Stainless steel appliances have been a popular choice amongst homeowners and restaurant owners alike. After its invention, it was mainly used to make surgical tools and cutlery but come the 1930s, it started being introduced to kitchens and people never looked back.
Many appliance companies make a wide variety of stainless steel appliances such as:
Washers and dryers
Pots and pans
But why exactly is stainless steel so popular and is cleaning stainless steel appliances easy?
Why Stainless Steel Is So Popular
The most modern appliances you can add to your upgraded and newly renovated kitchen are stainless steel appliances. It seems that’s what people mainly go for nowadays, but why?
To start, stainless steel is a very non-corrosive material, meaning it can stand a temperature of up to 1200ºC (or 2192ºF). This also means it’s easy to weld with and form into the next best tool or appliance. Stainless steel is a very durable material too and can withstand a lot of abuse. It’s ultimately stain-resistant and battles against bacteria, so it’s easy to see why restaurants love it so much. But not only that, it makes a kitchen look sleek, modern, elegant, and finished.
The downside? You’ll likely notice fingerprint smudges all over the stainless steel appliances and find yourself cleaning your appliances more often than not. Luckily, they’re easy to clean off so you can restore the appliance to its former shiny glory, and here’s how.
How To Clean Stainless Steel Appliances
When your countertop is dirty, you likely just provide a quick wipe over the surface with a soft cloth and move onto the next chore. Stainless steel appliances, however, require a bit more than that, but it’s still an easy cleaning routine, trust us. And there’s quite a few different methods and products you can try if you find one doesn’t work as efficiently.
What you’ll need for the basic cleaning method is:
- A soft cloth
- A sponge
- Dish detergent
Create a mix of warm water and dish soap. It should be a fairly mild soap and not super fragranced.
Dip the sponge in the mixture and use it to wipe the surface. You don’t need to scrub really hard if there are still fingerprints and stains left over. We’ll get to that shortly!
Dry the surface with a soft cloth, like a microfiber cloth. Microfiber cloths are super absorbent and can be used on practically any surface. They also pick up more bacteria than typical cleaning cloths or rags.
And that’s it! Really! However, if you still notice hard-to-remove stains or fingerprints, here’s what you can do below to clean stainless steel appliances even more.
What you’ll need to completely remove fingerprints or stains is:
- A soft cloth (again, a microfiber cloth may work best)
- Another soft cloth for drying
- Dish detergent
- Glass cleaner or stainless steel cleaner
- Baking soda
Create a mixture of warm water and mild dish soap and dampen the soft cloth.
After giving the surfaces a quick wipe, spray the cloth with a glass cleaner or stainless steel cleaner and go over the spots where fingerprints or stains are being stubborn again.
If stains or food splatters still aren’t coming off with the soft cloth, put some baking soda on the damp cloth and gently rub the area.
Rinse again and dry the surfaces with a dry cloth to avoid watermarks.
Baking soda is one of the best ingredients to always have in your home for cleaning purposes. It’s eco-friendly, non-toxic, and works great on surfaces like stainless steel, no matter how tough the grime is. Same with white vinegar.
If you don’t have glass cleaner or a stainless steel cleaner as mentioned above, you can dab some white vinegar on the microfiber cloth and then wipe the surface, or even put it in a spray bottle. Never leave the appliance to soak in the vinegar solution or baking soda solution though. This can cause rusting over time. It’s best to use it to clean stainless steel and wipe off immediately afterwards.
For the best results, try cleaning in the direction of the grain. Yes, stainless steel has a grain, just like wood! Try to wipe in the direction it appears to be going to get in all the nooks and crannies.
Clean Your Stainless Steel Appliances With These Products
You don’t have to just purchase a stainless steel cleaner. There are many other things you can use to clean your stainless steel appliances that may be casually lying around the house.
1. Baby Oil
Yes, you read that right. Baby oil can actually be used to clean a number of things, not just babies! Baby oil can be used to disinfect surfaces and remove stains. Put some drops on a damp microfiber cloth and wipe the surface. It will work more efficiently if you move in the direction of the grain.
Dry the area with a clean towel and repeat the process if they’re still not coming out. If stains ended up on your hands, baby oil can help that too, all while keeping your skin nice and soft and helping to maintain your manicure!
2. Club Soda
Again, yes, you read that right. Club soda can act as an all-natural cleaner too and works especially well to clean stainless steel appliances. You can pour the soda directly on the surface or onto a cloth with a mixture of warm water and start the wipe-down.
Wipe it dry afterwards and you should notice your stainless steel appliance sparkling better than ever before. If you’re in a deep cleaning mode, you can also use club soda to remove carpet stains, wipe down porcelain, and even clean your car!
3. Glass Cleaner
Glass cleaner, such as Windex, can help clean stainless steel appliances too. It’s not just your windows that will be thanking you. Simply spray some into a soft cloth and begin wiping the surface. Dry it with another towel after.
4. Olive Oil
Olive oil can be used the same way as baby oil, but it can also give the stainless steel appliance a fresh new shine. Remember to wipe in the direction of the grain for the best results with a soft material, like a microfiber cloth. It’s best not to put the oil right on the surface and start wiping as this can leave quite an oily situation. Always dab it on the cloth first.
Mistakes To Avoid With Stainless Steel
If you’ve recently renovated your kitchen and were wondering how to clean stainless steel without leaving streaks on all your new appliances, follow the directions above.
If you want to avoid causing damage to your new stainless steel appliances, you’ll want to avoid these common mistakes that people make.
Steel wool or brushes have created quite a conundrum in the food industry world. Unlike microfiber cloths, they can leave particles behind that even end up in your food. They can also scratch the surface and leave marks where bacteria and stains can get into more easily, making it harder to clean in the direction of the grain. It can make the appliance more susceptible to rusting too.
Scrubbing Against The Grain
We’ve said it a few times before, and we’ll say it once more, wiping in the direction of the grain is important. If you scrub against it, it can harm the grain and make the surface more susceptible to scratches which also means bacteria can build up more easily in the scratches.
Don’t Use Bleach On Stainless Steel. Ever.
You want to get rid of stains, not create them! Bleach will damage and stain your stainless steel. This is why it’s important to ensure that when you’re purchasing a stainless steel cleaner, it does not contain any traces of bleach or chlorine.
Stainless steel may be labelled as non-corrosive, but that doesn’t mean it won’t react poorly with bleach. If bleach does end up causing a rust stain, you can try and remove it with baking soda and a scrubbing brush (soft-bristled). This is when it’s acceptable to leave the baking soda on the surface for approximately an hour before scrubbing with the brush, rinsing and drying.
More often than not, people wipe their stainless steel surfaces and assume the dry markings left behind are from a poor cleaner. This isn’t always the case. Whenever you’ve finished wiping a stainless steel surface with a damp cloth, it’s always recommended you use a dry cloth afterwards, like a microfiber cloth.
They’re super absorbent and will pick up any leftover droplets and make the appliance shine brighter than ever before. Cleaning against the grain can also cause the surface to look a little weird too. By cleaning in the same direction, you’ll increase your chances of picking up all the water and smudges.
Is Stainless Steel Hard To Maintain?
No, even though there are specific cleaning rules in maintaining the function and shine, it’s a very durable and easy material to look after no matter if it’s a stainless steel sink, fridge, stove, or countertops. In fact, many homeowners are opting for stainless steel countertops because of the affordability and aesthetically pleasing, shiny appearance.
Sure, marble countertops may be your top choice, but they’re very expensive and much harder to look after. And, one of the reasons chefs love it most in kitchens? You don’t need to worry about throwing down trivets or a tea towel before placing a hot pot or hot tray from the oven down. Here are the top stainless steel cleaners you can purchase to keep your counters and appliances looking good as new.
3M Stainless Steel Polish & Cleaner
This is, perhaps, the most commonly purchased steel cleaner, especially amongst restaurant owners. All that’s required is just the smallest amount of spray, so it will likely last you a while. It’s also great for aluminum and chrome surfaces.
Howard Natural Stainless Steel Cleaner
If you want an all-natural cleaning solution, you should opt for this one. It’s completely plant-based and even has essential oils to mask the weird stainless steel cleaner scent. Who doesn’t want to smell coconut oil while they clean?
Weiman Stainless Steel Cleaner & Polish
This is another popular house cleaning product you can find at any general or drug store near you. It helps to remove all streaks (watermarks, grease and fingerprints) and also leaves behind a protective finish to fight against grime longer, so you won’t have to clean it at often. Their granite and stone cleaner line is great too!
Cleaning Your Stainless Steel Appliances The Right Way
If you’re not comfortable cleaning your stainless steel appliances or countertops, have trouble understanding the direction of the grain, or just don’t have time to clean it, you can simply hire a cleaning service, such as Maid 4 Cleaning, who worries about all that stuff for you! We only use the highest quality of cleaning products on the market and get down on our hands and knees to get every last smudge off any of your surfaces.
We’re passionate about cleaning and keeping your appliances bacteria-free, whether they’re in your bathroom, laundry room, kitchen or restaurant. If you’d like to speak to us about our cleaning services, request a free quote today for your residential or commercial property. We’d be happy to be your stainless steel cleaning experts!