Home » Blog » How To Clean Stainless Steel DIY Style (Using Everyday Home Products)

By: Rain City Maids
Aug 19, 2021

Stainless steel appliances can give your kitchen a sleek and sophisticated look… but only if it's clean!

From all the benefits of stainless steel, self-cleaning isn't one! On the contrary, stainless steel will collect fingerprints and watermarks more quickly than most materials!

Keep your fridge, microwave, and dishwasher shining longer! Here you'll learn how to clean your stainless steel appliances using only products you already have at home!

Before starting: what you should know about stainless steel

Cleaning stainless steel is simple, but you need to know some details beforehand to ensure you won't accidentally damage your appliances. Stainless steel is the top choice for kitchen appliances, cookware, and fixtures, and the reasons are well known

Here is a brief recap: 

  • Stainless steel resists corrosion, rusting, and heat.
  • It's strong, durable, and versatile.
  • It has a sleek and modern look!

However, you are likely in this blog post for two reasons: stainless steel gets dirty quickly, and, although it is difficult, you can damage it without proper care.

To avoid any mishappening, these are the things you should do before bringing the cleaning supplies:

Read the appliance's manual

Not every stainless steel kitchen appliance is exactly the same—for example, some are exposed to high temperatures. The only way to know what you should or shouldn't do while cleaning an appliance is by reading the manufacturer guidelines!

Spot-test before using a new product

Stainless steel is highly resistant to corrosion, heat, and other forms of damage. However, some harsh chemicals can damage it! Before using a new product, spot-test in a small and hidden area to see how it reacts. 

Leave the product sitting for several minutes, and only continue if you don't notice any stains or discoloration!

Before you keep reading: Are you cleaning your entire kitchen? You could use our step-by-step kitchen cleaning guide here. Or maybe you need a helping hand! Check out Rain City Maids' home cleaning services here

The best homemade remedy to clean stainless steel: vinegar and olive oil!

If you enter this blog post looking for a safe and effective way to clean a heavily stained appliance, look no further! You only need vinegar, olive oil, and several microfiber cloths to leave your stainless steel appliance shiny again!

Here are the steps: 

Step 1. Find the grain

This information comes as a surprise for many homeowners: just like wood, stainless steel does have a grain!

Although stainless steel may seem smooth at first sight, you can easily find the grain by looking carefully or running your fingertips through it!

For example, in the image below, the grain is diagonal!

Once you identify the direction of the grain in your appliance, you are ready to continue!

Step 2. Spray vinegar and wipe the surface

Vinegar is acidic and can help you remove the most greasy and stubborn stains from stainless steel. 

Mix half white vinegar and half warm water in a bottle and spray it throughout the entire surface. Then, wipe the stainless steel with a microfiber cloth, always following the direction of the grain.

Keep wiping the stainless steel and spray more vinegar if necessary. With enough patience and elbow grease, you can remove all the stubborn stains from the appliance.

Step 3. Wipe the stainless steel again with a damped cloth

Once the stainless steel surface looks clean, rinse it with a damped cloth. Vinegar's acidic nature works like a charm to remove water stains and greasy fingertips, but long-term exposure can also damage the stainless steel!

Step 4. Polish the surface with olive oil

If you like how your appliance looks after the previous steps, polishing is not necessary!

The main reason for buffing stainless steel with oil is to restore the original shine, and it also leaves a protective layer. It will also remove any remaining streak in the stainless steel.

However, it has a downside: olive oil will attract dust! So make sure your kitchen is dust-free before continuing.

Here is how you polish stainless steel with olive oil: 

  1. Take a clean microfiber cloth and put one or two small dots of olive oil in it. The amount depends on the size of the surface you want to polish.
  2. Coat and spread the olive oil throughout the appliance's surface.
  3. Buff the stainless steel with firm, circular motions. If there are still water stains or fingertips, remove them with elbow grease!
  4. Remove the excess oil with a clean and dry microfiber cloth; wipe the surface following the grain direction.

Daily maintenance: how to clean stainless steel appliances

Your stainless fridge or dishwasher only looks sleek when it is completely clean and shiny. In other words: you'll have to clean fingerprints and other stains as soon as they appear! 

Here are the best ways to clean your stainless steel appliances on a daily basis.

Method #1. A clean microfiber cloth

In most cases, wiping stainless steel appliances with a high-quality microfiber cloth is enough to remove common stains. Just remember to wipe it in the grain's direction to avoid streaks!

Method #2. Dish soap and warm water

If you are dealing with greasy stains and sticky food spills, warm soapy water can do the job! Wipe the appliance's surface with a soft cloth or sponge, always following the direction of the grain! 

Method #3. Rubbing alcohol

Some expert DIYers recommend spot-treating any hard-to-remove stain with rubbing alcohol. Take it as your last option, and try it diluted in water first! 

Can I use Windex on my stainless steel appliances?

You need to be careful when cleaning stainless steel with any commercial window cleaner that contains ammonia as the main ingredient. As vinegar, ammonia can stain or damage your stainless steel surfaces when exposed for long periods of time.

If you are going to use glass cleaners in your kitchen appliances, make sure to rinse well any chemical residue! 

What to avoid when cleaning stainless steel?

As mentioned before, stainless steel is made to resist corrosion and heat. However, some products or chemicals can damage your brand-new stainless steel appliance! 

Here are the things you should never do while cleaning stainless steel appliances:

  • Scrubbing with steel wool: Stainless steel is resistant, but you can still scratch it. Use only soft cloths or a sponge when cleaning it.
  • Using bleach or anything with chlorine: Household bleach is a powerful cleaner, but it can corrode your stainless steel appliances! Instead, use plain water, soapy water, or vinegar!
  • Leaving residue and moisture after cleaning: Vinegar and dish soap are safe to use, but even they can cause damage when exposed for enough time. Ensure your appliances are dry and residue-free after cleaning them!

Cleaning services in the East Seattle Area

Are you ready to leave your kitchen sparkling? We can clean it for you! Rain City Maids is a reliable and trustworthy cleaning company, proudly serving the East Seattle Area. 
You can get a free quote today! Visit our homepage and fill up the form to get instant pricing!

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