November 9, 2020
How to Clean Stainless Steel Appliances
Every time I post a picture of one of our stainless steel appliances, I am asked how I get my stainless steel to look so shiny. How do I keep those pretty appliances looking new and not smudgy and full of fingerprints? If your house is anything like mine, they are covered in the latter more than they have that sleek showroom look. I’ve tested and tried numerous stainless steel cleaning methods and cleaners and have come to the conclusion that not all stainless steel cleaners are created equal AND not every brand works on every stainless steel appliance. Different appliance brands use different grades of stainless steel and they react differently with various cleaners. I can attest to this in my home because different products work on each stainless appliance. This is why I set out to find something that worked on all of my appliances.
What’s the best way to clean stainless steel appliances?
- The first thing you need is a SOFT cloth to apply your preferred cleaner to the appliance. My preference is a microfiber cloth – I use the Microfiber Cleaning Cloths in my shop.
- I have found that applying the cleaning solution TO THE CLOTH is the best way to get rid of streaks, smudges, and fingerprints.
- When applying cleaner you need to wipe your cloth in the DIRECTION OF THE GRAIN of the stainless steel. Dirt can get trapped in the grain of the stainless steel. This method not only cleans better, but your stainless steel will appear much cleaner this way.
- Quickly buff after wiping in the direction of the grain. It might be helpful to have a dry cloth handy to buff as you go and work in sections from top to bottom and left to right if your stainless steel is especially dirty.
My 3 Favorite Methods for Cleaning and Polishing Stainless Steel:
Through my research, testing, and trial and error, here are my top 3 favorite ways to clean stainless steel appliances – every single method uses a microfiber cloth for the application. If you aren’t sure if these methods will work, spot test them in an inconspicuous spot like the inside of a door.
water (applied to the cloth) + Microfiber Cleaning Cloth – use filtered water so you aren’t creating any water spots in your application. This application won’t work on every type of stainless, but it’s worth a try to see if it works! You can find the glass spray bottle pictured in my shop here.
white vinegar (applied to the cloth) + Microfiber Cleaning Cloth. If you’re wondering if this will rust your appliances, I have not seen any evidence of this, but of course if you aren’t comfortable with it, try another method.
Multi-Surface Cleaning Concentrate (applied to the cloth) + Microfiber polishing cloth – I love this spray for cleaning just about any surface. If you want to try a spray cleaner that isn’t a DIY, you’ll love it! It smells amazing!
Other methods to try:
- club soda – spray on microfiber cloth and wipe in the direction of the grain
- olive oil – apply to a dry cloth and buff in the direction of the grain – this is more for polishing after cleaning
I have found that using your glass cleaner recipe on my appliances makes them sparkle. So, a combination of what you listed here. I love it!
Margaret Dovigo Says
Thank you for this great tip!
I have a challenging question. How do you clean the inside of the oven window?? I REALLY need help with that!
Clean Mama SaysPost author
I recommend a professional for that – they’ll need to dissassemble the door and then you can clean it.
Mary Lyn Clements Says
Sprayway Stainless Steel cleaner is the ONLY cleaner I have found that cleans my fridge and leaves no streaks.
I’ve been using a natural cutting board oil (citrus scent) applied with blue shop towels to clean my appliances. Works like a charm!
loved the white vinegar. I’ve been trying for a year. finally looks good…and used a glass cloth from norwex.
Thanks for the tips! Question about your all purpose spray, it says not to use on unsealed stone, but what about sealed granite? I thought acids were bad even for sealed granite (like Citric acid). I’m new to having granite countertops and am concerned about harming them. Also, I thought the other commenter meant cleaning the glass on the inside of the oven door, rather than actually between the glass?
Clean Mama SaysPost author
This is my Stone Cleaning Spray recipe I recommend for granite/marble/quartz:
This is the all-purpose spray I reference in this post and it’s also safe for stone:
I have read, and performed myself once, that using coconut oil on stainless steel is a great cleaner/polisher. We sold our house shortly after the cleaning that I did so I never was able to determine if this made it harder in the future, trapped grime for later, etc.
Any experience with this method?