The Ultimate Stainless Steel Cleaning Guide

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Stainless steel is a durable material that remains popular in kitchens worldwide, despite the work, it takes to keep it looking good. When it’s shiny and clean, there’s nothing quite like it, but when it’s all covered in fingerprints, streaks, and marks, it becomes an eyesore.

There are several harsh chemical-based products designed to clean stainless steel, but you may want to look into these non-toxic methods instead, especially if you have kids or pets. So if you’re looking to clean your stainless steel fridge, oven, microwave, or any other stainless steel appliance, here are the safest options plus a few tips on best practices.

The Do’s of Cleaning Stainless Steel

Stainless Steel Fridge in a grey inspired kitchen

  • Always use a soft cloth, preferably made of cotton (it tends to leave behind less lint).
  • Wipe in the direction of the grain to prevent streaks.
  • Towel dry after cleaning to avoid leaving water spots.
  • Make a habit out of cleaning your appliances because old stains are harder to tackle.
  • If you have to use a commercial polished stainless steel cleaner, read the instructions carefully, and always spot-test first.

The Don’ts of Cleaning Stainless Steel

Stainless Steel Stove Top cooking with stainless steel pans

  • Don’t use steel wool, metal brushes, or any other abrasive cleaning tools to avoid scratching the surface.
  • Avoid bleach, as it stains and damages stainless steel.
  • Don’t use any cloth, towel, or sponge that isn’t clean- it may leave more stains.

7 Safe Ways You can Clean Stainless Steel

Stainless steel fridge in a modern kitchen

Dish-washing Liquid and Baby Oil

This affordable and effective method is one of the most commonly used for cleaning stainless steel appliances. Simply dampen a cloth with just a bit of warm water and squeeze a few drops of dish-washing liquid on it. Wipe over the appliance, working with the grain, until you remove all those stubborn marks. When clean, dry the surface with a towel to prevent water stains. To polish it off, take a clean cloth and apply a few drops of baby oil or mineral oil and use it to rub over the appliance.

Vinegar and Olive Oil

Stainless steel cookware hanging in a modern kitchen

White vinegar is one of the most useful products you can have in your pantry. It is a great degreaser that can help you get rid of all the grime. Pair it with oil to give your appliance a fresh polish. Pour some white vinegar in a spray bottle and apply it directly onto the appliance. Following the grain, rub it clean with a clean cloth and then apply a small amount of olive oil to another cloth to polish the surface. 

Baking Soda

A plant growing in a stainless steel pot plant

Another excellent universal cleaner, baking soda is an effective product, but extra care must be taken to ensure you don’t end up scratching the surface. Spray the appliance with vinegar, then sprinkle some baking soda. Use a sponge or soft cloth dampened with vinegar to rub the surface. Rinse or wipe clean with warm water to remove any residue.

Glass Cleaner

Stainless steel cookware hanging in a pantry.

Mild glass cleaner is perfect for removing fingerprints and gives a nice shine to any kitchen appliance. Simply spray directly onto the surface and rub off using a soft, clean cloth, as usual. Do have in mind that this method is good only for surfaces that do not come in direct contact with your food. 

Club Soda

Person cooking with a stainless steel pot

This may sound weird, but club soda has actually been proven effective in cleaning stainless steel appliances. Spraying the surface with club soda removes old spots and fingerprints just as well as dish-washing liquid. The reason behind this may be the bubbles or the trace minerals added to it. Either way, this method works. However, make sure to polish the surface with a bit of oil after you finish cleaning it.

Lemon Oil Furniture Polish

Chopping lemons with a stainless steel knife on a stone chopping block

Add a bit of lemon oil furniture polish to a clean cloth and use this to rub the surface. Once you’ve applied it evenly, use another clean cloth to wipe clean. No need to rinse. 

Water and a Cloth

A stainless steel coffee machine

Sometimes, all you really need is water and a clean cloth. If your stainless steel appliance is not noticeably dirty and all you want is to remove dust, dampen a clean cloth with some warm water and rub the surface until clean. Polish using a dry cloth.

Whether they’re large or small, everyone has stainless steel appliances they need to care for in their kitchen. Using any of the techniques described above, cleaning your stainless steel surfaces should be a breeze. Remember to take measures quickly if you notice stains or streaks to keep your appliances looking brand new for a long time.

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