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Stainless Steel Door Hardware And Water

One of the most common questions we get asked is about the many scenarios stainless steel door hardware can be utilized. One of the most common specific questions is can stainless steel door hardware live near the coast.

Stainless steel door hardware can live near the coast. Stainless steel door hardware along the coast should be made from 316g that can be used outside in all types of weather. But there are other stainless steels that you must be aware of because they can not survive on the coast.

Stainless Steel 316 Grade primarily noticeable on marine class hardware but becoming popular in the housing industry coastal properties. Stainless steel of a 304g is a popular door hardware material. Commonly used for door handles, hinges, and bathroom accessories. With the input of 316g stainless steel the coastal homestead can be an attractive option.

Here are the 10 topics we will cover so your stainless steel door hardware will function for a lifetime.

Be sure to check out our collection of 316g stainless steel door hardware here

Can stainless steel door hardware live on the coast?

316g stainless steel door hardware can get wet. True 316g stainless steel will contain an element called Chromium. Chromium will inherently protect steel from water but what you have to be careful of is door hardware advertised as stainless but is not true 316g

With the exploding popularity of stainless steel door hardware, as with all things, some are better than others. We see it all the time, cheap stainless steel door hardware that are not really stainless steel 316g but are rather just plain steel door hardware.

These door handles will get damaged by water and will often turn brown or green. It is extremely important that you buy from a credible door hardware maker that uses 316g stainless steel.

We have a great article on the pros and cons of stainless steel that you should definitely check out here

Does stainless steel door hardware rust?

316g stainless steel door handles are safe to use outside in all weather. 316L stainless steel will contain the element chromium. Chromium will form a layer of chromium oxide on stainless steel that will resist rust.

There are other grades of stainless steel that can also be used outside but 316g is surgical steel that resists rust better than almost any other of the 150 grades of stainless steel.

With proper cleaning, the Chromium layer can even repair itself when damaged.

We have a handy information article on cleaning your stainless steel door handles with vinegar lower down the page.

Does stainless steel door hardware get ruined in moist climates?

Most stainless steel door handles will not get ruined in moist weather. That is because the element Chromium forms a layer of Chromium Oxide that will protect stainless steel from rust.

However, there are a few exceptions to this rule.

1. There are over 150 recognized grades of stainless steel and some will do a very poor job of protecting stainless steel from water because they have a low amount of Chromium. We always recommend 316g stainless steel.

2. If you damage stainless steel door handles with a scratch or dent before the Chromium Oxide layer has a chance to repair itself.

We recommend cleaning newly damaged stainless steel with vinegar which can speed up that repair process.

Can stainless steel door hardware be used near a chlorine pool?

Stainless steel door handles can be used near the pool. However, it is important that stainless steel door handles is only exposed to Chlorine for short time periods and cleaned as soon as possible to remove chlorine residue.

Chlorine is very corrosive to the protective layer on stainless steel, but only with repeated and prolonged exposure. For this reason, if you are in the pool every day, we recommend cleaning door handles more regularly.

If you are just taking an occasional dip once or twice a week and clean your door handles with water and soft clothe to remove the chlorine residue, the protective layer will repair itself.

There are two dangers that can happen with prolonged exposure or exposure that occurs in a small time frame.

1. If you swim every day, and have to open a door using the door handles, the chlorine and grime will cause the protective layer not to have time to recover.

2. If you expose stainless steel for more than a few hours, the protective layer will be completely destroyed resulting in microscopic pits that will allow rust formation.

Can stainless steel door hardware be used near the ocean?

You can use stainless steel near the ocean. Stainless steel has to be exposed for a long time to salt water to be damaged, so if you are fronting the ocean, you need to clean stainless steel more often.

As with Chlorine, it is important to clean and buff off stainless steel door handles when exposed to salt water.

If you do this often, you will be fine. Cleaning will remove the salt residue and allow the protective layer on stainless steel to repair itself.

Can you use stainless steel door hardware every day?

Stainless steel door handles are perfect for everyday use near the ocean with proper care. With all the new designs, affordability and durability, stainless steel door handles will resist damage, look great and save your budget.

Stainless steel is highly durable but out of the 150 different versions, we recommend 316L stainless steel door handles. This version of stainless steel has the best mix of Chromium for everyday use and protection.

However, it is very important to clean chemical residues from stainless steel so that the protective Chromium Oxide can repair itself between exposures. This is important as this layer is what protects stainless steel from corrosion.

It is also very important, if your stainless steel door handle is scratched, that you clean it, before continued exposure to chlorine, salt or other chemicals. Allow the Chromium layer time to repair itself.

316 vs 304 Grade Stainless Steel

The two most common stainless steel options are the 304 grade and the 316 grade variety. The main difference is the 316g has chromium which basically gives the stainless steel corrosive resistance. The 304 grade does not have chromium and will rust.

With 316g if left uncleaned will form a 'tea-stain' appearance on the surface. Easily removed with cleaning and return to its former finish. The 304g will rust if left uncleaned. When rust sets in the metal is damaged.

It is important to note that 316g can rust. If left uncleaned for a length of time the tea-stain will eventually form rust. When rust settles in, the metal is damaged. That is why boat owners are regularly cleaning the 316g marine stainless steel.

How to Use Vinegar To Clean Stainless Steel

While there are many ways to clean your stainless-steel door handle, one of the most cost-effective options is to use simple, everyday household products like vinegar.

To clean stainless steel door handle with vinegar, one of the quickest and most simple methods is to dampen a soft, nonabrasive cloth in a mixture of one cup of vinegar and one cup of water and gently rub your door handle with the cloth.

Using vinegar to clean door handles has many benefits including being a disinfectant, gentle, common and inexpensive. Vinegar is a disinfectant and can kill any germs or bacteria that may be on your door handles from doing everyday tasks.

Vinegar is great as a gentle all-purpose door handle cleaner for spot cleaning with a cloth or a deeper soak to clean. White vinegar is not a harsh chemical and is something most people usually have in their pantry.

The price of white vinegar is great too. It can be bought in large quantities and is inexpensive making it a great alternative to chemical door handle cleaners.

How to clean your door handle with vinegar and a cloth

To clean your stainless-steel door handle with vinegar and a soft cloth you will need vinegar, water, a container, a soft cloth and a spray bottle (optional), and a tooth brush.

In any container, mix one cup of white vinegar with one cup of water. From here you have two options:

  • Put the mixture into a spray bottle

  • Put the mixture into a bowl

For the spray bottle option: (this method is great for spot cleaning any stainless-steel door handle)

  • Spray a soft, nonabrasive cloth with the mixture

  • Gently rub your door handle where it needs cleaned

For the bowl option. This option is great if you have some door handles you need to soak and any door handle that has intricate groves that are hard to clean between. Yes sometimes you may need to take the door handle off the door. However a tooth brush may just do the job for you.

  • Soak your door handle in the mixture in the bowl for fifteen minutes

  • After fifteen minutes, take the door handle out of the mixture

  • Use water pressure (like from a sink spray option) to remove any visible particles

  • Use a soft, nonabrasive cloth or tooth brush to wipe the door handle and restore the finish.

How to clean your door handle with vinegar and baking soda.

Baking soda and vinegar will create a reaction, so be careful or you could have more fun than intended. This method is great for any heavy grime or dirt that needs removed. This mixture creates a reaction that can gently dissolve dirt and other unwanted particles.

To clean your door handle with baking soda and vinegar you will need baking soda, vinegar, water, two bowls, a soft bristled toothbrush, and a soft cloth.

  • First you will make a paste in one bowl by mixing three parts baking soda to one-part water, the result will be a paste.

  • Put a half cup of warm water in the second bowl

  • Using a soft bristled brush, dip the brush in the paste and lightly brush onto all surfaces of the door handle. Make sure to focus on crevices or areas where the door handle is grooved. This method is great to get those tiny areas clean.

  • Let the mixture sit on the door handle for three to five minutes

  • Gently scrub the door handle again with the soft bristled brush

  • Rinse the door handle well in the bowl of warm water

  • Using a soft cloth (microfiber is great), gently wipe off the door handle making sure you have rinsed off all the paste

One final method of cleaning door handle will combine the use of a baking soda paste and a vinegar dip resulting in a bubbly reaction that will clean your door handle completely with natural cleaners and a natural chemical reaction.

This is a great way to clean cabinet handles, and other pieces of hardware with several grooves or spaces to clean between. The chemical reaction from dropping the baking soda covered door handle into the vinegar will force dirt from the piece. Yes sometimes you may need to take the door handle off the door. However a tooth brush may just do the job for you.

How to clean your door handle using a baking soda paste and a vinegar bath

To clean your door handle with a baking soda paste and a vinegar bath you will need baking soda, vinegar, water, three bowls, a soft bristled brush and a soft cloth.

  • Mix two parts baking soda and one-part water in a bowl. This mixture should be thick and resemble toothpaste.

  • Pour a half cup of vinegar into another bowl

  • Pour a half cup of water into the final bowl

  • Use the soft bristled brush to brush the paste onto all parts of the door handle, ensuring you get each groove and crevice and do not forget the joins.

  • Allow the mixture to sit on the door handle for three to five minutes

  • After the allotted time, gently brush the door handle again

  • After the second brushing, drop the door handle into the bowl of vinegar and watch the bubbles!

It is important to not allow the door handle to sit in the undiluted vinegar longer than a few minutes, but you will see the bubbles force dirt off your door handle. Yes sometimes you may need to take the door handle off the door. However a tooth brush may just do the job for you.

  • After the vinegar bath, drop your door handle into the bowl of water to rinse off any leftover paste

  • Finally, remove from the water and wipe with the soft cloth.

Besides being inexpensive, vinegar has an added benefit of being an effective disinfectant.

This is especially important if your door handle are exposed to touching and being touched by different hands and surfaces throughout your busy day.

Cleaning stainless-steel door handle is as easy as going to your kitchen pantry and finding items you probably already have. Even if you do not have them, getting them is simple and inexpensive, so put a big bottle of white vinegar on your next shopping list and wear your stainless-steel door handle with pride.


316g Stainless Steel is one of the best metals for coastal door handles. It keeps its shine over time and does not tend to damage or break as easily as softer metals such as brass. Stainless steel door handles are also incredibly easy to do upkeep on and you do not need an expensive chemical cleaner or ultrasonic machine to get it clean.

If coastal living is for you, 316g stainless steel door handles are a must. But you do have to clean them. Left and they will eventually rust. A coastal home is much like a boat. It does need tlc attention.

At Architectural Design Hardware we can offer 316g door handles and door hinges. In fact we have supplied 316g door hardware to a number of remote coastal island homes for clients that have that luxury. And an island resort not too far from shore.

Visit our showroom for more information on coastal door hardware.

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