Is Baking Soda and Vinegar Safe for Stainless Steel?

Does vinegar damage stainless steel?

You can clean the stainless steel with vinegar without causing any damage, the acid contained in the vinegar is weak and does not react chemically with the stainless steel elements, although its fundamental use is food preservative.

Vinegar is an element of Common use in kitchens and its versatility as a good cleaner is recognized. Vinegar is a specific solution of 3-7% acetic acid in water, its main function is as a food convergent.

To give you an idea, lemon juice and cola soda are more acidic than vinegar (they have lower PH) so they are also frequently used as cleaning elements. The acidity of acetic acid is weak and is even weaker in the form of vinegar because it is mixed with water.

Frequent use of vinegar as a cleaning element is because the acid from the vinegar is strong enough to soften surface dirt spots.

Vinegar can create stains on some surfaces, such as a concrete floor or a wall, because acetic acid penetrates the pores of the concrete and reacts with the calcium hydroxide in the cement causing stains, stainless steel is not porous and its components do not react with weak vinegar acids.

Stainless steel is a high corrosion resistance steel, since chromium, or other alloying metals it contains has a high affinity for oxygen and reacts with it forming a passivating layer, thus preventing the corrosion of iron (purely metals stainless, which do not react with oxygen are gold and platinum, and of less purity are called corrosion resistant, such as those containing phosphorus).

However, this layer can be affected by some acids, leading to iron being attacked and oxidized by intergranular mechanisms or generalized bites. Some types of stainless steel also contain other alloying elements; The main ones are nickel and molybdenum.

If what you want is to use vinegar to clean your stove or some stainless-steel surface, it is advisable to use white vinegar (it has a milder smell) and a spray container so that you can spread the liquid in thin layers. A couple of minutes will be enough to remove the dirt from the surface.

It is important that you use a soft sponge or a microfiber cloth to clean the stainless steel, and also clean it in the direction of its veins, the stainless steel has a natural grain, you can see it if you look closely, in that same way it should be cleaned.

Remember that some chemicals contain elements that can create reactions that damage the surface of stainless steel, it is advisable to avoid cleaners that contain chloride in their formula (chlorine, bromine, fluorine, iodine).

Likewise avoid products that contain alcohol, ammonia, acetone, or turpentine, as they contain chemicals incompatible with metals.

Will baking soda scratch stainless steel?

Cleaning a stainless-steel stove with sodium bicarbonate does not pose a risk to the surface of the material because the abrasiveness of sodium bicarbonate is very low, as long as you know how it should be done.

An abrasive is a substance that aims to act on other materials with different kinds of mechanical stress, therefore, to know if a material can exert cutting force or hardness on another, just know its abrasiveness index.

The abrasiveness index (RDA, Relative Dentin Abrasivity) of sodium bicarbonate is 7 out of 100, it is a moderate value compared to other abrasives, such as sand for example.

You must consider cleaning the stainless steel in the same direction as the veined, that will greatly reduce the abrasiveness between the materials and avoid scratches, also, you should use the bicarbonate together with a soft damp microfiber cloth.

© If you look closely you can see the stainless steel veins horizontally

Can I use baking soda and vinegar to clean stainless steel?

Due to its different properties and cleaning mechanisms, it is ideal that you use vinegar and bicarbonate separately to clean stainless steel, vinegar works by softening the dirt and stains with its slight acidity.

The bicarbonate works by its slight abrasiveness and it is an acidity neutralizer, if you mix both, you will be neutralizing the acidity of the vinegar and decreasing the abrasiveness of the bicarbonate, reducing the effectiveness of both.

If you want to use them efficiently, the first thing is to spray the stainless steel surface with the vinegar, let it act for a few minutes, and then pass the baking soda with a microfiber cloth in the same direction as the stainless steel veins.