3 Stainless Steel Cleaning Hacks – TESTED!

By Lyle Weischwill | Oct. 10, 2022 7:55 am PST

There’s no denying the appeal of stainless steel appliances. However, there is one major downside to stainless steel: smudges.

No matter how careful you may be, fingerprints can easily mar the shiny surface, turning your gorgeous fridge into a mess of marks. Cleaning off the prints presents another problem, too, since soap and water won’t always cut it.

So what will make your stainless steel appliances sparkle like new? We put three popular stainless steel cleaning hacks to the test to find out once and for all.

WARNING – Don’t Try This At Home

Testing these hacks yourself could result in damage to the finish on your stainless steel appliance. That’s why we tested these cleaning tactics on a common piece of stainless steel for you.

Follow the instruction in the owner’s manual for cleaning your appliance.

If you try a cleaning hack yourself, test the cleaner on a small, inconspicuous area of the appliance so you don’t ruin the look of your appliance with a cleaner that doesn’t work.

See the Results of Stainless Steel Cleaning Hack Tests

View this YouTube video to see the actual results of the cleaning hack tests that we conducted on common samples of stainless steel used on appliances:

Hack Test #1: Using WD-40 to Clean Stainless Steel – Success!

Generally, you can use WD-40 to clean stainless steel to clean stainless steel surfaces on your appliances with good success.

As noted in the warning above, test the WD-40 on a small, inconspicuous spot before using it on all the stainless steel surfaces of your appliance. Following this important tip can prevent a cleaning disaster.

Also, wipe the WD-40 with the grain of the stainless steel for best cleaning results. Appliance stainless steel often has a horizontal grain in the metal. Always wipe with the grain so you don’t push residue and grime deeper into the surface. This often means wiping back and forth as you work your way from the top to the bottom of the appliance surface.

The test for using WD-40 as a stainless steel cleaner in our video was a success.

If you have company coming over and need a quick fix to get rid of fingerprints and smudges on your stainless steel appliances, you’ll likely be able to use WD-40 to get the job done quickly.

Hack Test #2: Using Club Soda to Clean Stainless Steel – Fail!

Our test found that using club soda to clean stainless steel was a dismal failure.

Most club soda is simply water infused with carbon dioxide gas. Many club sodas have some salts added for flavoring the drink.

The club soda that we tested on the stainless steel didn’t clean the surface any better than water.

The other stainless steel cleaning hacks that we tested had much better cleaning results than the club soda.

Hack Test # 3: Lemon Furniture Polish

Does lemon furniture polish clean and polish stainless steel effectively?

Yes, it does.

Our test found that lemon furniture polish cleans smudges and fingerprints off stainless appliance surfaces just as well as the WD-40 does.

If you use this product to polish stain steel appliances, remember to wipe the surfaces with the grain of the stainless surface to clean and brighten the appliance.

The Safest Way to Clean Stainless Steel On Appliances

Although we tested these 3 stainless steel cleaning hacks, we know that cleaning stainless steel with cleaners specifically designed for that job is safest.

This video shows you how to easily clean and maintain the stainless steel surfaces on your appliances.

Stainless steel appliances are popular because they help create a bright look in your kitchen—when you keep the surfaces clean. This can be challenging because real stainless steel easily collects smudges and fingerprints.

Faux stainless steel resists fingerprints but isn’t impervious to spills and smudges.

We have some simple tips to help you keep your stainless appliances looking great. By following these tips, you can spend less time cleaning and more time using the appliances.

Before you begin, gather these cleaning supplies:

  • Non-abrasive cleaning cloths.
  • Mild dishwashing liquid or a mild detergent without bleach. Bleach can harm stainless steel surfaces.
  • A bucket.
  • Stainless steel cleaner.

Clean Stainless Steel Appliance Surfaces

Start by washing your stainless appliances thoroughly with a mild detergent and water.

  1. Squirt a little dishwashing liquid into about a gallon of warm water.
  2. Wet a non-abrasive cloth and wipe the stainless steel surfaces, starting at the top of the appliance down. True stainless and some faux stainless surfaces have a horizontal grain in the metal. Always wipe with the grain so you don’t push residue and grime deeper into it. This often means wiping back and forth as you work your way from top to bottom.
  3. Rinse the soapy solution off the stainless surfaces. Wet a non-abrasive cloth with plain water and again, wipe with the grain from top to bottom.
  4. Dry the stainless surfaces with a dry, non-abrasive cloth.

Polish the Stainless Steel Appliance Surfaces

Cleaning stainless steel surfaces with soapy water typically won’t remove all smudges and marks.

To restore the stainless steel to its original luster, clean and polish it with stainless cleaner.

Many new stainless appliances come with a stainless steel cleaner sample. You can order more stainless steel cleaner from our Sears PartsDirect website.

If your appliance has a faux stainless surface, check the owner’s manual for cleaning instructions.

Cleaning Faux Stainless Steel

Stainless steel cleaner can harm some faux stainless surfaces. Before you start, test the stainless steel cleaner on an inconspicuous area to see if it harms the surface’s finish, before using it on the entire appliance. If that yields good results, apply a small amount of the cleaner to a non-abrasive cloth and wipe the cleaner across the surfaces, working with the grain. Then, polish with a dry, non-abrasive cloth, removing any dirt, smudges, fingerprints and cleaner residue.

Maintain the Stainless Steel Shine

Continue to use the stainless steel cleaner every few days (or as needed) to wipe off smudges, spills and fingerprints.

As long as you do this regularly, you’ll likely only need to clean it with soapy water about once a year.

Schedule Yearly Clean & Maintain Service For All Your Appliances

Don’t just keep the outside of your stainless appliances in top shape, schedule annual Clean & Maintain Service for your appliances to keep them working efficiently and lasting longer.

Regular professional maintenance of your appliances can also help prevent costly breakdowns.

Bundle Appliance Clean and Maintain Services

During the Clean & Maintain Service, a Sears Technician will perform the following services for each appliance:

  • Check and adjust the controls for optimum performance.
  • Inspect the electrical system.
  • Examine all mechanical functions of the appliances for proper performance.
  • Check for proper appliance functions.
  • Clean the appliance.
  • Advise you on cleaning and maintenance.

Keep all of your home appliances lasting longer, running safely and efficiently with annual maintenance from Sears Home Services.

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