How to Clean Stainless Steel Appliances

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About: I'm a creative content creator here at instructables, which means that I have the most awesome job making just about anything and everything! My passions are interior decor, fun and innovative children's pla...

If you own a stainless steel appliance, you know that it rarely ever lives up to its name. It is hardly ever stainless! I cannot seem to remember a time when finger print marks and water stains did not decorate the surfaces of my dishwasher, oven and refrigerator. Woe is stainless steel!

What adds insult to injury is the harsh chemical cleaning products that promise to return our stainless steel appliances to their showroom origins. With the hefty price tags of these cleaners, and their pestilential nature, why own anything stainless steel? Do we really want those adorable little toddler mouths and fingertips in contact with the cosmetically fragile contraptions, coated with chemical cleaners?

Here is a 'how to' on how to clean stainless steel appliances without harmful chemicals for a flawless finish!


Step 1: Understanding the Direction of the Grain

Just like wood, steel also has a grain. These are the very faint striations that can be found on the surface of your appliance. An entire sheet of steel will have the same direction grain. That said, an appliance will usually have other steel pieces attached, such as handles and knobs. These other pieces may have a different direction grain, so make sure you are aware of this.

Will your appliance be ruined if you do not clean in the direction of the grain? Nope. Nothing dramatic will happen! Only that If you wipe perpendicular to the grain, more cleaning residue (mixed with any grime already on the steel) may get deeper into the tiny little crevices of the grain. For optimal shininess, its best to go with the grain.

This rule applies to any cleaning agent you use on any piece of stainless steel.

Step 2: Gathering Supplies

- 2 non-abrasive cleaning rags. I went with 100% cotton because it has almost absolutely no residual lint. However, in the past, I have used run-of-the-mill paper towels, which worked ok (they do leave some lint)

- Dish soap. Here I used "Dawn"

- Baby oil or any mineral oil

- stained steel

Step 3: Cleaning

Mild and quite loveable, dishsoap is amazing in fighting grime off dishes...and appliances! Who knew? This step will clean excess oils off the steel, and make polishing much more enjoyable!

Apply a small amount to your cleaning rag. Rinse with a small amount of water, just enough to make your rag damp

Wipe along the grain line of your appliance. For extra stubborn fingerprints, you may need to go over the area a few times.

When thoroughly finished cleaning an area, dry any water marks with a dry towel.

Step 4: Polishing

This is the rewarding part.

Put a *small* amount of mineral oil or baby oil on your second rag. Really, a couple of drops will be more than sufficient!

Similar to cleaning, follow the grain of your steel, and move in either direction.

Polishing the steel in this way will give you optimal results.

Step 5: You're Done!

Your stainless steel is once again stainless!

Your rag, on the other hand, needs to be tossed in the washer

Enjoy!

Step 6:

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    135 Discussions

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    madis25

    5 months ago

    Acetone - really fast and best cleaner in kitchen. Cleaned before also with dishwahing liquid. It's crazy! No never. To get ride of this dirt...

    Acetone cleans fast everything, but NO PLASTIC and PRINTED MARKINGS on stainless steel.

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    KittiCarlisleplasticbaldy

    Answer 5 months ago

    I was preparing our house for sale and wanted the stove to be as clean as possible. I made a paste of baking soda and water, applied it to the area and let it sit for a bit. I then just wiped it off with a damp cloth. I was amazed. Perfect!

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    lojbud

    5 months ago on Step 4

    WD-40 is also a great polisher. Spray some on and wipe with the stainless steel grain. Then take a second rag and wipe off any excess!

    1 reply
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    mb_lenggrieslojbud

    Reply 5 months ago

    yup, that really does the job and - for myself - it really smells good ;-)

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    JimG163

    5 months ago on Step 6

    Eucalyptus oil also works well for the polishing step and leaves a nice smell.

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    Ninzerbean

    5 months ago

    Good information. I don't clean that often so when I do I use Bar Keeper's Friend. It is amazing.

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    hjg77

    1 year ago

    I have spots on my stainless steel frig door. Just looks different in areas, not stains. I had house cleaners that started cleaning my house in March. These spots have come in the last two cleanings. I have no idea how to get it looking right again or if it can. They are using an echo friendly cleaner.

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    Gremxuluescapist

    Reply 2 years ago

    He is refering to the tutorial of those videos ..Hence >> Video's Tutorial

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    drizzy77Gremxulu

    Reply 2 years ago

    escapist is correct. There is really no correct use for the term "video's" except in the possessive or intrinsic sense, and I can't think of an example where a video would possess anything, unless you're describing the "effect" of the video on your emotion, etc.. (e.g., "the video's depth captured my imagination").

    In the example above, tadgh.oshea.10 improperly used an apostrophe to denote the plural "videos." Gremxulu further muddled the conversation with something that makes no sense.

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    BigSpindrizzy77

    Reply 1 year ago

    Jeepers, grammar's own police!

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    tadgh.oshea.10BigSpin

    Reply 1 year ago

    Exactly my thoughts as grammar has SFA to do with cleaning stainless steel properly.

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    drizzy77tadgh.oshea.10

    Reply 1 year ago

    Nor was it implied that grammar has anything to do with cleaning stainless steel. If you can't navigate simple English, best to say nothing. Besides, Tadgh Oshea is a shill for JSK cleaning products and should disclaim that fact on every comment. A lengthy conversation on this, below.

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    tadgh.oshea.10drizzy77

    Reply 1 year ago

    Well your method of cleaning stainless steel is completely wrong as it will only end up actually leaving a greasy/oily film which is proven when people make the mistake of using any type of oil after they have initially cleaned the stainless steel surface.

    If you want to see and hear how stainless steel appliances can be cleaned properly just go and clink on the links i Tadgh O Shea from Jsk eco cleaning solutions was happy to share with everyone.

    No one is saying you have to use the products from Jsk eco cleaning solutions as if you listen and watch the video's the method and the products used are mentioned and anyone can go to their local Jan San supplier purchase these same products use the method we have developed and have been happy to share with everyone under no obligation.

    And guess what then you also can clean stainless steel properly.

    And just to share more information for anyone who uses any type of oil after they have initially cleaned the stainless, oils will just end up leaving a false cleaned finish on the surface which will just end up attracting dust and show up fingerprints more easily.

    Always remember if a surface is deemed to be clean there should be no SSR's (Streaks,Smears,Residues,) left behind, so any type of oils used on stainless steel will just end up leaving SSR's behind therefore the stainless steel won't be deemed to be clean.

    Happy to share and full name provided.

    Tadgh O Shea

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    tadgh.oshea.10drizzy77

    Reply 2 years ago

    I have never found a traditional type stainless steel cleaner that will actually clean stainless steel surfaces properly as they are all derived from using mineral oils and just end up leaving greasy oily residues behind on the surface. I am confident in sharing the above video links that our cleaning method whether deep cleaning or maintaining stainless steel surfaces is the safest and most effective method available anywhere on the market today. I also know cleaning chemical manufacturers with turnover of billions and their stainless steel cleaners will not match our method and results when it comes to cleaning stainless properly. I would be very interested in hearing from anyone who has come across a traditional type stainless steel cleaner whether in an aerosol can or trigger spray bottle that will clean stainless steel surfaces properly.

    Tadgh

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    drizzy77tadgh.oshea.10

    Reply 2 years ago

    vinegar removes most streak-stains from most stainless steel. Follow with a VERY light coating of clear coconut oil. Use a microfiber applicator on both. Easy peasy.

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    tadgh.oshea.10drizzy77

    Reply 2 years ago

    Just sharing and to err on the side of caution when cleaning stainless steel its best to use a cleaner which is non-caustic and non-corrosive, vinegar is derived from acetic acid which is corrosive and will cause detrimental damage to many surfaces from its continuous use, its best to keep the vinegar for when having fish and chips. Also using any type oil based product will just lleave a false finish behind on the surface and will just end up attracting dust. Its just not possible to clean stainless steel properly using any oil based product. Just ask your janitorial supplier for a neutral based cleaning solution one that dose not contain any mineral oils and use it in combination with microfiber cleaning cloths and microfiber shinning cloths and your done, no more SSR's (Streaks,Smears,Residues,) left behind on your stainless steel appliances.

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    drizzy77tadgh.oshea.10

    Reply 2 years ago

    I've used vinegar to clean stainless appliances for 15+ years and have seen nothing of what you describe. Nothing. Always looks great and gets the job done. Stainless steel doesn't react with acids like high-carbon steel, as the high chromium content adds a protective barrier from corrosive elements, including many acids.

    If you use too much oil, yes, will attract dust. And, yes, never use mineral oil. But a very light rubbing of clear coconut oil looks great, in fact people comment on how good my stainless appliances look (hint: it's the light rubbing of coconut oil).

    Ha... I think we must live on two different planets, or you're a shill for JSK Cleaning Products.

    Here's the coconut oil I use - raw and fractionated:

    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00H8XVWS6