Stainless Steel Railings, Are they Easy to Clean and Maintain?

Naturally, your porch and deck areas will feel the full force of the elements, especially during the winter months. These spaces are always exposed to a number of pollutants such as general dirt and grime, plus environmental mineral deposits. Plus if your deck is overlooking sea views, you’ll also have saltwater to consider too.

For properties that have stainless steel railing systems, you’ll enjoy several benefits of this installation, including low maintenance, however, although ANSI 316 stainless steel railing boasts high resilience in exterior settings - due to steel’s corrosion-resistant properties. It’s essential to keep on top of maintenance to ensure it looks its best all year round.

stainless steel cable railing

Fortunately, maintaining your deck railing is reasonably simple, and with regular care, you’ll have a system that looks as good as when it was first installed.

Take a look at some easy techniques to keep your deck and porch areas looking as good as new.

General Cleaning Techniques

Everyday dirt and residue can start to build-up, which can leave a slight film on the surface of the steel. Depending on the location of the railing, for example, under trees or near foliage - moss can begin to grow due to damp conditions.

You can remove this dirt easily by applying mild soap and water, and gentle washing off with a clean cloth.

For glass railing systems, you may also require a glass cleaner for those stubborn marks. Once completed, simply rinse with clean water and dry to alleviate streaks and watermarks. For bar railing you will need to clean each bar individually from the inside and outside face of the railing in addition to cleaning the railing posts and handrail. On the other hand for cable railing you will need to clean the posts and top rail only.

stainless steel glass railing

Removing Oil and Grease

There may be times where oily residue builds up on your porch and deck railing. In some cases, this might require something more robust than soap and water to remove. To tackle this grime, use alcohol-based products will break through the grease.

Be sure to check the product can be used with your installation and use a non-scratching cloth to wipe clean. Once completely removed, rinse with clean water and dry thoroughly.  

round profile cable railing outside 

How to remove scorch marks from stainless steel surfaces

Stainless steel is renowned for its hardy composition. However, it’s not immune to scratches and general wear and tear. Most light blemishes can be removed using a non-scratch scrub sponge and everyday dishwasher liquid.

To find out more about this technique, take a look at our tips sheet here on how to remove scorch marks from stainless steel surfaces. 

stair railing 

The importance of regular maintenance

Although steel has a passive layer that protects it from deep corrosion and staining, maintaining your railing system will ensure it stands the test of time. As discussed above, there are simple ways to clean everyday residue, but we know how easy it is for exterior maintenance to become the last of your priorities when life gets in the way.

Regular cleaning will not only help to keep your deck railing looking great and free of surface rust. It’s also an important step to maintain safety for everyone using it. Why not carry out spot checks such as cable tension and baluster condition during this maintenance to repair or replace fixings before they become a more costly issue.  

cable railing systems 

What things to avoid when cleaning stainless steel railing?

It’s common to assume that stainless steel railing or glass systems can withstand harsh cleaning solutions and powerful tools. But in reality, it’s best to avoid using tougher methods when maintaining your installation to get the best out of it.

There are a few things to avoid when cleaning your deck and porch areas such as:

  • Bleaches
  • Muriatic/Hydrochloric acid
  • Cleansers with chloride properties
  • Scouring powders
  • Scouring pads
  • Scrapers or knives
  • Wire brushes
  • Cleaning wool

The above products and cleaning equipment can have contaminating effects on stainless steel, including staining it permanently or scratching the surface.

stairwar railing 

Choosing the Best Products

There are several cleaning products on the market that are designed specifically for stainless steel and glass railing systems. Some cleaning solutions also offer a protectant coating that doesn’t attract dirt or dust and lasts for several months.

From the list above, you can see what elements to avoid. However, don’t be afraid to ask at a local hardware store if you’re unsure of product suitability.

Note: Please check cleaning equipment and products before use on your deck or porch railing system to ensure you do not tarnish the surface. If you are unsure, contact your supplier for advice on suitable aftercare for your railing installation, or you can reach out to our sales team at

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