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How To Clean Stainless Steel

Posted by Patricia Spencer on
How To Clean Stainless Steel

Cleaning Stainless Steel, Naturally

Whether it’s a stainless steel refrigerator, dishwasher, or sink, you may have some fingerprints, smudges, streaks, stains, or general dinginess that you’re wanting to get rid of on your stainless steel appliances. Cleaning stainless steel is easy! In fact, it only takes a handful of supplies and a couple of minutes.

Why does stainless steel need to be cleaned regularly?

The surface looks so smooth and sleek, so why does stainless steel get so dirty so fast? The fingerprints, the streaks, the residue from who-knows-what? There are many reasons why you should make a habit of cleaning stainless steel surfaces in your home.

When stainless steel is being made, an alloy of iron and chromium combine with the oxygen in the air to create the coating that makes stainless steel so amazing. Without regular cleaning (and the right kind of cleaning!), that coating can be corroded and damaged by hard water, food residue, and dirt that is allowed to stay on its surface for too long. The stainless steel will then not only “stain,” but possibly rust. Make sure to never use anything abrasive, like steel wool, to clean stainless steel.

1-2 microfiber cloths

White vinegar

Spray bottle

Olive oil

Empty the sink of any dishes and remove any objects attached to the outside of the refrigerator or dishwasher.

  1. Pour or spray straight white vinegar onto a microfiber cloth and rub the surface of the sink, refrigerator, or dishwasher in circular motions to be sure you get all the nooks, crannies, stains, and smudges.
  2. If there are any streaks left behind, you can take the same (or a different) microfiber cloth, pour a bit of olive oil on it, and do the same circular motions over the stainless steel surface. This will help prevent future streaks, smudges, and fingerprints, too.

Cleaning stainless steel is a pretty straightforward task, and it never requires any kind of harsh chemicals. You likely have everything you need to clean it in your home right this minute, except perhaps the microfiber cloths. If you don’t have those, you can use paper towels in a pinch, but we recommend the microfiber clothes! This is because they won’t leave the dust particles of lint the way paper towels can. Microfiber cloths are naturally better at removing more bacteria, germs, and dirt than your typical paper towel or cotton cloth, too.

Clean Mama has a few extra tips, like using club soda, for cleaning stainless steel.

You can use a non-toxic All Purpose Cleaner to clean a stainless steel dishwasher, a stainless steel refrigerator, a stainless steel sink—anything with that gorgeous stainless steel luster.

Quick and Dirty Tips shared a video showing how to clean stainless steel. It suggests using baking soda and vinegar to get the sink sparkling, and advises against using anything too abrasive on your stainless surfaces, no matter how tempting it may be.

Don’t leave food sitting in the sink. If you have salty, acidic, or dairy leftovers, be sure to rinse the dishes well and then rinse the sink out rather than just stacking the dishes in the stainless steel sink. These types of foods and drinks can eat away at the coating.

It may not be your favorite thing to do in the kitchen (that’s eating, right?), but cleaning stainless steel sinks, dishwashers, and refrigerators will ensure the protection of that special coating. Will this coating intact your stainless steel appliances can continue to shine. Just set a reminder in your phone or write one in your daily planner to wipe down the surfaces every few days if you tend to forget.



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