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Sure, stainless steel appliances look great, but are they always easy to maintain? With the right cleaning solutions, yes!
Stainless steel contains a passive layer of chromium oxide, a material that is known for its ‘regenerative’ qualities. In simple words, it means that this substance gives stainless steel the ability to resist corrosion and scratches. This is why stainless steel appliances can be very long-lasting under the right circumstances.
Since the substance is also fire and dust resistant, it is no surprise that most manufacturers (and homeowners) prefer using it for their kitchen appliances. All that being said, stainless steel is still susceptible to fingerprints, smudges, stains, and scratches. The good news is that these are relatively easy to clean – with the right tools at hand.
Over the course of this guide, we will tell you everything you need to know about the different types of stainless steel cleaning solutions.
So, without further ado, let’s get started.
Types Of Stainless Steel Cleaning Solutions
- Types Of Stainless Steel Cleaning Solutions
- Chemical-Based Stainless Steel Cleaners
- Eco-Friendly Stainless Steel Cleaner
- Stainless Steel Cleaner | Powder Form
- Homemade Stainless Steel Cleaning Solutions
- Stainless Steel Cleaning Applicators
At first glance, you will find several types of stainless steel cleaning solutions – chemical-based cleaners, home remedies, eco-friendly cleaners, tools, and appliances. The sheer volume of options can be overwhelming.
To make things easier for you, we have divided the various categories of products and listed a couple of our top recommendations. Depending on your cleaning needs, budget, and various other factors, you may choose whichever product is best suited for your needs.
Chemical-Based Stainless Steel Cleaners
Chemical-based stainless steel cleaners were immensely popular (up until just a few years ago) because of their effectiveness. However, as the world became increasingly environment-conscious, people started turning away from these products.
That being said, chemical-based formulas are tried and tested and will offer effective, quick results. So, if that’s what you are looking for, then here are some of the best chemical-based stainless steel cleaners you can consider.
This chemical-based stainless steel cleaner is practical, easy to use, and offers an extra layer of protection for all your stainless steel appliances. It comes in a convenient spray bottle and doesn’t require any additional products except a cloth.
Stainless steel appliances are fingerprint magnets, and if you regularly use your appliances, you will inevitably notice annoying fingerprint smudges on them. Fortunately, this spray-on formula is all it takes to remove them in one go.
The best part is, there is no residue or streaking on the surface of the appliance once you’re done. We recommend this product for quick, regular wiping down of any stainless steel appliance you have at home because of its ease of use and convenience.
Moreover, the pH neutral formula also offers a protective barrier on the surface. This barrier prevents fingerprint smudges, smears, streaks, and stains. Restore all your stainless steel appliances to their pristine and shiny look effortlessly with this cleaner.
Another excellent cleaning solution that you can consider is the 3M Stainless Steel Cleaner & Polish. We hold this product in high regard because all its ingredients are NSF certified. Also, the water-based chemistry does not have any solvents, effectively cleaning any stainless steel surface without damaging it or leaving behind pesky residue and streaks.
This cleaning solution offers to do two jobs in one – cleaning and polishing. Using it is super convenient – all you need to do is spray the formula directly on the stainless steel surface and wipe it off using a cloth.
People often make the mistake of using an excessive amount of any solution, which can be harder to clean up. It also encourages the wastage of product, which is not effective. Fortunately, this spray bottle comes with a small spray pattern that automatically produces less solution with each spray, eliminating wastage.
The pleasant citrus fragrance allows you to use the formula without worrying about unpleasant chemical odors. To top it off, it leaves behind a thin, protective film on the surface, preventing smudges and stains from recurring.
Eco-Friendly Stainless Steel Cleaner
Not everyone prefers using chemical-based cleaners as they tend to be too strong for regular use. Moreover, if you are environment-conscious, you might want to shy away from chemical-based products and opt for eco-friendly solutions instead.
If that is the case, then it’s perfectly reasonable. We have found a couple of fantastic eco-friendly stainless steel cleaning solutions for everyday use.
Eco-friendly stainless steel cleaning solutions consist of plant-derived natural ingredients that are befitting for effective cleaning and everyday use. This cleaner from Howard Products uses natural ingredients like soybean oil and coconut oil, along with other plant-based ingredients for cleaning.
Like most other natural cleaners, this cleaner relies on plant-based, sustainable ingredients, as opposed to their chemical-based counterparts. This makes them an environmentally friendly solution. Of course, they are just as effective and can be used regularly without worry.
The only downside you may find (though this isn’t always the case) is that these cleaners may not be 100% effective in getting rid of old or stubborn stains. You might need to use other products or tools to tackle those annoying, hard to get rid of stains. We will list a few tools you can use for this in our list below.
One of the main reasons we loved Howard Products Stainless Steel Cleaner is because it is safe, cruelty-free, and super effective. It comes in an easy to use spray bottle solution that only requires a clean cloth to wipe it off with. It is also fragrance-free, which is excellent for those with allergies or if you don’t like the smell of cleaning products.
You will find dozens of cleaning solutions in the market that advertise themselves as organic but are actually not. So, how can you be sure that the product you’re purchasing is authentic? Well, one way is to look for a certification stamp.
Therapy Stainless Steel Cleaner & Polish comes with a USDA Certified Biobased Product stamp, which eases our mind about its authenticity. The formula is blended with pure coconut oil, which not only cleans and polishes but also emanates a light, tropical fragrance reminiscent of sunshine, palm trees, and sea breeze.
The spray bottle formula is easy to use and super convenient. Moreover, it includes a 16-inch premium microfibre cloth for wiping the stains, grime, and oils away effortlessly. This microfibre cloth can be used to buff and polish your stainless steel appliances, bringing back its pristine glow and mirror-like shine and finish.
One of our favorite aspects of this stainless steel cleaning solution is its mild but refreshing lavender scent. Wiping down any appliance with this formula leaves behind a sweet, pleasant fragrance that wafts throughout the house.
Moreover, the scent is entirely natural and doesn’t use any artificial or chemical ingredients. Made of pure lavender essential oil, the pure, light scent smells heavenly.
Stainless Steel Cleaner | Powder Form
You might not feel wholly comfortable using a spray bottle formula for cleaning your stainless steel appliances. We understand; hence, we bring you Bon Ami Powder Cleanser. As the name suggests, this cleaning formula comes in a handy powder solution that is easy to use and extremely effective.
If you’re worried about scratching the surface of your appliances or leaving behind streaks and stains, don’t be. The Bon Ami Powder Cleanser is completely non-abrasive and safe to use, even on a regular basis.
The company has been developing cleaning solutions since 1886 and has become a reputed brand that is known for its superb quality and cost-effective solutions. Furthermore, the formula is completely hypoallergenic, which is great for users who suffer from allergies or have sensitivities.
Since it contains no chlorine, no perfumes, and no dyes, we felt safe using this cleaning solution for our cooking appliances. It uses baking soda to remove tough stains without being overly aggressive on surfaces. The use of baking soda also enhances its odor-absorbing capabilities.
The best part? This powder formula is entirely safe and does not contain bleach or any other toxic ingredients.
Homemade Stainless Steel Cleaning Solutions
Now that we have covered chemical-based cleaners and eco-friendly cleaners, you might be wondering what other options you have. Well, there are many others who often opt out of buying chemical cleaning products because they realize they don’t need to spend the extra money.
So how do they clean their stainless steel appliances? Well, there are several tried and tested homemade solutions that you can opt for. While some might work better than others, all of these methods have been tested and are effective.
Here are some of the best DIY homemade stainless steel cleaning solutions you can consider:
Wash & Wipe
This might sound too simple to be useful, but trust us, it works. One of the best (and easiest) cleaning solutions for your stainless steel appliances is water and a clean cloth.
The right cleaning cloth dipped in warm water can be an excellent cleaner for appliances like refrigerators, oven, stove, tea kettle, etc. It works great in bringing out the sheen and polish of all your appliances without much hassle.
Just to be clear, we don’t mean that you should wash your stainless steel crockery and utensils with just water. This isn’t hygienic and not an effective cleaning solution for something that you use to make food or eat out of. However, it is a simple and effective trick for other appliances that just need a buff and shine.
Tip – Hard water often leaves unsightly stains, streaks, and marks on your stainless steel products. By nature, hard water contains certain elements that leave behind streaks when used on most products, like clothes, dishes, etc.
However, this can be avoided by using distilled water for cleaning your stainless steel appliances. Alternatively, you can also use an industrial water softener to get the same effect.
Another small tip is to use a different cloth for wiping dry the appliances after using warm water and a cloth to clean and polish them. If possible, you should try and let stainless steel items naturally air dry instead of using anything to dry them.
As we mentioned earlier, water is an effective solution for simple cleaning and polishing jobs. However, items like crockery and stainless steel cutlery require a different kind of cleaning solution that will remove food residue, oils, and stains from them.
You don’t need to rush to a convenience store to buy expensive stainless steel cleaners just yet. In fact, we recommend using any dishwashing soap you have at home for cleaning these items.
Oils, grime, food stains, and dried up food residue is what makes your stainless steel products lose their shine and appeal. Of course, it’s not really tough to bring back their clean state and shine. All you need is dishwashing soap, warm water, and a soft sponge or dishwashing brush.
Soak your stainless steel utensils and cutlery in warm water and add a few drops of dish soap to it. Allow it to soak for a few minutes before using a brush or sponge to gently scrape off food residue and oils from the surface of these items.
There are a couple of essential things to remember when doing this. First, we recommend using a mild dishwashing soap if you don’t want to risk damaging the stainless steel products. The surface of stainless steel is such that it is relatively easy to remove oils and stains from it without applying excessive pressure or abrasives.
Second, we also recommend using a soft brush or sponge for scrubbing. It is best to be as gentle as possible. Using hard-bristled brushes, stainless steel, or wire scrubbers may scratch and cause damage to its surface.
To be clear, we don’t recommend using only olive oil to clean your stainless steel appliances. However, if your products at home lack their usual shine and luster, olive oil can be a quick, cost-effective, and easy solution to bring back their shine and polish.
When using olive oil to shine stainless steel, the most important thing to remember is that a little goes a long way. Don’t apply too much, as this will be hard to remove and unnecessarily make the items sticky and slick.
Take a few drops of olive oil and a clean cloth, and begin polishing the surface of your stainless steel items. Remember to polish in only one direction; otherwise, you may leave streaks and stains.
You don’t need to waste expensive, extra virgin olive oil for this DIY solution. Instead, opt for any cheap variety of olive oil and a soft, clean cloth. The stainless steel items may appear a tad darker due to the presence of olive oil on their surface. However, they will shine and look as good as new.
Did you know that club soda is not just a replacement for your favorite fizzy beverages but also an excellent cleaning solution? Well, it turns out that this bubbly beverage contains sodium bicarbonate, which works as an excellent cleaner for stainless steel.
While you can use club soda on its own, it becomes even more effective when you mix it with vinegar and water. Fill up a spray bottle with these three ingredients in equal quantity and shake it well. Spray this mixture directly on your stainless steel appliances, wiping it down with a clean, damp microfiber cloth.
When wiping the surface, remember to polish along the grain, not against it. This helps leave a better-polished finish to stainless steel.
Rinse or wipe the surface with a cloth dipped in warm, clean water. Finally, allow the surface to air dry naturally, or wipe it dry with another cloth (clean, dry, and soft).
Vinegar is the world’s favorite homemade cleaning solution for almost everything. Yes, vinegar really works on nearly anything you can think of – clothes, shoes, wood, floors, laminate, and yes, even stainless steel.
If you have tried using vinegar for other kinds of cleaning tasks, you already know how effective it is. However, if this is your first time using vinegar as a cleaner, don’t worry; we will walk you through it.
Opt for apple cider vinegar or white vinegar (never the dark kind) for your cleaning solution. You can dilute it with water, but it is also safe to use on its own. This product is effective due to its high acidic content, which eats through most grime, oils, stubborn and sticky residue. Furthermore, it adds shine and enhances the gleaming appeal of stainless steel.
That being said, not all stainless steel items can withstand the high, acidic content of vinegar. It is always best to check with the manufacturer’s instructions if it is safe to use vinegar or not. Remember, you can always dilute it with water to reduce its acidic content.
Add vinegar and water to a spray bottle to create your DIY all-purpose cleaning solution. Spritz it directly over stainless steel items and wipe it with a damp cloth. Once this is done, you should rinse or wipe down the items once again with a clean cloth dipped in warm water. This will remove any streaking if there is any.
Vinegar inherently has a strong scent, and if you cannot tolerate it, add a few drops of your favorite essential oil to the vinegar and water solution. This will effectively banish the pungent odor of vinegar.
Lemon polish is often used on wooden and leather surfaces. However, few people are aware that it also works effectively as a stainless steel cleaning solution.
Keep in mind; we don’t recommend using only lemon polish for cleaning your stainless steel items. On its own, it will not do a very effective job in removing stubborn stains, oils, and grimes. However, just like olive oil, the lemon polish works excellently in providing shine and polish to your stainless steel items.
To top it off, one of the best things about lemon polish is the fresh, citrus scent it emanates. Take a soft, clean, dry cloth and add a small quantity of lemon polish to it. Wipe down any stainless steel surface with this cloth, careful to move only along the grain and not against it.
We recommend doing this as gently as possible. Otherwise, you may end up leaving streaks on its surface. Lemon polish has acidic content, which works efficiently in dislodging dirt, grime, and oils from any surface. Furthermore, the citrus fragrance is refreshing.
Did you think that glass cleaner can be used only on glass? Well, you’re wrong. This cleaning solution is super effective to use on stainless steel surfaces as well. It works quickly and conveniently to remove smudges and fingerprints from stainless steel surfaces without much effort on your part.
If you have stainless steel appliances and products at home, you must already be aware of how prone they are to attract smudges. Sure, when they are clean, they look fantastic and polished. However, these surfaces are also quick to attract fingerprints and dust.
Glass cleaners are a simple and effective solution to this. In fact, you don’t need to invest in a different type of glass cleaning solution for your stainless steel items.
Any regular item like Windex or even ammonia works fantastically to remove these everyday stains from the surface of stainless steel. Simply spray the solution directly on the items, allow it to sit for a few moments, then wipe it off using a soft, clean cloth.
Honestly, you will find mixed reactions about using baking soda as a stainless steel cleaning solution. However, we have decided to add this item to our list because we find that it is a super-effective cleaning solution when used safely.
Baking soda, by nature, is abrasive. However, it is still one of the most popular and widely used cleaning solutions worldwide. Every kitchen has baking soda, and if you don’t, then don’t fret. This ingredient is abundantly found in any convenience store or supermarket and is extremely inexpensive.
We recommend using very little quantity of baking soda for any stainless steel item—mix baking soda and water in a ratio of 3:1. Once you mix the ingredients well, you will be left with a white paste, which is your cleaning solution.
That being said, if you feel like the formula is too potent for your stainless steel items, feel free to dilute it even further.
Apply the baking soda mixture directly to the surface of your stainless steel items. By nature, baking soda is potent enough to break through most stubborn stains, oils, grime, dirt, and stuck-on residue. However, it is also gentle, so it can be used safely on items (even the ones you eat off of).
Use a clean, damp cloth to polish the surface, all the while ensuring that you are as gentle as possible. It is best to go along the grain and not against it for the best results. Wipe down the surface with a clean, damp cloth dipped in warm water, and finally, wipe it dry with a clean, dry cloth.
Stainless Steel Cleaning Applicators
At the beginning of our article, we promised to tell you about some of the best tools to use for cleaning stainless steel. Well, there are a number of options to choose from. However, we would recommend using something that is soft and gentle on its surface. Stainless steel is prone to scratches, especially if you use hard, abrasive tools to clean them.
Here are some of the safest applicators and tools for cleaning stainless steel.
Out of all the cleaning products we mentioned above, only one of them offers an included microfiber cloth. A microfiber cloth is one of the safest materials you can use to clean any surface, including stainless steel.
These ‘magic cloths’ have the ability to pick up even the tiniest particles of dirt and dust, making them an excellent option for cleaning and polishing stainless steel. Moreover, the cloth is incredibly soft and gentle and can be used for applying or wiping off cleaning solutions and products with ease.
No matter how many times you use a microfiber cloth for cleaning the surface of your stainless steel items, you will never see any scratches or abrasion. This cloth is easy to find and does not cost much. Thus, we think it is one of the best tools you can have for cleaning stainless steel.
Although our top recommendation is microfiber cloth, we understand if you do not have one at hand. Or maybe you do, but it has become too old and worn out to use. Well, in that case, you can use any ordinary dish towel or washcloth for the same purpose.
Sure, it will not be as soft and effective as using a microfiber cloth, but it is the next best option. The most important thing to keep in mind is that whatever material you decide to use should be soft and non-abrasive.
What Not To Use On Stainless Steel
Now that we have talked at length about the products you should use on stainless steel, we must also mention the products you should not use. As you may already know, stainless steel is a remarkable substance that not only looks great but is versatile, functional, and long-lasting.
The key to maintaining your stainless steel materials is to ensure that you clean them properly and maintain them well. With that thought in mind, here are a few things that you should never use on stainless steel.
Any Abrasive Cleaner
This rule applies to all kinds of abrasive products – liquid cleaners, powder cleaners, cloth, ingredients, and any material. The most abrasive substance that you can get away with using is baking soda. Even so, baking soda must be used very carefully. Otherwise, it may end up scratching the surface and leaving marks.
We should also mention that vinegar when used on its own, may be considered abrasive. This is due to its high acidic content. If you want to use vinegar safely for cleaning stainless steel items, you must dilute it with water. Using equal parts of vinegar and water works fine, but you can dilute it even further if you want.
You should not use steel wool, hard-bristled brushes, strong dishwashing liquids, and concentrated cleaning solutions on stainless steel. It will do more damage than good, and it can be very difficult to remove these scratches and stains from stainless steel once they appear.
When looking for home remedies and DIY cleaning solutions, many people often instinctively turn to bleach. While this cleaning solution may work wonders on other items, we do not recommend using it for stainless steel products.
You can hire a professional maid service to help you clean your stainless steel appliances and products. More often than not, they have effective cleaners and DIY solutions that can help you maintain your products effortlessly.
Plus, it can be a nice change to hire professional help every once in a while to help you with the cleaning, while you sit back and relax for a day, don’t you think?
Taking care of stainless steel isn’t a big deal, as long as you know what to use and what to avoid.
With regular care and maintenance, your stainless steel items will always look new and shiny. As we mentioned earlier, the most important thing to keep in mind is to stay away from any harsh, abrasive cleaning products.
We have provided you with a number of cleaning solutions in this guide, ranging from chemical cleaners to eco-friendly solutions and even homemade cleaners. If you have any other DIY home remedies that you use to clean your stainless steel products, please feel free to share them with us in the comments below.
Well, with that, it’s a wrap. We hope you find the right cleaning solution for your requirements. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different cleaning solutions; whatever works for you.
Until next time, take care!