How To Clean Stainless Steel Appliances – The Safe Way

When I first moved into my house, I bought all the kitchen appliances of stainless steel, the slow cooker, the fridge, the stand mixer, even the kettle. No-one stopped me! And no one warned me about how dirty they can get in the blink of an eye. 

Modern luxury black and white kitchen interior with stainless steel appliances on counter-tops

I’m sure you’ll agree that stainless steel appliances look amazing. It’s also amazing how quickly they get dirty, greasy and full of fingerprints. I had issues with keeping them clean. Like most of you, I guess! Especially if you have kids running around the house and touching everything and everywhere with their, most of the time, sticky fingers. 

I suppose you’ve already noticed that If your stainless steel fridge is full of finger stains then, no matter how clean your house is, it will always look dirty.

Fortunately, I realised quite soon that the easier it is for stainless steel to get dirty, the easier it is to clean it. So, I managed to find some simple and fast ways to clean them. There are many ways and many options that we can use to clean stainless steel. Some are already in our kitchen’s cupboards, whilst others are available at many stores or online. Here are some DIY and not cleaning tips to clean stainless steel and get rid of smudges!

How to clean your stainless steel appliances naturally

Before starting cleaning your stainless steel appliances, you should always read the manufacturer’s instructions. They better know their products and can highlight what to do and what to avoid when it comes to cleaning them. 

Almost all of the following cleaning stainless steel solutions combine water with another ingredient. It might sound a bit unreasonable to clean with water surfaces that are so susceptible to water stains. However, don’t hesitate to try them! We promise that you’ll get rid of every single build-up of grime and dirt, without a trace of water spots.

Happy Woman Cleaning Her Stainless Steel Refrigerator With A Cloth And Spray Bottle

1. Use White vinegar & Olive Oil for natural cleaning 

Vinegar: The miraculous cleaning agent to cleaning anything, like your washing machine, your shower glass, even your microwave and air fryer! Combining vinegar and olive oil will create a protective effect on the stainless steel, clean and shine your devices naturally and easily.

You’re going to need:

  • Vinegar
  • Oil
  • Two microfiber cloths

Instructions:

  1. Dampen a cloth with vinegar and rub to clean any dirt, grime and fingerprints spots.
  2. Wait until the vinegar dries.
  3. Then dampen the second clean cloth with the oil and wipe away following the direction of the grain.

2. Use White vinegar & Water

Our next natural cleaning method is using vinegar and water. 

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • A spray bottle
  • Vinegar
  • Water
  • A microfiber cloth

Then, follow these steps:

  1. Mix equal parts of vinegar and water in the sprayer.
  2. Spray a fine mist on the surface.
  3. Let it sit for a few minutes.
  4. Wipe down using the cloth and following the direction of the grain

3. Use a Baking soda scrub

If your cookware or countertops are full of baked-on stains, there’s an easy, natural way to make them look new again. 

You’ll need: 

  • Baking soda
  • Water
  • Dish soap
  • A cloth

Note: There isn’t a certain amount of soda. So, be generous!

  1. Create a soft paste of baking soda and water.
  2. Apply to the stain and let it sit for 20 minutes.
  3. Then, dissolve some dish detergent in water and soak a soft cloth. Wring it very well.
  4. Now, scrub the surface with the dampened cloth.
  5. Rinse the surface with warm water very well and dry it!

Extra tip: Wipe with the grain to avoid any scratches. 

A woman cleaning her over with soapy water

4. Use a Dish soap, Warm Water & Baby oil Mix

In Method 1, we combined vinegar with olive or baby oil. In this method, we’ll mix baby oil with dish detergent and warm water to make our dull stainless steel appliances shine again.

To achieve your goal you’ll need:

  • A teaspoon of dish liquid
  • 2 litres water
  • 2 bowls 
  • 3 microfiber cloths 

And here’s what you need to do:

  1. Fill a bowl with a litre of water.
  2. Dilute a teaspoon of the detergent.
  3. Soak your soft, lint-free cloth into the soapy water, wring it very well and wipe the surface following the grain’s direction. 
  4. Fill the second bowl with water.
  5. Soak your second clean cloth, wring it very well and wipe any soapy residue off the surface, going with the grain.
  6. Let it dry for a while.
  7. Moisten the third cloth with the oil and wipe once more along with the grain. 

5. Use Rubbing alcohol

Rubbing alcohol is one more stainless steel cleaner that both cleans and sanitises the stainless steel surface without damaging it. 

Supplies you’re going to need:

  • Rubbing alcohol
  • A soft microfibre cloth

The steps are super easy to follow. Check by yourself:

  1. Spray some rubbing alcohol on the surface.
  2. Wait for about 20 minutes.
  3. Wipe across with the cloth and that’s all.

How to clean your stainless steel appliances with commercial cleaners

But, if you, still, prefer to use commercial cleaning solutions, we’ve got some options below. 

Woman cleaning stainless steel gas surface in the kitchen with rubber gloves and glass cleaner

1. Use Glass cleaner

This product is the lightest of the commercial cleaners. You can use it to get rid of the annoying fingerprint stains on your devices.

What you’re going to need:

  • Your favourite glass cleaner
  • 3 microfiber cloths

Here’s how to clean your stainless steel appliances using a glass cleaner:

  1. Spray the soft cloth with the glass cleaner. Avoid spraying directly on the surface to avoid dripping.
  2. Wipe the surface to remove dirt and fingerprints spots.
  3. Dampen a second cloth with warm water and wipe again.
  4. Then, buff the surface to get the shiny metal finish

2. Use WD-40

This might be the weirdest cleaning method of all. As weird as it may sound, WD-40 can clean steel and create a protective coating from fingerprints. 

Supplies:

  • WD-40
  • A soft cloth

To clean your steels that way, you need to:

  1. Spray WD-40 onto the surface.
  2. Wipe away with the cloth.

8. Use Bar Keepers Friend

It’s a great cleaner to remove stains, fingerprints spots, grease and hard water stains from your refrigerator or even your stainless steel sink. It’ll make your devices super sheen again. 

You can find it at every store and on Amazon. 

What you need:

  • Bar Keepers Friend
  • 2 soft dry cloths

Instructions:

  1. Before starting, shake the spray bottle very well.
  2. Spray directly onto the surface.
  3. Let it work for about a minute.
  4. Wipe with the grain using a cloth.
  5. Buff to a shiny finish with the second cloth. 

What not to do when cleaning your stainless steel?

We shared with you useful cleaning tips on how to clean your stainless steel devices. There are, though, some “Don’ts”  that anyone who has such devices needs to know. Following our advice is literally up to you, as the functionality of your stainless steel appliances won’t be affected. However, it’ll help in the overall picture of your house and how clean it looks. 

So:

  • Avoid using steel wool and brushes
  • Don’t use bleach or any cleaning products containing bleach. It can damage the stainless steel surface, cause corrosion and put permanent streaks on it. 
  • While cleaning with water, opt for distilled or filtered water. Avoid using tap water, as it can be harsh and leave extra stains instead of cleaning them. 
  • Avoid using paper towels. Opt for microfibre cloths as they are lint-free and they don’t leave streaks while wiping.
  • Don’t wipe in a circular motion because it’s most likely to leave streaks than clean them. Always wipe following the grain’s direction. 
  • Stainless steel doesn’t need abrasive cleaners to be smooth and shiny. Instead, the use of this kind of cleaners will create scratches on the surface and make the finish looking dull.

Smart everyday tips that will save your day

Stainless steel is the most resistant, shiny and easy to keep like new material. Follow a couple of tips every day, and you’ll save yourself from the elbow grease needed to get rid of the buildup dirt. 

  • Clean every stainless steel surface regularly with a damp cloth in hot water. It’ll save you from later elbow grease!
  • Remove any stain, water spot or fingerprints right after you see it
  • While cleaning the appliances always use clean cloths; otherwise, any debris left from the previous cleaning can scratch the surface.

If you trust our opinion, water and vinegar is the fastest and most effective cleaning solution of all. However, you better give a try to all the above-mentioned methods and then decide which one best fits your needs. The most important is that they all can do the trick! If you found our guide helpful, you can also check our complete guide on how to clean a stainless steel watch!

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