Address: Industrie SGL, Malmesbury

This brown discolouration, or “tea staining” DOES NOT affect the structural integrity or the longevity of the material – only the visual appeal. This phenomenon is avoidable and can be controlled.


Tea staining occurs most commonly within around 5 kilometres from the coastline. It becomes progressively worse as one moves closer to the marine source. However, winds carrying saline moisture and other contaminants, swimming pool chemicals, varied forms of industrial pollution and higher temperatures can also create an environment where tea staining might occur as far as 20 kilometres from the sea.

When stainless steel is produced, the chromium within the metal forms an outer oxide layer. As long as this outer layer remains intact, the stainless steel remains passive and if cleaned regularly will not alter in appearance. But once the oxide layer begins to break down, as a result of any one of the above factors, the stainless steel becomes active and it’s corrosion resistance is reduced. It is at this point that “tea staining” occurs.


Whether using stainless steel outdoors or indoors you still need to clean periodically in aggressive coastal environments and areas around swimming pools. Regular rain washing or fresh water rinsing will reduce the risk of tea staining for a limited period. A good clean at least once every three months is advised, where the best way to clean stainless steel is to wash it with soap (or mild detergent) and warm water, followed by a rinsing with cold water.

If so required the further polishing of the surface with “Marine Shine” car or boat polish which can be purchased at the nearest hardware store, but we prefer HDM polish pack, which include instructions, stain cleaner and spray polish. (Contact office at 022 487 1788)