How to Clean and Shine Stainless Steel

How to Clean and Shine Stainless Steel

When I was a girl, the kitchen appliances in our home and the homes of our friends were avocado green or harvest gold.

Only restaurant owners had to worry about cleaning stainless steel appliances.

Walk into any new or renovated home kitchen today, however, and you’re likely to find that not only the appliances are made of stainless steel, but also most of kitchen accoutrement.

While new stainless steel looks clean and sleek and shiny, it does tend to act as a dirty fingerprint magnet. If you’re new to the cleaning stainless steel class, welcome.

Cleaning the Refrigerator and Small Appliances:

The best way to remove surface dirt and grime is to wipe the appliance down with hot water using a clean, lint-free cloth. Wipe with the grain first, then against the grain.

While it’s unlikely that you’ll scratch the surface by wiping against the grain, don’t use too much pressure and don’t use anything other than a soft cloth. Never use paper towels, a sponge or anything with a scratchy surface.

Cleaning Stainless Steel Stove Tops:

Use the hot water and clean, lint-free cloth method as described above. Stainless steel stoves, however, will usually have more grease.

If the hot water does not remove the grease, or if it leaves streaks, add several drops of a mild detergent to a bucket of water. It’s best to add the detergent to the water and mix it, rather than putting a few drops of detergent on the cloth and then wetting it.

You want the detergent to disperse evenly so it cuts the grease, but you don’t want it to “stick” to the stainless steel.

Burned On Food

Baked-on, burnt food is difficult to remove from any stove. But cleaning an icky mess off of a stainless steel stove requires extra care:

  1. Remove as much of the food as possible before it hardens
  2. Start with hot water and a lint-free cloth
  3. If the food doesn’t come off easily, pour a little hot water on it to loosen it
  4. If it still won’t come off, make a paste of hot water and baking soda
  5. Caution – Baking soda is abrasive. Test your mixture on a small, hidden area of the stove before using it on a visible area
  6. Place the paste on the spill and wipe gently, making sure to wipe with the grain

Cleaning Stainless Steel Sinks

Here are some tips to help you to clean stainless steel sinks.

  • To clean the sink, use baking soda and water to scrub down the area. This will help to remove any debris that is stuck on and will help to remove odors as well.
  • You can also use a bit of bleach on the stainless steel. To do this, fill the sink with hot water and add a bit of bleach. Allow to set for about 10 minutes. Then, drain and scrub down. Rinse thoroughly.
  • Use a non abrasive brush to scrub all edges and angles to give a complete clean to the area.
  • Use vinegar to help shine the sink.

Keeping Stainless Steel Clean:

You can use the methods below to help you clean your stainless steel.

  • Wash the stainless flatware as you would any other dish product. Most products can be placed in a dishwasher as well. For fine silver, make sure you check the manufacturer’s suggested cleaning instructions before washing the flatware in the dishwasher.
  • Use a mild dish detergent to help you clean them. Make sure to rinse them off before you place them in the dishwasher.
  • Do not allow dry dishwasher detergent onto the flatware that is wet. This can cause dark spots to appear on it.
  • Keep pans and utensils from burning as this will permanently mark most of them. If this happens, they will not distribute the heat evenly any more.
  • You can wash most stainless steel products by hand or in the dishwasher. You’ll want to make sure you rinse off all debris from the utensils if you are placing them in the dishwasher as well as making sure that this is approved by the the manufacturer.
  • Try not to use abrasive cleaning products on utensils to clean these stainless steel products. They can cause scratching and wear in the products.
  • Using baking soda to help you remove the foods that are stuck on is a good method.
  • You can purchase and use commercial stainless steel cleaners if you like. Make sure to follow the directions provided with them closely. Keep in mind that these will likely need to be rinsed off before you eat with these utensils.

Shining Stainless Steel:

After cleaning stainless steel as above, wipe down the appliance with a new clean, lint-free cloth. (You can pick up a bundle of cloths at just about any discount or kitchen supply store.

Wash and dry them as you would other cloths, but do not use a dryer sheet.)

This will remove any residual streaking. In no time, your stainless steel will be ready for the next greasy hand print or burnt-on dinner mess.