Clean Your Stainless Steel Appliances With Ease
Although everyone loves the look of stainless-steel appliances, very few people are actually familiar with how to clean them, or the fact that they can be quite stubborn to keep clean. It has become such an issue, in fact, that many appliance manufacturers are now making and advertising their “fingerprint-proof” and “scratch-resistant” stainless finishes, designed to rival the pesky original stainless that is notoriously difficult to keep looking clean and sharp.
The Problem with Stainless Steel Cleaners
Some people assume, and often rightfully so, that they should be able to clean their appliances with any cleaner that is labelled as an effective choice for stainless steel. Unfortunately, a good majority of these cleaners don’t actually work, and often leave more streaks and scuffs behind than they clean in the first place.
That's why it’s helpful to get to know your cleaning options, including what really works to get stainless steel clean without leaving smudges, scratches, or other blemishes behind.
This isn’t to say that all-stainless-steel cleaning products are ineffective. There are actually some that work quite well.
Make sure that you read reviews on all cleaners and find out what people actually experienced when using the products so that you can find what truly works best for your needs.
The Biggest Mistakes
Along with finding the right way to clean your appliances, there are some definite things that you want to avoid when it comes to handling stainless steel.
For best results, keep the following tips at the front of your mind to avoid serious issues or creating a bigger mess than you had to begin with:
- Do NOT use any oven cleaners or related products. The caustic chemicals will often leave a harsh residue and can even ruin the surface of the stainless steel.
- Never use abrasive sponges, scouring pads, or steel wool. You should only use soft, non-abrasive cloths on your stainless-steel appliances.
- Do not use cleaning products with chloride or chlorine (bleach) in them, as these can stain and damage the stainless steel.
- If you have hard water, consider using bottled water or filtered water to clean your appliances to avoid water spots or hard water stains, which are another common occurrence on stainless-steel appliances.
DIY Stainless Steel Cleaning
When cleaning stainless steel, one of the best solutions is a combination of items that most people have in their homes. All that you need are some microfiber cleaning cloths, along with white vinegar and some mineral or cooking oil. Before you clean the stainless steel, you’ll want to figure out which direction the grain is going. While that might sound weird because it’s a type of metal, not wood, it’s really something that you have to consider. Going against the grain will not clean as effectively and could lead to streaks or even scratches if you aren’t careful.
How to Clean with These Items
Step One: Put vinegar in a spray bottle and liberally spray the appliance with the vinegar until it is well-coated.
Step Two: Use the microfiber cloth to wipe down the appliance, going with the grain. This will help remove the debris and obvious dirt and add a little shine. If you have stubborn dirt, you may need to do this a couple of times to get the majority of it removed.
Step Three: Using a separate cloth, apply a small amount of oil to the appliance. Again, make sure that you’re wiping with the grain, and start with less because you can always go back for more. Just dip the edge of the cloth in the oil and start wiping down the appliance. As you oil the surface, the marks will disappear.
Other Cleaning Options
Of course, everyone seems to have a DIY remedy for cleaning stainless steel. Depending on the exact finish and type of stainless steel that you are dealing with, different cleaning products or methods may be more effective.
For example, instead of the remedy described above, you could try a process using dish soap to clean the stainless steel and baby oil to polish the appliance once it is clean.
Some people even swear by something as simple as good old reliable club soda to clean their stainless-steel appliances.
It works the same as other cleaning methods. Using a spray bottle, you just apply the club soda to the appliance and the rub the cloth with the grain to clean and shine the surface. Of course, again, results may vary depending on the type of cleaning that needs to be done and the exact type of stainless steel that is present.
Trial and Error is Okay
Because there are different textures and finishes of stainless steel, and because all cleaning needs are a little different, it may take some time for you to figure out what works best. If you have to try a few different things, that’s okay.
You'll already be much better off because you’ve done your research and at least narrowed down the selection of options that you have for cleaning stainless-steel appliances. Don't settle for second-rate cleaning because there is bound to be a truly effective solution out there. You just have to find it.
Give yourself a few different options your first time so that you aren’t too discouraged right out of the gate. Most importantly, understand that you may not get the perfect result the first time, and don’t expect to. That way, you’ll be prepared to try a few things and if something does work sooner, it’ll be a pleasant surprise.
Stainless steel has started to get a bad reputation because it is prone to streaks, fingerprints, and water spots. It looks great in the kitchen, but it can also create a lot of problems when you have a busy family and a lot of people coming through.
Finding the best way to keep these appliances clean takes a little effort, but it’s not impossible. Take advantage of the research and effort put in by others to find the best solutions to help clean your stainless-steel appliances, whether that is one of the solutions on this list or something entirely different. Get in the habit of cleaning your stainless steel appliances regularly, our daily home maintenance schedule can help with that.
Adriana Aziz is the operations manager at MaidForYou. With over 6 years of experience managing cleaning operations, she knows all the best hacks when it comes to cleaning residential and commercial buildings. With expert experience in managing house cleaning operations, interior design and logistics. She spends her free time with her family and as a freelance food critic.