Homeowner faced with rusting stainless steel refrigerator

Some people buy them for their looks, but others really like the fact that stainless steel is supposed to last, not rust.

It's a metal with a reputation for strong resistance to corrosion and tarnish.

So after spending $1,200 on a Maytag stainless steel refrigerator, Mary Rust thought she was in the clear.

But after having it in her kitchen less than a year she noticed rust in some spots.

"Why should I have to worry about rust on the refrigerator," Mary asked.

The answer could be in the formula.

Stainless steel is a mix of many different metals; chromium and nickel provide its anti-rusting properties.

But those metals are getting more expensive.

"There is a lot of demand for nickel the past 3 or 4 years and the price is going up," said Professor of Engineering, Dr. Veselin Shanov.

That means the amount in some stainless steel appliances is going down.

Shanov says, "if it drops below a certain level, then it could become susceptible."

We contacted Maytag about Mary's refrigerator and the company promised to look into her complaint and try to help.

But they aren't the only ones getting complaints. Online we found dozens of angry posts from owners of appliances from other makers.

So when you're out shopping, how can you tell if you're getting real stainless steel?

Make sure you have a magnet with you. The magnet shouldn't stick if it's higher grade stainless steel. So if you touch the appliance with a magnet and it doesn't stick, there's a good chance it won't rust as easily.

Use these tips to prevent rust from ruining your household items:

--Only use stainless steel cleaner
--Never rub with anything abrasive
--Never use bleach or acid based cleaners

Email me with any consumer issue you have or "like" my Let Joe Know Facebook page and tell me about it there.

Print this article Back to Top