of air dry and heat gun treatment to ensure water in pockets and seams fully evaporate. 

4) Apply Spectra-Shield Sealer. Sealing is the fastest part of the procedure. Use a cotton rag and apply sealer onto steel so that steel is soaked with sealer. Allow sealer to stay on rail for 10 minutes then use a dry cotton rag to wipe excess away. 



Spot Treatment:

Thoroughly clean specific spot using Spectra-Clean System 1 spray; keep area wet with Spectra-Clean System 1 for 30 minutes. Area must be very dry before final step; for small areas at an aquatic center a heat gun is an ideal solution.

Areas need to be heated to the point that the metal is warm to hot (a heat gun is great for this!). Water in crevices, seams and pits will then evaporate.

Once spot has cooled, apply "Spectra Shield" generously to surface (surface should be very wet, but doesn’t need to be dripping). After 10 minutes, wipe area with dry cotton cloth.

Long Term Care:

Long term protection for surfaces of new stainless and old stainless can be attained by applying "Spectra Shield" to the surface after removing the rust and drying the surface. This forms a protective layer in the pits and inter-granular boundaries that prevents air and water from creating corrosion below the surface. Without the oxygen and salts from pool water making contact with the stainless, the rust will not grow.




Small removable items (floor drain grates, some escutcheons, and some compression anchor parts) can be treated by removing them and then following the same techniques as above. 

Pool Anchors in Cement:

Anchors in cement where rust is appearing need to be treated in place. (Stanchion post anchors and some compression anchors).

  1. Remove post or grab bar if the is one, so anchor is empty.
  2. Remove lids to anchor if present.
  3. Clean with Spectra-Clean System 1 using a Scotchbrite pad to agitate. Coarseness of Scotchbrite pad should match amount of corrosion. Some heavy corrosion may require a stainless steel brush and or green Scotchbrite. Scrub with Scotchbrite as required removing all corrosion.
  4. Rinse very thoroughly.
  5. Dry the entire anchor inside and out with a clean cotton towel to remove excess water. Treat anchor with heat gun both at the flange at deck surface and the interior of anchor. The goal is to get enough heat onto metal that it’s fairly hot to touch and all water in pores and seams evaporates both on top and inside.
  6. The final step is an application of Spectra Shield. Apply generously to surface (surface should very wet but not dripping). After 10 minutes wipe area with dry cotton cloth.


NOTE: Spectra Shield is not water soluble and is difficult to remove. Be careful to minimize amount of sealer that hits deck, glass or other surfaces.

Special Thanks to our Vendor, Spectrum Aquatics for sharing tips on their products!

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