How to Clean Stainless Steel: 7 Spring Cleaning Hacks to Make Your Appliances Shine

By Terry Mehilos | Nov. 16, 2016 2:46 pm PST

how to clean stainless steel

Learn how to clean stainless steel fridges, sinks, ovens and dishwashers. It’s easier than you think.

Stainless steel appliances can upgrade your kitchen to a modern, refined style. What isn’t so cool? Those dirty fingerprints, dark spots and greasy smudges that soon appear after use. Here are seven hacks to make sure that your stainless steel appliances are shining by the end of spring cleaning.

1. Go with the grain.

First and foremost, understand that stainless steel, just like wood, has a particular grain. If you look closely at your appliance, you will see the direction in which the steel flows. Make sure you always clean and polish your appliance in the same direction of its grain. What happens if you don’t? Cleaning residue and dirt will be pushed farther into the grooves of the stainless steel, causing your appliance to look even more dirty and dull.

2. Use water or vinegar as your magic cleaners.

The best cleaning agents for stainless steel are most likely already in your kitchen. Avoid abrasive chemicals that can break down the composition of stainless steel and reach for warm soapy water or white vinegar. Simply dampen a cotton cloth with either of these solutions, wring out the excess liquid and wipe down your stainless steel appliances. Whether using water or vinegar, you will get rid of dirt and grime without damaging the stainless steel surface.

3. Use olive oil to polish appliances.

Olive oil or any mineral oil can refurbish your stainless steel appliances to look as good as new. So grab some olive oil from your pantry, and start buffing a small amount in the direction of the grain of the stainless steel. After this easy hack, your kitchen appliances will shine like new.

4. Use a clean cotton or microfiber cloth — not paper towels.

To avoid scratching the stainless steel surface, never use steel wool or anything rough and bristled when cleaning. A cotton cloth will not only prevent scratching your appliance, but there will be no leftover lint or paper towel residue after cleaning. Paper towels can also absorb the oil, preventing that shiny finish.

5. Reach in your cabinets for some something bubbly.

Don’t have any vinegar on hand? Club soda can also be used as a non-abrasive cleaner that will give your stainless steel appliances that envy-worthy gleam. Just as if you are using water, dampen your cotton cloth with club soap and wipe down your stainless steel appliances in the direction of the grain. All the neighbors will want to know your secret.

6. Use flour to make your sink shine.

Instead of oil, polish your stainless steel sink with flour. It might sound strange, but flour not only buffs your kitchen sink, it also absorbs dirt that has been ground into the grooves of the stainless steel. Just make sure your sink is completely dry before starting, or you’ll end up with a gooey mess! (A paste made from baking soda and water will also clean up your sink.)

And speaking of messes, we recommend you avoid using flour on your other stainless steel appliances. One poof, and your kitchen might be a cloud of white.

7. Don’t forget to dry.

No matter what method you use, don’t forget to dry your appliances. Any liquid residue can cause those annoying dark splotches to reappear. After a quick wipe down, you’re done! Your stainless steel appliances will once again have their modern sheen and shine.

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