Stainless steel adds an image of elegance and sophistication to any kitchen. However, if you don’t clean it often enough, you could be left with a room full of dull, grey appliances. Luckily, stainless steel is easy to maintain. All you need to remember is a few simple do’s and don’ts to get back that shine without damaging your surfaces.

How to Clean Stainless Steel Appliances

Stainless steel presents more of a challenge than other finishes because it shows fingerprints and streaks easily. Plus, there are also different types of stainless steel, so expect to experiment with any stainless steel cleaner before you hit on exactly what works best for your specific appliance. If you have several stainless steel appliances, you may find that each one requires a different cleaning routine.

Keep reading to learn how to clean stainless steel the right way.

The Do’s of Cleaning Stainless Steel

Before you start your quest for the ultimate cleaning formula, check out the manufacturer’s instructions. They’re a great place to learn how to clean stainless steel appliances. They will often suggest the best stainless steel cleaners and indicate what cleaners could damage the finish. You can trust the manufacturer in this matter; they understand how to clean a stainless steel fridge or oven, and following their instructions can keep your appliances looking like new.

Assuming they’re not at odds with your stainless steel appliance cleaning instructions, here are a few field-tested cleaning methods that work on most finishes.

  1. A soft cloth dampened with warm water will often be enough for general cleaning.
  2. Glass cleaner is good for getting rid of fingerprints.
  3. Wipe in the direction of the grain to avoid leaving streaks.
  4. Towel dry after cleaning to prevent water spotting.
  5. Use a commercial cleaner to remove stains on stainless steel if needed, but always read the directions and spot-test first.

The Don’ts of Cleaning Stainless Steel

  1. Steel wool or brushes will scratch the surface of your stainless steel and make it more susceptible to rusting and staining.
  2. Abrasive cleaners will scratch the surface and dull the finish.
  3. Bleach and cleaners with chlorine will stain and damage stainless steel.
  4. Don’t leave dirty water and cleaning solution residues to dry on your stainless steel; it will create a dull finish and could leave permanent stains.
  5. Some tap water can be harsh and leave spots or stains. Use distilled or filtered water instead.

DIY Stainless Steel Cleaners

The latest and greatest commercial cleaner may not be the best stainless steel cleaner — or the safest. There are plenty of ways to clean stainless steel without using potentially harmful commercial cleaners! Try these DIY cleaners on your appliances and see for yourself — just remember to spot-test any stainless steel cleaner before using it.

Vinegar and Olive Oil

Here’s what you’ll need: distilled white vinegar, olive oil and two microfiber cloths.

Look closely at your stainless steel and find the grain. Dampen your microfiber cloth with vinegar and rub with the grain to remove dirt, grease and grime. Let the vinegar dry and dampen the other microfiber cloth with olive oil. Work the oil by rubbing with the grain. This simple procedure will clean, protect and shine your stainless steel quickly and easily.

Dish Soap and Baby Oil

Here’s what you’ll need: dish soap, baby oil, warm water and three microfiber cloths.

Dilute one teaspoon dish liquid in one quart of warm water. Dampen your microfiber cloth with the solution and clean with the grain. Mix one teaspoon dish liquid with one quart of water. Dampen a clean microfiber towel with clean, warm water and wipe away the residue. Let the finish dry and work in the baby oil, going with the grain.

Proper care and maintenance will help you clean your stainless steel appliances and avoid permanent damage and corrosion. With just a little effort, your appliances will stay looking shiny and new.

And remember, if you’d like to get the whole kitchen (or house) in order, call The Maids. We have over three decades of experience under our belts, and are more than ready to hand scrub kitchen floors, wipe down counters, vacuum under beds, remove spider webs, take out trash and a ton of other tasks. Just call 1-800-THE-MAIDS for a free price quote in your area. You deserve a clean house, and we’re ready to help.

The Do’s & Don’ts for Cleaning Stainless Steel

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