How to Clean Stainless Steel Appliances

how to clean stainless steel appliances

Stainless steel appliances make even a modest kitchen look high-end. But with the added luxury comes added responsibility when it comes to cleaning your home appliances. Unlike traditional black and white appliances, stainless steel appliances collect fingerprints and smudges much more easily. Not to worry! We’ve got all the best tips for how to clean your stainless steel appliances and remove fingerprints and smudge marks. 

Before you purchase supplies, start by assessing the type of stainless steel appliance you own. Many modern stainless steel appliances come with a “smudge-proof” or “fingerprint-resistant” coating that makes the cleaning process much easier.

What You Should NOT use on Stainless Steel Appliances:

If you’re used to a standard finish on your appliances, you may not think twice about grabbing your favorite bleach spray and scratchpad to clean and disinfect your appliance surface. 

🛑 STOP — Don’t spray your stainless steel appliances with abrasive cleaners & steer clear of abrasive cloths.

Whether you have the smudge-proof coating or bare stainless steel, it’s important to know how to clean stainless steel without scratching the surface. Scratched stainless steel is unsightly and difficult to repair.

Cleaners you should NOT use when cleaning your stainless steel appliances include:
1. Abrasive powders or liquids
2. Window sprays like Windex
3. Ammonia or ammonia-based cleaners
4. Acidic Cleaners
5. Oven Cleaners
6. Flammable fluids (I’ve seen recommendations to use WD-40–don’t do this! Not only is it toxic, but it’s flammable)

When wiping down your appliances, do NOT use abrasive cloths including:
1. Abrasive cloths with “scratch” pad surfaces
2. Paper towels
3. Steel wool pads
4. Sponges with an abrasive surface

How to clean smudge-proof stainless steel appliances:

Cleaning your smudge-proof stainless steel appliances is simple! All you need is a soft, clean cloth and warm soapy water. That’s it!
Step 1: Use a soft, microfiber cloth.
Step 2: Fill your sink with warm, soapy water.
Step 3: Get the cloth wet with warm soapy water and wipe down your appliance, moving in the direction of the grain.
Step 4: Rinse the cloth, and then wipe down the appliance again to remove any soap residue.
Step 5: To prevent dried watermarks or streaks, use a dry cloth to wipe down any remaining water.

How to Clean Stainless Steel Appliances without Smudge-Proof Coating

If your stainless steel appliances don’t have a smudge-proof coating, you’ll want to polish them regularly with a stainless steel polish. I recommend cleaning your appliances at least once per month. This will keep the metal clean in appearance and prevent rusting. 

What is the best store bought cleaner for stainless steel appliances?

What is the best cleaner for stainless steel appliances? The leading stainless steel appliance cleaner on the market is Weiman Stainless Steel Cleaner. Weiman works to clean, polish, and protect the appliance. You can get a complete kit including the microfiber cloth on Amazon for under $20.

how to clean stainless steel appliances
Wieman Stainless Steel Cleaner is Top Rated on Amazon.

Can I use Windex on my stainless steel appliances? No! Don’t use Windex or any other household cleaner to clean your stainless steel appliances.

If you don’t like the idea of using chemicals to clean your stainless steel appliances, you can try a natural cleaner instead. There are natural store-bought stainless cleaners on the market, including a non-toxic, plant-based option by Clean Therapy.

Natural Stainless Steel Cleaner

No matter which product you decide to purchase, be sure to get some soft microfiber cloths to avoid scratching your appliances. I love these microfiber cloths by Mr. Siga.

best cloths for stainless steel appliances
Best Cloths for Stainless Steel Appliances on Amazon.

What is the best way to clean stainless steel appliances naturally?

If you don’t like the idea of using harsh chemicals to clean your stainless steel, try a natural homemade solution instead.

But before you get started, keep in mind that not all-natural cleaning solutions are going to be good for your stainless steel. Avoid using vinegar and hydrogen peroxide on your stainless steel. Many homemade cleaning solutions use these natural ingredients. These ingredients aren’t safe for your stainless steel!

Common Questions about Natural Cleaner for Stainless Steel:

Let’s get a few of the common natural stainless steel cleaner questions out of the way…

Readers Ask: Can you clean your stainless steel with vinegar? 
Answer: Yes! However, the acidity of vinegar may harm your stainless steel so be sure to mix 1 part vinegar with 1 part water. BUT, if you have a smudge-proof coating on your stainless steel appliances, use warm soapy water instead.

Readers Ask: Can you clean your stainless steel with baking soda? 
Answer: Sure, but it may be messy. Opt for the homemade cleaner recipe below instead.

Homemade Stainless Steel Cleaner Ingredients:

You can make homemade stainless steel cleaner with ingredients from around the house.

Step 1: Gather the ingredients:

  1. ½ Cup of Water 
  2. ½ Cup of Vinegar
  3. 2-4 drops of Lemon Essential Oil
  4. Reusable Spray Bottle
  5. Olive Oil
  6. 2 soft, microfiber cloths

Step 2: Prepare the mixture: Mix the water, vinegar, and essential oil in the spray bottle and shake to combine. 

Step 3: Clean the appliance with the vinegar cleaning solution. Spray your appliance with the solution. Using a clean, soft cloth, wipe the solution off in the direction of the grain.

Step 4: Polish the surface with olive oil. Make sure your appliances shine by applying a coat of olive oil to the surface.

American Appliance is dedicated to providing advice on all the most common appliance repair and maintenance issues. Be sure to subscribe to our newsletter for more tips and tricks!

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