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How to Clean Stainless Steel

How to Clean Stainless Steel

You just installed your new stainless-steel appliances. They are sleek, modern, and you can’t stop looking at them. Fast-forward a few days and you already see fingerprints, smudges, and streaks all over your steel. How do you get rid of those pesky spots and keep your stainless steel looking as good as new?

Various stainless-steel appliances like refrigerators, ovens, and dish washers.

How To Clean Stainless Steel

Use a soft cloth or rag soaked in warm water and dish detergent to wipe the surface. Dry with a towel immediately to avoid water spots. It’s important to use soft materials and mild detergents so you don’t risk taking off the finish. When your stainless steel has residues and grime that cannot be removed easily, there are other options and tools to use mentioned below. 

Best Stainless-Steel Cleaners

Though you can always go simple with your cleaner and use dish soap and water, there are stronger and more efficient cleaners you can purchase to clean your stainless steel. Based on an article from Business Outsider here are a few specific cleaners:

Does Vinegar Damage Stainless Steel?

Vinegar won’t damage stainless steel unless it is left soaking on the stainless steel. Using vinegar to clean can be quick, easy, and cheap but just make sure to remove it quickly and completely after cleaning to avoid long-term damage to your stainless steel. When you use vinegar on your stainless steel, make sure to wipe it off with a soft cloth or paper towel and gently wipe in the direction of the grain.

Can You Use Windex on Stainless Steel?

Windex and other glass cleaners are fine to use on stainless steel. Glass cleaners are great for removing fingerprints and smudges. Make sure to use a soft cloth or paper towel when you are wiping off the glass cleaner. 

Can Toothpaste Clean Stainless Steel?

Toothpaste probably isn’t your best choice when looking for ways to clean your stainless steel, but it can do wonders when trying to remove scratches. If at first you cannot remove a scratch using non-abrasive cleaner, toothpaste is your next best option.

Using ordinary whitening toothpaste, apply the paste to a toothbrush and brush in the direction of the grain. Wipe off the toothpaste with a wet cloth to check if it’s working, reapply paste and continue brushing if the scratch remains.

Once you’ve successfully removed the scratch, clean the area and apply stainless steel polish or olive oil.

Stainless-steel refrigerator

What You Shouldn’t Use on Your Stainless Steel

It’s good to know what to use when cleaning your stainless steel but it’s equally as important to know what not to use. Below are things to avoid when trying to make your stainless steel look good as new:

  • Steel wool or brushes
  • Abrasive cleaners
  • Bleach or chlorine
  • Extremely hard water        

Removing Stains

Despite its name, stainless steel does sometimes get stained. If you are trying to remove those stains, mix dish soap and baking soda into a paste. Use a toothbrush to gently scrub the stain along the grain. If your stain still won’t come off, dip your brush into vinegar and wipe it away with a cloth after scrubbing. 

How to Make Your Steel Streak-Free

How to make stainless steel shine

Dish soap and water work well to remove streaks from your stainless-steel appliances. Make sure to use a soft cloth and wipe in long sweeping motions, making sure not to miss any spots. Rinse your cloth and wipe one more time before using a completely dry cloth to buff the surface. The buffing step will help your stainless steel to shine.

Many of the above combinations and cleaners can help make your stainless steel look as shiny as it did when you bought it. It’s important to always rub in the direction of the grain and use clean, soft cloths.

Cleaning Your Stainless Steel Sink

Sinks get dirty every day as we fill them with our food-filled dishes and half-eaten meals. When trying to clean your sink and make it shine, first remove all food, grime, or dirt. After your sink is completely dry, gently scrub with baking soda and water.

If you want to remove hard water stains, rinse the paste with vinegar. After your sink is completely dry, cover with flour and buff your sink with a soft cloth – this will make your sink shine like it did when your first got it.

Clean and shiny stainless-steel sink

Home Remedies for Cleaning Stainless Steel

Many people are always looking for ways to save with homemade cleaning solutions. Here are a few home remedies for cleaning your stainless steel:

  • Dish soap and baby/mineral oil
  • White vinegar and olive oil
  • WD-40
  • Lemon Oil Furniture Polish
  • Club soda
  • Glass cleaners

All of these home remedies and cleaners should be used with a soft cloth and follow any above directions. Don’t leave any cleaners or cleaning solutions on your stainless steel for very long and be thorough in drying your cookware and appliances.

Each method and cleaning option applies to any and all of your stainless steel, whether it’s a pot or pan or your refrigerator. Be consistent in cleaning your stainless steel and always make sure you are gentle and avoiding the things that will damage your steel. It’s easy and realistic to have your stainless steel always looking as if you bought it yesterday.


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