Stainless steel can make your kitchen sparkle. From appliances to the hardware on you cabinets and drawers, stainless steel is the new sleek look in kitchen design, but when it comes to keeping your stainless steel appliances clean the issue may not be as bright and shiny.
Stainless steel is a very resilient material used for a wide array of household items. It has a chromium film that makes it resistant to rust and tarnish, but over time this film can become damaged by dirt, grease and other household contaminants, so it’s important to clean your stainless steel routinely. Follow these guidelines to keep your stainless steel appliances and other items shining.
1) Be Gentle with your Stainless Steel
Harsh chemical cleansers and scouring powders and pads can scratch the surface of stainless steel and make it look dull. Avoid cleaners that contain chlorine and never use bleach on stainless steel since chlorine can damage the finish. Once you’ve damaged the surface there may be little you can do to restore the finish, so always use caution when trying out new cleansers.
2) Let Vinegar Shine
A very effective and frugal cleaner for your stainless steel appliances that might be right at your fingertips is vinegar. Vinegar is a household staple with a thousand uses and it also makes an excellent cleaner for stainless steel. Use undiluted white vinegar in a spray bottle and wipe dry with a soft, lint-free cloth. This method works because the acetic acid in the vinegar cuts through the oil left behind by fingertips, rather than smearing it around like other cleaners. Some people prefer to use lemon juice, which has a similar effect.
For smaller items such as cabinet knobs and drawer pulls, use a glass bowl filled with vinegar, soak the hardware for about a minute and then wipe dry with a microfiber cloth.
3) Use Microfiber to Avoid Scratches
The new micro-fiber cleaning cloths work great on stainless steel. They are lint free, leave no streaks and won’t scratch like some paper towels. You can use them with the vinegar solution or even plain water and not only will they make your stainless steel shine but you’ll save on paper towels too.
4) Wax On, Wax Off
As stainless steel is prone to streaking, you’ll want to wipe it in a circular fashion as opposed to vertical wiping motions. After applying vinegar or whatever other stainless steel solution you plan on using to the surface, fixture or cookware you wish to clean, give your cleaner about a minute to set in, then use a microfiber or sponge to clean the stainless steel in broad circular motions.
5) Grab the Rubbing Alcohol to Cut the Grease
If you’re dealing with tough grease spots, try rubbing (isopropyl) alcohol. Wet a cloth with the alcohol and rub on the spot. Continue rubbing until the grease spot is gone. Remember to rub in one direction, preferable up and down on larger appliances to avoid scratching.
6) Let Baking Soda Tackle the Tough Jobs
If you have a stainless steel stovetop or a pan with burnt on food, use baking soda mixed with a little water to make a paste. Rub the paste on the spot and let it sit for 15 to 20 minutes before gently scrubbing with a damp cloth. Be sure to rinse thoroughly to avoid a film from the baking soda.