How To Clean Stainless Steel Appliances: 5 Easy Methods

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Owning a set of gleaming stainless steel appliances can make a kitchen feel modern and fancy. However, like other metallic finishes, stainless steel requires cleaning and upkeep in order to maintain its shine.

So, if you’re wondering how to clean stainless steel appliances with the easiest, most effective methods possible, keep reading for five proven options, including some that require simple supplies that you likely already have sitting around in your home.

Targeted Cleaning Products

It may sound obvious — and it is — but one of the easiest ways to clean stainless steel appliances is to use a cleaning product designed with only that surface in mind. This is because stainless steel cleaners will typically contain polishing ingredients that leave behind a streak-free appearance.

You can find stainless steel cleaners in spray bottles, wipes and even aerosol spray formulas. One well-known brand is Weiman; it boasts its cleaning products easily remove dirt and fingerprint smudges from stainless steel with very little effort. Bar Keepers Friend is another stainless steel cleaning product many people swear by. As a plus, it can also help minimize any stains or tarnish on your stainless steel surface.

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A Spritz Of WD-40

If you’re wondering how to clean stainless steel appliances with a product you might already having laying around, try WD-40. The same product that can lubricate squeaky doors and protect metal from rust also makes a great cleaner and polisher for stainless steel appliances. To use it, squirt the WD-40 onto a dry clean cloth and wipe it across the surface of the appliance. (Pro tip: Spraying the WD-40 onto a cloth rather than directly on the appliance helps prevent accidentally applying an excessive amount.)

WD-40 is also great at tackling grease and water stains on stainless steel. However, be careful to avoid using WD-40 on any stainless steel surfaces that come into contact with food, since it’s a petroleum-based product.

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A Dab Of Vinegar

If you don’t want to buy any extra cleaning products, it’s possible to clean your stainless steel with a staple you likely already have in your kitchen: vinegar. Vinegar contains a mild acetic acid that works well at removing grease and grime from stainless steel and other household surfaces.

But how do you clean stainless steel appliances using vinegar? Pour undiluted vinegar into a spray bottle, spray it directly onto the stainless steel surface, and wipe dry with a soft towel. Cleaning with vinegar has several advantages: it’s non-toxic, inexpensive and safe to use around kids and pets. The downside is that it can leave behind that signature, pungent smell and a streaky finish. Granted, the vinegar scent will eventually dissipate, or you can make a DIY vinegar cleaning solution with orange peels that has a more pleasant aroma and use that to clean your stainless steel with instead.

To combat the streakiness, try using a drop of olive oil (or another cooking oil) on a soft towel to polish the stainless steel after cleaning it.

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A Baking Soda Paste

Many people are familiar with using baking soda to deodorize laundry and the inside of the refrigerator, but it can also be used. Although the process can be a bit messier than other ways of cleaning stainless steel, if you have a lot of caked-on grease or food residue stuck to your appliance, this method might be worth trying.

How to clean stainless steel appliances with baking soda involves creating a paste with two parts baking soda to one part water. You’ll then apply the paste to your appliance and wait at least 10 minutes before gently wiping off the paste with a damp soft cloth. Remove any leftover residue by buffing the appliance with another dry cloth.

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A Microfiber Cloth

If you don’t mind employing a little bit of elbow grease, another simple method to clean stainless steel is to dampen a soft microfiber cloth with water. Following the grain of the stainless steel, use the damp cloth to gently wipe any dirt or grime off of the appliance. Like with vinegar, this method won’t leave a flawless, streak-free finish on its own, but you can achieve that by following the cleaning up with a second microfiber cloth that’s dampened with a few drops of oil to buff out any streaks or fingerprints.

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No matter how you decide to clean your stainless steel appliances, make sure to avoid using an abrasive texture, like a sponge, to buff or dry it since this could ruin the shiny finish. Instead, opt for a microfiber towel or even a soft paper towel. Likewise, don’t try to clean stainless steel with a caustic solution like bleach, as this also has the potential to stain or damage stainless steel.

For more ideas on how to clean stainless steel appliances around your home, check out these tips.