Does Stainless Steel Rust?

04 May, 2023

Stainless steel is a widely used material in various industries due to its durability, resistance to corrosion, and aesthetic appeal. However, despite its name, stainless steel can still rust under certain circumstances. Keep reading the article and learn more about stainless steel.

Why Does Stainless Steel Rust?

Stainless steel is an alloy containing at least 10.5% chromium, which creates a thin oxide coating on the metal's surface known as the passive layer. This layer prevents corrosion and rust growth on the underlying metal. However, this passive layer can be damaged or compromised, leading to rust formation. Here are some main reasons why stainless steel can rust:

Exposure To Harsh Environments

When exposed to severe conditions such as seawater, acidic or alkaline solutions, and high humidity, stainless steel can rust. These conditions might cause the passive layer to deteriorate, exposing the metal to corrosion.

Anti Fingerprint Stainless Steel

Anti Fingerprint Stainless Steel

Mechanical Damage

Scratches, abrasions, and dents on stainless steel surfaces can weaken the passive layer, enabling moisture and oxygen to infiltrate the metal and create rust.

Poor-Quality Stainless Steel

Some types of stainless steel are more susceptible to corrosion than others. Low-quality stainless steel, or stainless steel with a low chromium content, rusts more readily than higher-quality varieties.

Heat Damage

High temperatures can cause the passive layer to degrade, resulting in the production of rust. This is especially frequent in welding and other high-temperature operations.

Ways to Prevent Stainless Steel from Rusting

There are several ways to prevent stainless steel from rusting, including:

Proper Cleaning And Maintenance

Regular cleaning and maintenance can help to prevent rust formation. Stainless steel should be cleaned with mild soap and warm water, and dried thoroughly after use. Use abrasive cleansers or scrubbers to avoid damaging the passive layer.

Stainless Steel Coil Manufacturers In China

Stainless Steel Coil Manufacturers In China

Use High-Quality Stainless Steel

Using high-quality stainless steel with high chromium and nickel content can help to prevent rust formation.

Apply Protective Coatings

Applying a protective coating, such as a clear lacquer or wax, can aid to keep moisture and oxygen away from the metal surface.

Avoid Exposure To Harsh Environments

Avoid exposing stainless steel to severe situations that might harm the passive layer and trigger rust development, such as saltwater or acidic solutions.

Use Appropriate Welding Techniques

When welding stainless steel, it is important to use appropriate techniques to avoid overheating and damaging the passive layer.


Passivation is a process that involves treating stainless steel with mild acid to remove any iron particles that may be present on the surface of the metal. This process promotes the production of a new and improved passive layer, which can give superior rust prevention.

201 Stainless Steel Coil Manufacturers In China

201 Stainless Steel Coil Manufacturers In China

Use Of Stainless Steel Fasteners

Using stainless steel fasteners can also assist to keep rust at bay. Fasteners made of non-stainless steel can corrode and transfer rust to the stainless steel surface over time.

Powder Coating

Powder coating involves applying a protective layer of powdered paint to the surface of the metal. This coating can help to protect against rust formation and improve the durability of the stainless steel.


Electroplating involves coating the stainless steel with a thin layer of metal, such as nickel or chromium, to improve its corrosion resistance. This technique can also improve the metal's look and make it more resistant to scratches and other forms of mechanical damage.

Proper Storage

Proper storage can also help to prevent rust formation. Stainless steel should be stored in a clean, dry, and well-ventilated area to prevent exposure to moisture and humidity.


Stainless steel can rust under certain circumstances, despite its corrosion-resistant properties.  However, follow these tips according to the article and ensure that your stainless steel remains corrosion-resistant.  By the way, if you are looking for high-quality stainless steel, XINGUANGYUAN can help you. Whether stainless steel sheet or stainless steel coil, we all offer various types and sizes! Get in touch with us and get more product details today!

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