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How to clean Stainless Steel

Here is a quick guide for how to clean stainless steel appliances and cookware. Find out what the best cleanser for stainless products is and how to keep your stainless steel shiny using natural products!

white kitchen with a corner sink and stainless appliances

For years, I’ve had stainless appliances and tons of toddler fingerprints smears on the front of them.

If can be very frustrating to invest money in appliances only to have them look dirty constantly.

After years of battling streaks and smear marks on my stainless steel, I have found how to clean them without the fuss.

The best way to keep your stainless steel sparkling is to wipe them down with the appropriate cleaning solution on a daily basis.

Then, follow up with a deeper scrub once a week.

I will share the entire process below. This may be different for you depending upon how active your kitchen is.

For me, I am a from scratch cook, so it requires a bit more upkeep.

woman cooking bagels in a stainless steel pot

Steps for Cleaning Stainless Steel

Cleaning stainless steel is really quite simple.

This is my magic formula for a deeper cleaned, buffed stainless surface.

I do this process once a week, but there are times when my stainless still looks gleaming and I can stretch it to every two weeks.

  1. Pour a tablespoon or two of a gentle cleanser onto a kitchen sponge.
  2. In a circular motion, buff the surface of your appliances or cookware.
  3. Continue to scrub and buff until the stainless surface is completely clean of gunk and splatter.
  4. Rinse your sponge thoroughly and squeeze out the excess water.
  5. With the damp sponge, wipe the cleanser off of your stainless steel.
  6. Get your soft cloth damp, or a soft paper towel, and wipe away any remaining residue.
  7. Rinse your cloth and wipe the surface again, being certain to wipe with the grain of the metal, and polish the stainless steel.
  8. Repeat step 7, if necessary.
white quartz counters with green plants and cleaning products

What you need to clean stainless steel appliances

  • Kitchen Sponge
  • Soft, microfiber cloth
  • Gentle cleanser for stainless steel, such as Bar Keepers Friend
spray bottle with a rag and bar keepers friend

What is the best stuff to use to clean stainless steel

Cleaning your stainless steel appliances and pans with the right products is important because you don’t want to tarnish or scratch your stainless steel.

Once you scratch it, there’s no getting the scratches out, so be careful with your stainless.

One of my favorite cleaning products for surfaces in my kitchen is Bar Keepers Friend.

It is gentle and effective, which is why I use it to clean my quartz countertops, too.

Bar Keeper Friend will allow you to buff off grime without scratching and damaging your stainless steel.

It is so good at cleaning that it can even remove surface rust stains on your appliances and pans.

I have never used this product, but I have friends who rave about the Weiman wipes for daily cleaning of their stainless.

white kitchen with stainless appliances and vertical shiplap

How do you clean stainless steel without damaging it

The best way to not damage your stainless steel is to use products that are rated for stainless.

Be gentle when you buff and clean your appliances and make sure you wipe clean any remaining residue on the surface.

When you buff your stainless steel, be sure to look for the grain of the metal and wipe with the grain.

What should you not use on stainless steel

Do not use anything that could scratch and create permanent marks on your stainless steel.

All of these products below can damage the texture of your stainless and remove the glossy finish, so avoid them.

  • Harsh abrasive cleaners
  • Scouring pads
  • Bleach products, chlorine based cleaners, or chloride products
  • Ammonia products
  • Hard water
  • Steel wool
  • Oven cleaners
spray bottle and rag on a white counter top

How do you keep stainless steel clean and shiny

The best way to keep your stainless steel clean and shiny is by cleaning it with a microfiber rag daily.

Keep this process simple. It shouldn’t take more than 5 minutes to quickly wipe your stainless surfaces.

I like to spray my Thieves Household concentrate solution on my stainless and wipe it clean at the end of the day so it gleams and shines.

Be sure to wipe your stainless with the grain. If you look closely, you can see that there are grain lines on your appliances and pans.

It is best practice to clean with the grain, which will help prevent streaking.

If you don’t have Thieves cleaner, a simple 1:1 solution of vinegar and water should do the trick!

stainless steel pot on a stove in a white kitchen

How often should you clean your stainless steel appliances

To keep your appliances clean, wipe them down daily with a soft, damp cloth.

Once a week, use a gentle cleanser and a microfiber cloth to get all of the weekly grime and splatter off of your stainless steel.

For pots and pans, clean them with a gentle cleanser, such as Bar Keepers Friend, when you notice that they won’t come clean after cooking with them.

white kitchen with vertical shiplap

How to clean stainless steel naturally

Clean Stainless Steel appliances with baking soda

Cleaning your stainless with baking soda is an easy and natural way to get them sparkly.

Make a paste with a few tablespoons of baking soda and water in a small bowl.

With a soft cloth, dip your cloth into the paste and gently buff your stainless clean.

You will need to thoroughly wipe your appliances as some residue can remain and cause build up, so wipe it well once you are finished buffing.

Clean Stainless Steel appliances with vinegar

Vinegar is not only good for making things gleam and shine, but it offers disinfecting benefits, too.

This is one reason people have loved using vinegar in their homemaking laundry routines for centuries.

Add vinegar to a spray bottle and spray onto your stainless appliances.

Wipe clean with a soft rag until shiny and smooth.

If you don’t love the smell of vinegar, consider making an infused cleaning vinegar that will clean and smell fresh!

Cleaning Stainless Steel with Vinegar and Olive Oil

This method cleans your appliance and then adds a shine to it.

Clean your appliance with distilled white vinegar, wiping with the grain.

Add a drop of olive oil to your rag and wipe with the grain to give a shiny finish.

spray bottle and green microfiber cloth on a white quartz counter

Best cloth for cleaning stainless steel

As you’ve read, the best cloth for cleaning your pots and appliances is a soft cloth, such as microfiber.

In years past, these cloths weren’t readily available, but over the last decade they have grown in popularity.

The best part about microfiber is that it won’t scratch or leave lint behind when you clean with it.

It also has the ability to shine certain surfaces and prevent the streaking that you get with other fabrics.

How to prevent fingerprints on stainless appliances

While you cannot completely prevent finger marks on your stainless surfaces, you can certainly help them from becoming permanent.

The easiest way to keep your stainless fingerprint-free is by wiping them down daily.

This also helps with those pesky water drips that can leave a stain on your appliances if they aren’t wiped up quickly.

While stainless is beautiful, it does take some tending to, so make a habit of cleaning them daily.

For hard to remove fingerprints, try adding a drop of olive oil to your damp rag and buff out the fingerprints that way.

Wipe the surface clean to remove the olive oil.

spray bottle on wooden table with pink rag

FREE Simple Cleaning Guide

If you are looking for some quick and easy tips to make your cleaning routine streamlined, grab my FREE cleaning guide.

I share tips and tricks for managing your home without being overwhelmed.

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One Comment

  1. I cleaned my stainless steel appliances today using your method with Bar Keeper’s Friend and they look so good!! Made my kitchen feel so clean :). Thank you for the tip!

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