Stainless steel is a high-quality metal that's used across industries — it's commonly used in electrical units, vehicles, construction, and home goods, especially cookware and appliances. Stainless steel gets its name because it's virtually stainless, meaning it does not rust with use. The metal is also magnetic, heat resistant, and extremely strong — more reasons why stainless steel is a popular choice.
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It can be difficult to tell at first glance whether a product is really stainless steel or not. Luckily, there are a few ways to check.
1. The Magnet Test
Almost any stainless steel product you purchase will be magnetic. So a great way to test whether or not something is actually stainless steel is to see if it's magnetic or not. Purchase a powerful magnet and hold it against the material you're testing. If the magnet falls off and does not stick to the material, it's likely not stainless steel. If it does stick (or partially stick), it could be authentic stainless steel.
2. Look for Rust
Stainless steel does not rust, so perhaps the best way to tell if an item is authentic or not is to inspect it for rust. Look closely at the product. If you notice rust forming, it's not stainless steel and may be contaminated with other metals.
3. Try Muriatic Acid
This acid test can discolor and corrode the material, so be sure to pick a spot on the product you're testing that you do not mind damaging — this could be an area on your stove that will soon be hidden by the countertops or a hard-to-see corner of your kitchen sink.
While wearing safety goggles and gloves, fill an eye dropper with muriatic acid. Carefully drop a few drops of the muriatic acid onto the product that you're testing and allow it to do its thing for about half an hour before checking back.
Gently wipe excess acid off and take a closer look at the spot you tested. If you see any discoloration or corrosion, the product is, in fact, stainless steel.
4. Clean the Surface
Still not sure whether the material you have is stainless steel or not? Try cleaning it! Wipe the surface clean with a gentle cleaner and a microfiber cloth. After cleaning, stainless steel should be shiny, almost like a mirror, and completely untarnished. If your material still looks dull after a good cleaning, it's probably not stainless steel after all.