How To Clean Stainless Steel After Welding? [Safe Procedure]

How To Clean Stainless Steel After Welding

Stainless steel is a very strong metal and is used for many purposes. Welding is required to bring it into functional shape. But, after the welding process is finished, rust is formed on the surface of stainless steel. So, many people are tense about how to clean stainless steel after welding.

You can clean stainless steel after casting in different ways. Mechanical, Chemical, and Electrochemical Methods are generally applied to clean rust from stainless steel. These are the most acceptable and easy methods. If you read the whole article, hopefully, you will know everything. 

In this article, you will know everything about stainless steel cleaning after welding. So, without further ado, let’s dive into it!

4 Easy Methods Of Cleaning Stainless Steel After Welding:

You know that stainless steel has to be cleaned after welding. It is very important to look beautiful on the surface of the steel. Previously, only mechanical and chemical methods were used to clean stainless steel. Electropolishing has recently been added to it. Below I have described four methods to clean stainless steel after welding.

Method-1: Mechanical Process

Mechanical welding cleaning can be used at a low cost. Mechanical processes are usually very useful for small tasks. These processes can be easily used to clean the rust layer of the stainless steel surface. You can clean stainless steel by following the technique below.

  • Grinding The Weld: The rust that remains on the stainless steel after welding must be rubbed off. You have to use a grinder for this. The rust should not be harder than stainless steel.
  • Things To Keep In Mind When Grinding: There are three things to do in this step. Firstly, rough the stainless steel surface so that the rust is easily removed. Secondly, grinding of rust welding should be done with a grinding machine. The third one is the use of lubricants to prevent corrosion. Using it, the stainless steel surface is finely finished.
  • Use Grit Blasting Technique: The grit blasting technique makes it easy to clean the welds on the steel surface. Grit blasting is done by blowing air at high pressure through the nozzle. When a fire with high-pressure air suddenly falls on the welding, the rust is cleared. 

The grit blasting technique is very useful for removing bad spots. Sand is used in this blasting. You need to remember not to use contaminated sand. The use of waste sand can damage your stainless steel.

Method-2: Using Chemicals 

Hard stains and subsequent rust of welding can be easily removed using a chemical. This chemical process uses a type of phosphoric acid, called Avesta Cleanser. By using it, you will get a fine stainless steel surface.

Remember that the surface of the workpiece should not contain grease, oil, and paint. Chemicals are sprayed and applied to the surface. Be sure to wash the surface after using Avesta Cleanser. The chemical process is described below.

Pickling Process:

Pickling is a type of hydrochloric or sulfuric acid solution. This is used to dissolve steel flakes. After welding, this pickling spray is applied to the stainless steel. The effectiveness of Pickling depends on the acid you are using. 

When using pickling, keep an eye on the temperature as the temperature increases the reaction of the acid. Stainless steel can be cleaned in three pickling ways. Follow the pickling process below.

  • Using A Pickling Bath: If you have the right tools, immerse the workpiece in pickling. If the workpiece is large, there is a little problem. It is better to keep the pickling bath temperature between 25 to 65 degrees centigrade. 

Reactions can occur if the temperature is high. Do not immerse the workpiece in pickling for long. This will make the steel surface rough which cannot be corrected later. 

  • Using Pickling Paste: This paste contains a mixture of binding agents with acidic acid. This paste is used only in the place where the stainless steel is welded. The area should then be rubbed with an acid-resistant brush. Then, the place should be thoroughly cleaned with water.

A major problem with this paste is that the paste dries out resulting in reduced effectiveness. At temperatures below 30 degrees, the paste may be ineffective. 

  • Using Pickling Solution: This solution contains nitric acid and hydrofluoric acid. This acid causes oxidation with rust welding. This makes the welding softer. When the steel cools, remove your stainless steel and rinse with water. This pickling solution is very effective for cleaning rust welding from a large surface.

Method-3: Electrochemical Technique

I think the electrochemical method is the easiest to clean stainless steel after welding. The two methods described above have health risks. But there is no health risk in this method even if it is very little.

Using these electrochemical processes, rust, cross-contamination and other impurities of your stainless steel can be easily removed. This method helps to get a functional emphasis very quickly. The process is described below.

  • Firstly, the welded part of the stainless steel is dipped in the electrolytic solution.
  • Then, electricity flows in this solution. As a result of oxidation, various contaminants, rust, and hard stains are removed from the steel.
  • If the welded part of the stainless steel is large, it is difficult to immerse it in the solution. To solve this problem, a brush is used in which electricity flows. This frees the surface of the steel from rust.

Method-4: Electrolytic Weld Cleaning 

This method is done using a conductive joint cleaning brush. This is a simple and fast method. The welding cleaning solution is applied to the workpiece with a brush. At the same time, there is an electric current (AC / DC). This eliminates welding hassle very quickly. Some of its special aspects are discussed below.

  • If your welded steel is large, it does not need to be cleaned. The cleaning brush can be taken there.
  • Only using pickling paste and this conductive joint cleaning brush can clean the rust of stainless steel. There is no second or third step.
  • This does not require the entire steel to be cleaned, only where welding has been done. It helps you to be precise and targeted.

Cleaning the welding by those methods will prevent any contaminants from accumulating in the steel. This method also prevents corrosion of the steel surface.

Is It Necessary To Finish Stainless Steel Welding Heat Marks?

The main purpose is not only to remove rust welding but also to remove heat tint from stainless steel. The original luster of stainless steel needs to be restored. For this, you need to grind and polish properly. This type of finishing requires a variety of techniques and corrosive materials.

There are some of the things you need to know about the final finish of your stainless steel.

  • Thick Finishing Stainless Steel: In this type of finishing everything on top of stainless steel is the grind. This type of grinding is done by a 40-grit ceramic flap wheel. Continue grinding until all surfaces are evenly spaced. These are commonly used in industrial finishes.
  • Finishing Stainless Steel By Brush: The stainless steel finish with this brush does not make the surface look too shiny. However, your fingerprints or spots will not be seen well. Even if you use it a lot, it will not look dirty. This brush uses 80 or 120 grit wheels.
  • Matte Finishing Stainless Steel: 220 or 240 grit abrasive wheel is used for this type of finishing. Use it to get a brighter glow in your stainless steel. It can finish on a steel surface without any granules.
  • Reflective Finishing: The reflected finish looks shiny like a mirror. One type of powder is used with a grinder to get this kind of finish. This powder helps to rub everything from the surface of the steel which makes the stainless steel look brighter. Here a cloth fiber wheel is used to rub the stainless steel. 320 to 1500 grit are used here.
  • Mirror Finishing Stainless Steel: The stainless steel surface will look as bright as a mirror once this finish is finished. This condition is reached after grinding for a long time. A polishing wheel is needed for a mirror-like finish. You can use a clean coat or sealant for maximum finish.
  • Electropolished Finish Of Stainless Steel: Electropolished finishing gives the surface a mirror finish. The process is similar to electrochemical cleaning but is configured differently. This method focuses on creating a smooth surface throughout the stainless steel. 

Related Question About Cleaning Stainless Steel After Welding: 

What Is Meant By “Heat Tints” Of Stainless Steel After Welding?

Stainless steel has an oxide layer on its surface. This layer thickens due to heat during welding. This causes the steel surface to fade. These are called “Heat Tints”. The color is formed by the reflected light of the oxide metal formed by the oxide film and the casting. This color depends on the thickness. “Heat Tints” are influenced by the light and heat around the weld bead.

What Is Meant By “Corrosion” Of Stainless Steel After Welding?

Corrosion of stainless steel occurs during welding. This is an oxidation process. Corrosion occurs when oxygen and air come in contact with different elements. The humidity of the air affects it more. Stainless steel must be cleaned before welding to reduce this corrosion. It should be kept clean even after welding so that it does not form rust.

How Do You Remove Discoloration After Welding From Stainless Steel?

Colors can be seen on stainless steel after welding. The main reason is the temperature. Different colors are produced due to different temperatures of welding. Although the colors are beautiful, it is harmful to stainless steel. 

This reduces the oxidation properties of stainless steel. Sometimes the structure of stainless steel changes. You can use different methods to eliminate this discoloration. These methods include chemical pickling, brushing, electrochemical cleaning, etc.

Why Do Welds Of Stainless Steel Need To Be Cleaned?

There are different types of welding processes like TIG, MIG, etc. In all these processes, it is seen that after welding, color, rust, hard coating, etc. are deposited on the surface of the metal. These reduce the life of stainless steel joints. The brightness of stainless steel is lost. To eliminate these problems, it is necessary to clean any metal after welding. 

Benefits Of Using An Electronic Weld Cleaning Device For Stainless Steel:

If you are interested in Electrochemical Weld Cleaner Device, maintain the following points.

  • Easy process
  • This can be done in just a few steps.
  • The fluid of the electrolyte is not precise
  • The cost is low
  • Strong but light
  • Always maintain the same standard
  • Easily accessible and good service network

What Do You Clean Stainless Steel With Before Welding?

Stainless steel should be cleaned beforehand to avoid any problems during welding. You can use acetone to clean the contaminants. After cleaning the steel, it should be wiped well with a dry cloth. If there are any particles after cleaning the contaminants, they will also be removed by wiping.

What Are The Routine Cleaning Steps Of Stainless Steel Besides Welding Clean?

Follow these steps to keep clean your stainless steel every 6 months:

  • Clean the dirt on the steel surface with a soft nylon brush. (Must wear a mask)
  • Clean stainless steel with detergent or something like that (you can wear hand gloves)
  • After cleaning the steel with clean water, wipe with a dry cloth/tissue. 
  • If the dirt is too much you can use the cleaning solution. (Must see how to use)

How To Keep Stainless Steel Welds From Rusting?

After welding, stainless steel has to be cleaned. After rust cleaning, you need to know how to prevent rust. You can use silicone coatings like Silcolloy and Dursan to prevent rust. These are specially designed to fight erosion. Silicone tends to be highly durable. So, you can use silicone to prevent rust of stainless steel.


Cleaning stainless steel after welding is a cinch if you follow the right procedures to do it. Stainless steel not only needs to be cleaned but also polished. The main features of this steel are toughness, durability, and gloss. I think electrochemical processes are best for retaining the clean surface and shining of stainless steel.

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Kaosar Ahmed

This is Kaosar Ahmed. I’m the main publisher of this blog. Welding Leader is a blog where I share welding tips and tricks, reviews, and guides. Stay tuned to get more helpful articles!

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