How to Clean Stainless Steel Appliances

Did you ever get your haircut, and you loved it when the stylist was finished... but then the next time you showered and tried to do your hair, it just didn't look the same? That kind of phenomenon occurs in many parts of life, including with stainless steel appliances. You remember how great your stove looked in the showroom at the store? Or how shiny the fridge was in the photos? And now look; fingerprints, stains, drips, streaks... is it hopeless?  No! There are lots of great ways to clean stainless steel appliances, and many of them are quite inexpensive!

What kind of cloth is best for cleaning stainless steel appliances?

The most important tip we can give you is "don't use anything abrasive!" Avoid steel wool, Brillo pads, and even Magic Erasers. The best kind of cloth for cleaning stainless steel stoves or fridges is a microfiber cloth. Nevertheless, many people also use paper towels, and are happy with the results.

One additional tip to offer here is that no matter what kind of cloth you use to clean your stainless steel appliances, make sure you scrub "with the grain." Some stainless steel has an obvious directional pattern in the finish, while on other appliances it is more subtle. Look closely to see which way the lines go, and scrub that same way. Don't scrub in a circular pattern, or in random cross-grained directions.

What kind of cleaning product should I use to clean stainless steel?

There is a wide variety of opinion out there on this topic. What some people swear by, others swear at! Whatever you decide to try, use it first in an inconspicuous location to make sure you are happy with the results. Also, please be aware that while we are doing our best to give reliable advice, we can't be responsible if by some odd chance you try one of these ideas and it goes wrong.

One of the top recommendations for cleaning stainless steel is window cleaner. Just a simple, mild solution of water with a bit of vinegar or ammonia will do a great job cleaning and shining your stove, fridge, dishwasher or microwave. 

Many people recommend using vegetable oil, particularly extra virgin olive oil, to clean stainless steel appliances. This not only cleans, but provides a restored glossiness to the surface. Use it lightly!

Another popular idea is to clean with baby oil or mineral oil. Proponents of this plan say that it does the same as olive oil, but it will not spoil. 

Additionally, some people recommend using a little bit of dish soap on your cloth.

One thing is for certain - avoid any kind of bleach or acid-based cleaner, as this will do terrible things to the finish on your stainless steel.

Other cleaning tips for stainless steel appliances

Clean off spills as soon as possible. This is especially important if the spill is acidic (tomato sauce), milky (alfredo) or salty (noodle-water).

Try cleaning just with water and a paper towel first. It's cheapest and safest, and if it works, why try anything else?

Of course, there is also a huge array of products designed for cleaning stainless steel. It's not our purpose to promote them here, but many of these specialized products received raving reviews.

If you have any other questions about kitchen topics, feel free to contact New Life Bath & Kitchen. As a remodeling and renovation contractor, we are experienced in all kinds of kitchen-related questions. We provide kitchen and bath remodeling to the Central Coast region, including Nipomo, Santa Maria, San Luis Obispo, Santa Ynez and the surrounding locations.