Stainless steel appliances are popular in modern kitchen decor for a number of reasons. The main reason, however, may be the practicality that comes with the material. Stainless steel — after all — resists rusting and retains its brilliancy over time. It offers a perfect sheen for designers and a practical, durable piece that will last for homeowners. Learn how to clean stainless steel the right way below.
But with all of the pros that stainless offers, it does have one con. The one downfall to stainless steel is that, while it resists rust and odors, it can look grungy quickly if you touch it often enough.
What can you do to avoid grunginess from overtaking your stainless steel? Well, you could always just wear white gloves whenever you’re in the kitchen — but that may not be very practical. Fortunately, there are are a few simple, key items you can keep on-hand to help maintain that brilliancy stainless is known for.
Always Keep These Items on Hand
The list of tools needed to make your stainless steel appliances and fixtures shine is really quite minimal. What matters most is that you choose materials and cleaners that are non-abrasive and won’t scratch the surface. This means shying away from items like steel wool scrubbers. They can get the job done quickly, but they damage the stainless steel with deep scratches. Because scourers can scratch your stainless steel, opt for soft, microfiber towels instead.
Here’s a list of the tools and cleaners you should have on hand for cleaning your appliances:
- Warm water
- Dawn dish soap or Bar Keeper’s Friend
- Olive or lemon oil
- Microfiber towel
- Nylon scrubber
- Paper towel
Keep these items in your cupboard, and you’ll never be without the right tools for making your stainless steel shine like new.
Different Techniques With One Common Procedure
There are many different techniques out there for getting the grit out of your stainless steel appliances, but for all of the techniques, there’s one part of the process that is the same: When cleaning your stainless steel, you should always pay attention to the grain.
Just like wood, stainless steel has a grain. If you look closely, you should be able to see small stripes or streaks within the material.
Once you’ve found the grain, which could vary in different areas of the appliance, you should always scrub and wipe with the grain. By doing this, you’ll ensure the cleaner adheres to the surface properly, and you’ll be able to clean and shine the stainless steel to its maximum brilliancy.
For a Quick Clean
There are varying degrees of cleaning when it comes to your appliances. In some circumstances — like when the in-laws are coming over for dinner — all you may need is a quick clean to remove the grease and dirt that comes with everyday wear. For a quick and easy clean, use the following:
- Dawn dish soap
- Warm water
- Microfiber towel
- Paper towel (optional)
Step 1: Put a drop of dish soap onto your clean and dry microfiber towel.
Step 2: Run the dish soap spot on your microfiber towel under the faucet and rub the towel together until it is slightly sudsy, keeping half the towel dry.
Step 3: Rub the soap spot of the towel along the grain of the appliance. The dish soap should easily combat the grease and oils from everyday cooking and hands.
Step 4: Wipe the surface down with warm water.
Step 5: Wipe dry with the microfiber towel or a paper towel.
For Tough Messes
Even the cleanest cook can leave a mess in the kitchen. For those out there who are notorious for having pans with stuck-on food or who’ve mastered how to splatter soups and sauces, a little more cleaning may be required. The only real difference between this and the quick clean is that a little assistance from a scrubber and a tougher cleaning solution may be necessary.
For tough messes, try the quick clean method, but add in these additional products:
- Bar Keeper’s Friend
- Nylon Scrubber
- Paper Towel
Step 1: Put a drop of soap onto your clean nylon scrubber.
Step 2: Run the scrubber through a little hot water until it is slightly sudsy.
Step 3: Scrub the spot until the food and grease particles come off. Be sure to go with the grain of the steel.
Step 4: If stubborn areas still aren’t getting resolved, rinse the area and scrubber, and try Bar Keeper’s Friend. Sprinkle over the surface and scrub until particles are removed.
Step 5: Rinse and wipe the area down with paper towels.
Step 6: Use the Quick Clean method described above to finish up your cleaning.
How To Make Stainless Steel Shine
It’s often not enough just to clean the surface. You really want to make your stainless steel appliances shine, and the best way to do that is with a little oil. Here’s what you need to enhance the sheen of your stainless steel:
- Olive or Lemon Oil
- Microfiber Towel
Step 1: Put a drop of lemon or olive oil (go light with this) onto your clean and dry microfiber cloth.
Step 2: Rub the cloth against the steel, being careful to go with the grain of the appliance.
Step 3: Buff the stainless steel dry with the remaining part of the towel.
Stainless steel appliances are a really beautiful — and durable — addition to any home décor and kitchen. The one trick of making sure that sheen lasts forever, though, is through care and maintenance. Follow these easy steps to carefully clean your stainless steel without scratching the surface.
By: Megan Wild
About the Author: Megan Wild is a home improvement specialist who likes cleaning her home and making cleaning as painless as possible. You can check out more of her tips on her blog, Your Wild Home.