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  • Writer's pictureDavid Bennett

The Impact of Chlorine on Stainless Steel: A Troubling Combination

Stainless steel is a popular material in modern households, known for its durability, resistance to corrosion, and sleek appearance. However, despite its resilience, stainless steel is not impervious to damage, particularly when it comes into contact with chlorine. In this blog, we will explore the detrimental effects of chlorine on stainless steel and how to prevent and mitigate this damage.


Understanding the Chemistry

Chlorine, often found in products like bleach and household cleaners, can react with the chromium in stainless steel. Chromium is a vital component of stainless steel, as it forms a thin oxide layer on the surface of the steel, providing its corrosion-resistant properties. When chlorine comes into contact with stainless steel, it can break down this protective oxide layer, leaving the steel vulnerable to corrosion and damage.


The Impact on Stainless Steel

When stainless steel is exposed to chlorine, several detrimental effects can occur, including:

·       Pitting: Chlorine can cause small pits or holes to form on the surface of the stainless steel, compromising its integrity and aesthetics.

·       Corrosion: The breakdown of the oxide layer can lead to general corrosion, resulting in a dull, discolored, or roughened surface.

·       Stress corrosion cracking: In harsh environments with chlorine exposure, stress corrosion cracking can occur, leading to structural integrity issues in the stainless steel.


Common Sources of Chlorine Exposure

Chlorine exposure can occur in various household settings, including:

·       Cleaning Products: Many household cleaners and bleaches contain chlorine, posing a risk of exposure when used on or near stainless steel surfaces.

·       Swimming Pools: Chlorinated water in swimming pools can also expose stainless steel to chlorine, particularly in poolside fixtures and equipment.


Preventing and Mitigating Damage

To protect stainless steel from the damaging effects of chlorine, consider the following preventive measures:

·       Use Alternative Cleaning Products: Opt for chlorine-free or stainless steel-safe cleaning products to avoid damaging the protective oxide layer. BoreSaver Ultra C is a great example of this.

·       Rinse Thoroughly: After cleaning stainless steel surfaces, ensure thorough rinsing to remove any residual chlorine.

·       Protective Coatings: In environments with significant chlorine exposure, consider using protective coatings or films specifically designed for stainless steel to provide an additional barrier against chlorine.


Conclusion

While stainless steel is prized for its resilience, it is not impervious to damage, particularly when exposed to chlorine. By understanding the chemistry behind this interaction and taking preventive measures, it is possible to preserve the integrity and lifespan of stainless steel screens and pumps

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