by Emily McBride
(last updated August 4, 2014)
Despite the "stainless" name, stainless steel can actually be stained. It is easy for your stainless steel appliances to gather spots from fingerprints, water stains, baked-on food, or grease. Fortunately, most of these stains can be removed quickly. The most important thing to remember while cleaning your stainless steel is to follow manufacturer's directions. Some steels have lacquer finishes that need to be cleaned in a particular manner to avoid being damaged. Keeping that in mind, here are some basics on how to clean your stainless steel appliances.
Begin with a general cleaning. Get a cloth wet with warm water and a small amount of soap, and use the cloth to gently clean the appliance. To get the appliance even more clean, repeat the same process but with vinegar or rubbing alcohol instead of the soap and water.
There are many commercial stainless steel cleaners that you can purchase and use. Make sure to follow the instructions on the cleaner in order to avoid damaging your appliances. When you are rubbing the cleaner onto the appliance, make sure to rub in the direction of the grain of the finish.
A general cleaning for your stainless steel appliances is not difficult, but cleaning actual spots or stains can be more difficult. Again, read the manufacturer's instructions before you start in order to avoid scratching your appliance. For hard water or fingerprints, you can generally jut use window cleaner to wipe away the spots. For more difficult spots due to grease or baked-on food, you will need a scrubbing pad or a nylon scouring pad. Avoid steel wool as it will most likely scratch the surface of your appliance.
Once you are finished cleaning, rinse the appliance with warm water (or use a wet rag to rinse if you can't place the appliance in the sink).
To make your stainless steel shine, rub a small amount of baby oil onto the steel with a soft cloth. Or, instead you can use a soft cloth to dry after cleaning. Some suggest coating your appliance with a small amount of WD-40 to help prevent fingerprints.
The best way to keep your appliances clean is to clean them immediately after they gather spots. This will make it easier to remove food or grease or whatever else is getting your appliances dirty. However, it is best to wait until your appliance is cooled—do not clean it while it is hot.
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