Published: May 07, 2013 3:32 PM EDT
Updated: May 08, 2013 11:06 AM EDT

NORTH FORT MYERS, Fla. - A North Fort Myers man makes a Call for Action after he says one of his high-end stainless steel appliances started to rust.

Navy veteran Gary Davis admits: they just don't make products like they used to.

"No they don't. They don't!" he said.

When his late wife Susan wanted to do some upgrades to the kitchen, Gary gave in.

"She wanted all new appliances. Washer and drier was getting old and she kind of conned me into buying them all new," he explained.

But now, Gary says the once sleek and lustrous look of stainless, is wearing off.

"Rust-- rust coming through the doors, the stainless steel doors, only on the refrigerator," he told us.

Just shy of his two-year warranty, Gary got a repairman to look at the rust breaking through his Whirlpool refrigerator.

"He came out, looked at it and said yes, it is rust coming through," Gary recalled. "...they would not repair it but they would replace the doors."

The problem was, it would cost more to replace the doors than to get a new refrigerator.

"two-thousand, eight-hundred-62 dollars and 23-cents to replace the three doors on a refrigerator that didn't cost near as much. I laughed; I called y'all," said Gary.

We did some digging and found that rust can be a real issue when it comes to stainless.

"It's stain-Less, not stain free. Stainless steel does rust," said Florida Gulf Coast University Chemistry Professor Jose Barreto.

He also said that there are different grades of stainless steel and they can be used in everything from cheap stainless screws to expensive scalpels a surgeon uses.

"You don't want rust on surgical instruments. Those tend to be the highest grade. They're really good, high, high grade steel. A scalpel steel is not for appliances. It would make the appliance too expensive," explained Barreto.

So how do you know which grade your appliance is made of?

"It's not stamped on there. It's basically, you're depending on the integrity of the appliance maker to buy the right grade," he said.

Besides the different grades of stainless, Professor Barreto told us a number of other factors can contribute to rust on your appliances.

"If you create tiny scratches or cracks in stainless steel you get what's called 'crevice corrosion,' " explained Barreto.

If there are scratches or cracks on your appliance and you use the wrong cleaner, or if you spilled an acidic food, rust could be the result.

Gary though is adamant; he's never used anything but the recommended cleaner on all his stainless steel appliances.

"I have a stove, stainless, microwave that's stainless, I wash them with the same stain cleaner and that's it-- there's no rust on them," he said.

He's at a loss as to why Whirlpool and the store he bought his appliance for, isn't backing the product, when it comes to rust.

"I honestly thought.... they'll come out and look at it, and say whoops, we'll bring you another one. Whoops bad on us, we'll bring you another one," said Gary.


So if stainless can rust, what kind of appliance does our expert recommend?

"Those white and black refrigerators, those are really good," said Professor Barreto. "If you want the thing to look new for decades, it's not a bad bet."

After we reached out to Whirlpool, Gary was sent some cleaner which he says cleaned everything great-- except the rust. So we checked again with Whirlpool and Kris Vernier, senior manager, global public and media relations sent us this statement:

     "We're very pleased to have resolved this issue with Mr. Davis. Customer satisfaction is very important to Whirlpool corporation and in this case we provided replacement doors free of charge as a goodwill gesture after other options did not meet customer expectations."

We spoke with Gary and he'll let us know when he gets his new refrigerator doors.