How to Clean Stainless Steel Appliances

A woman wipes down her stainless steel dishwasher with affresh stainless steel cleaning spray.

Sleek, stylish and modern — if you own stainless steel appliances, you know that they are a beautiful complement to your kitchen. But like other surfaces, there’s a good chance that they need some TLC now and then. After all, cleaning your stainless steel appliances is about more than looking tidy. By removing greasy fingerprints, hard water stains or splashes from sauces and drinks, you’ll help preserve your appliance’s finish and limit discoloration over time.

Not sure how to clean stainless steel surfaces like refrigerators, range hoods, ovens, dishwashers and microwaves? Don’t worry — our guide will show you how to clean and brighten your stainless steel appliances with affresh® products or with safe, effective DIY methods using items you probably have at home. We’ll also answer some common questions about stainless steel care so you can keep your kitchen looking great.

What Should I Use to Clean Stainless Steel?

It’s best to use specialized cleaners for your stainless steel appliances to maintain a bright, clean look and to protect the steel’s finish. If you’re cleaning stainless steel appliances, affresh® recommends the following:

When cleaning stainless steel, do not use brushes, steel wool or other abrasive items, which can scratch the finish and lead to rust. Also, keep bleach and chlorine cleaners away from stainless steel appliances, as both can damage steel and leave permanent stains behind.

How to Clean Stainless Steel and Make It Shine

Step 1: Choose a stainless steel cleaner

Before cleaning your stainless steel appliances, it’s important to choose the right product for the job. For routine maintenance, choose affresh® stainless steel cleaning spray. And if you are dealing with rust, yellowing or other discoloration, affresh® has a stainless steel brightener to help restore the finish on your appliance.

Step 2: Determine the direction of the grain on your stainless steel

Much like wood, stainless steel finishes have a grain that goes in a certain direction. You’ll want to wipe in the direction of the grain to avoid streaks or smudges. Before applying any cleaner, take a moment to determine which way the grain goes so you can achieve the best results.

Step 3: Apply stainless steel cleaner as directed

Read the instructions on your stainless steel cleaner and apply it directly to your appliance or to a soft, dry cloth.

 

Step 4: Wipe the cleaner on the surface of your appliance

Using a soft, dry cloth, wipe the stainless steel cleaner into the surface of your appliance, going with the grain as you do so. Use gentle pressure to work the cleaner into the steel. If recommended, let the cleaner stand for a few minutes before proceeding to the next step. Some cleaners recommend rinsing with water or using paper towels instead of cloth. As always, be sure to follow the instructions on your cleaner’s packaging so you achieve the best results.

Step 5: Buff with a soft, dry cloth

After applying the cleaner according to the directions, use a soft, dry cloth to buff your appliance’s surface and remove any excess cleaner. Microfiber cloths are generally recommended, but any soft, dry cleaning cloth will do.

Step 6: Repeat on a regular basis

The best way to maintain a clean, shiny finish on stainless steel appliances is by cleaning them on a regular basis. Doing so not only removes fingerprints and stains, but also helps protect the finish.

 

Learn More About Cleaning Stainless Steel Appliances

How do you clean stainless steel without a store-bought cleaner?

Specific cleaners such as affresh® stainless steel appliance cleaners are recommended for stainless steel care because they are formulated to clean and leave a shiny finish. However, you can use this simple method in a pinch:
Dampen a soft cleaning cloth with hot, mildly soapy water, then wipe down your appliance in the direction of the grain. Dampen another soft cloth with hot water and wipe the surface again to rinse, then buff dry with another cleaning cloth or paper towel.

How often should I clean my stainless steel appliances?

To keep your fridge, range, dishwasher and microwave looking great, be sure to clean these stainless steel appliances every week. Also, be sure to wipe up spills or splatters promptly before they have time to stain.

When cleaning cooking appliances such as ranges or microwaves, be sure that all surfaces are cool before you begin.

How do I remove hard water spots or food stains from my stainless steel appliances?

While many experts recommend using baking soda and water to remove stubborn stains on stainless steel sinks and cookware, this method is not recommended for stainless steel appliances. While comparatively mild, the abrasiveness of baking soda can damage your appliance’s finish and leave permanent marks. Consult your owner’s manual for advice on how to care for your stainless steel kitchen appliance, and use cleaners specifically designed for stainless steel to achieve the best results.

Keep Your Stainless Steel Appliances Looking Great with affresh® Cleaners

A clean living room with a couch, a footrest and a coffee table.

Stainless steel cleaners are a great way to keep your appliances looking sleek and stylish. That’s why affresh® features a range of stainless steel cleaning products that help you clean and maintain a beautiful finish. Our stainless steel spray helps remove fingerprints and other marks, while our stainless steel brightener can help remove rust and yellowing.

Affresh® also offers numerous products that can help keep your kitchen and laundry appliances clean, fresh and looking great. Browse our complete line of kitchen and laundry appliance cleaners and find the right products for your home.

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