Is Stainless Steel Magnetic? It Depends.

Have you ever wondered why you can stick a magnet on one stainless steel fridge, but not another? They are both stainless steel, so why doesn’t it stick to both? Well, the answer is in the makeup of the steel. So, let’s see if stainless steel is magnetic.

Is Stainless Steel Magnetic? The Type of Stainless Plays a Role


There are different families of stainless steel and all have different physical properties. A less expensive stainless steel would be considered a ferritic steel. Ferritic stainless steels typically have better engineering properties than their counterpart, austenitic, but have reduced corrosion resistance due to lower nickel and chromium content. This makes ferritic stainless steel magnetic.

Ferritic steels provide an advantage in many applications in which thinner materials or reduced weight are required. They are also non-hardenable by heat treating.

Typical applications for ferritic stainless steels include automotive and truck exhaust systems, catalytic converters, agricultural spreaders, heat exchangers, kitchen equipment, and roofing just to name a few.

Ferritic metals are classified in the 400 series. At Metalwest we commonly stock 409 stainless and 430 stainless steel products.


Austenitic stainless steels are the more common types of stainless. These grades have higher chromium and nickel content. The higher nickel content makes austenitic grades non-magnetic.

Austenitic steels are similarly non-hardenable by heat treating, but also have excellent formability and higher corrosion resistance.

These type of steels are commonly used for kitchen equipment, appliances, automotive trim, architectural applications, chemical equipment, pharmaceutical equipment, and much more.

Austenitic stainless steels are classified in the 200 and 300 series. At Metalwest we commonly stock 201 stainless, 301 stainless, 304/304L stainless, and 316/316L stainless steel products.

So, the next time you are shopping for a refrigerator be sure to bring a magnet. Higher quality (and typically more expensive) stainless steel appliances will not hold your alphabet magnet set. But unless you plan on placing your fridge out in the elements, you will most likely get along just fine with a ferritic stainless steel appliance. It’s still stainless after all.

For more information about our stainless steel products, contact your local sales representative.

How to Clean Aluminum Siding

With spring just around the corner and the weather looking up for parts of the country, it is time to think about cleaning up the outside of your house, office building, trailer, or wherever it is that is constructed of aluminum siding.

I recently took to cleaning the outside of my house which has painted-white aluminum siding and have found a few methods that worked wonders on clearing the hard water, grime, rust stains, etc.

Prepping the home to clean aluminum siding:

First you need to prep the area around where you plan to clean. Make sure windows are all closed, any rugs, furniture, décor, etc., are moved out of the way, and any delicate plants are covered or, if in a pot, moved to a safer location for the time being.

You’ll also want to make sure you wear clothes you don’t mind getting dirty. It is a very dirty job, trust me on this one.

Method 1: Power Washer

While I was doing research on the best methods to clean aluminum siding, use of a power washer seemed to be a common method.

When using a power washer, which you can typically rent or purchase from a local hardware store, be sure to use it on a lower setting to ensure you don’t dent or damage the siding.

The power washer, I found, is a great first step, but not necessarily the best way to remove rust stains. It got rid of the dirt and some of the hard water stains, but I still had to do more manual labor to remove the orange rust that was the real eye sore on my white siding.

Method 2: Detergent and Water Solution

This method removed a majority of the orange rust and all of the hard water stains.

What you will need:

  • Laundry detergent
  • Warm water
  • Porous sponge or soft bristled brush (you can also use a push broom for hard to reach areas)
  • Old rags
  • Bucket (I just used a small 2 gallon bucket as it is all I have)
  • Hose

Cleaning process:

  1. Fill bucket with warm water and ¼ cup of laundry detergent.
  2. Start at the top and work your way down the siding. I did it in about five-foot sections. You might find that you just need the soft side of a sponge for the top half of the siding, but then need the porous side or bristle brush the more you work your way down.
  3. Work in a circular motion to ensure you get into the groves. This also varies the motion on the siding which will help to ensure you don’t start removing the paint. Going side to side along the grain may cause the paint to wear.
  4. After you have finished the section you have two options. 1) You can either move on to the next section if you were able to remove all the grime, or 2) you can go over what you just scrubbed with a rag and clean water to wipe the excess off.
  5. Once you have finished a whole side you can rinse the detergent and water solution off with a hose or power washer (on a low setting).

After doing this method, my house was almost sparkly white (I also have found that using some sort of tile cleaner with warm water works as well). However, I had a few stubborn areas I just couldn’t scrub off. So… on to method three.

Method 3: Paint

If both the above methods still don’t clean the siding, just repaint the siding. If you plan to do any painting be sure to get paint meant for outdoor and metal material use. Your local hardware store paint specialist should be able to point you in the right direction and give you instructions on how to prep, paint, and set it.

Can You Weld Steel and Aluminum Together?

The answer to whether you can weld steel and aluminum together is yes and no. OK, I’m sure you are even more confused now than you were before, but bear with me.

Let’s start with some chemistry, shall we? Aluminum and steel have different metallurgy and melting temperatures. Carbon steel, made up of iron and carbon, melts around 2500 degrees Fahrenheit while aluminum melts at 1218 degrees Fahrenheit. Through the process of arc welding, aluminum would be in a liquefied state by the time the steel begins to melt. Arc welding the two metals together would also create a brittle compound and would not create a strong fusion.

Now it may sound like there is no hope for welding them together. Oh, but there is. It is just a little more complicated.

Solid-State Welding

Solid-state welding is a process in which coalescence takes place at temperatures below the melting point of the two metals being welded together. Through solid-state welding, a filler metal, or brazing, is not necessary.

Here are some examples:

Diffusion Welding

Diffusion welding is a solid-state welding process that produces coalescence of the two metals by the application of pressure and elevated temperatures. This process works well for welding together dissimilar metals like aluminum and steel.

The process includes the two metals being pressed together at an elevated temperature, usually between 50-70% of the melting point and the process of diffusion occurs.

Explosion Welding

Another example of a solid-state welding process includes explosion welding. The process of explosion welding includes controlled detonations to fuse one metal surface to another. This process can join a wide variety of compatible and non-compatible metals together – more than other forms of welding. This makes it the ideal way to weld dissimilar metals together.

So, welding aluminum and steel together can be done. You just need to use a more complex method. There are other welding processes that could weld steel and aluminum together, but the aforementioned are two of the more common.

For more information about the aluminum and steel products we process contact your local sales representative. For more steel industry posts stay tuned to the Beyond Metal Buzz.