How to Clean Stainless Steel Appliances: Our Tips for a Sparkling Shine

How to Clean Stainless Steel Appliances: Our Tips for a Sparkling Shine

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Stainless steel is durable, corrosion-resistant, and has a timeless appeal that makes it look great in any kitchen. These advantages have made stainless steel one of the most popular finishes on appliances and kitchen fixtures, but keeping it clean and shiny can be a bit of a challenge. Luckily, we'll teach you how to clean stainless steel appliances with the proper tools and guidance.

In this comprehensive guide, we'll walk you through the steps on how to maintain your stainless steel appliances' appearance. Whether you have a stainless steel refrigerator, oven, dishwasher, sink, faucet, countertop, or other kitchen gadgets, our tips and tricks will help you achieve a sparkling shine every time.

Expert Quick Tips

  • ​​Avoid using abrasive cleaners or scrubbers.

  • Do not use harsh chemicals, such as bleach or ammonia.

  • Wipe the appliance regularly with a damp, lint-free cloth (can use a microfiber cloth or soft cotton cloth) to prevent dirt and grime from building up.

  • Buff the appliance with a soft cloth every few weeks to keep it looking its best.

  • If you are cleaning appliances that come into contact with food, it is important to use a food-grade and non-toxic solution to avoid contaminating food.

How to Clean Stainless Steel

Cleaning stainless steel may seem daunting, but it’s actually very straightforward and easy as long as you’re equipped with the right knowledge beforehand. In our experience here at The Range Hood Store, we’ve found stainless steel's ease of cleaning is a major advantage for busy homeowners.

We’ve broken this guide down into a 4 step process:

  1. Pre-Cleaning

  2. General Cleaning

  3. Tackling Tough Stains

  4. Maintenance

How to Clean a Stainless Steel

1. Pre-Cleaning

Before you begin the cleaning process you should prepare the stainless steel surface by removing any loose debris. This step helps ensure that your cleaning efforts are focused on the stains and smudges rather than spreading around particles that may scratch the surface. You’ll need two tools for this step; a soft brush and a damp cloth.

Soft Brush: This could be a clean, dry paintbrush or a specialized brush designed for electronics or appliances. The bristles should be gentle and soft enough not to scratch the stainless steel. A general rule we recommend following: If it’s not gentle enough to touch, it’s not gentle enough to avoid scratching stainless steel.

Damp Cloth: Additionally, prepare a damp, lint-free cloth. You can use a microfiber cloth or a soft cotton cloth for this purpose.

  • Start by inspecting the surface of your stainless steel appliance. Look for any visible food particles, dust, or fingerprints.

  • Gently sweep or brush away loose debris using the soft brush. Make sure to brush in the direction of the grain (if your stainless steel has a visible grain pattern) to prevent potential scratches.

  • For stubborn debris or dried-on spills, dampen the cloth slightly (but not dripping wet) and wipe the affected area. Again, wipe in the direction of the grain.

  • Pay special attention to crevices, handles, and corners where dirt and grime can accumulate.

2. General Cleaning

Mix a solution of warm water and a few drops of mild dish soap in a spray bottle. This gentle yet effective solution will help remove grease, grime, and smudges without damaging the stainless steel finish.

  • Spray the soapy solution evenly over the surface of your stainless steel appliance. Ensure thorough coverage while avoiding oversaturation.

  • Allow the soapy solution to sit for a moment. This will help break down and loosen any stubborn stains or residue.

  • Using a soft, lint-free cloth, such as a microfiber cloth or a soft cotton cloth, gently wipe the surface of the appliance in the direction of the grain. This step is crucial to maintain the stainless steel's polished appearance and minimize the risk of visible streaks or scratches.

  • As you wipe, pay extra attention to areas with visible stains or smudges, applying a bit more pressure if needed.

  • After wiping down the appliance, rinse it thoroughly with clean water. This step removes any residual soap and ensures a spotless finish.

  • Make sure to wipe in the direction of the grain while rinsing to maintain the stainless steel's polished appearance.

  • Finally, use a clean, dry cloth to dry the appliance completely. This step not only removes any remaining water droplets but also helps achieve a gleaming shine.

3. Tackling Tough Stains

While general cleaning can tackle most smudges and everyday marks on stainless steel appliances, tougher stains may require a bit more effort.

For older or particularly stubborn stains, you may need to repeat the cleaning process several times to achieve the desired results. Patience is key when dealing with tough stains. Avoid the temptation to scrub vigorously, as this can potentially damage the stainless steel surface.

Here are some methods we’ve found effective when dealing with tough and stubborn stainless steel stains:

  • Baking Soda and Water:

Baking soda is a versatile and safe abrasive that can help tackle tough stains. To use this method:

  1. Create a paste by mixing baking soda and water. The consistency should be thick enough to adhere to the stain.

  2. Apply the baking soda paste to the stain, ensuring full coverage.

  3. Let it sit for 15-30 minutes to allow the paste to break down the stain.

  4. Afterward, wipe the paste away with a damp cloth. Make sure to wipe in the direction of the grain for the best results.

  • Vinegar Solution:

Vinegar is a natural disinfectant and can be effective at removing tough stains on stainless steel. Here's how to use it:

  1. Mix equal parts of vinegar and water in a spray bottle to create a mild cleaning solution.

  2. Spray the solution directly onto the stain.

  3. Allow it to sit for a few minutes to help dissolve the stain.

  4. Afterward, wipe the stain away with a damp cloth, again following the grain pattern.

  • Barry's Restore It All Stainless Steel Cleaner:

Commercial stainless steel cleaners such as Barry’s Restore It All Scratch-B-Gone Homeowner Kit are formulated specifically to remove tough stains without harming the surface of your appliance. Barry's Scratch-B-Gone comes with easy-to-follow instructions and the company has also provided a detailed video demonstration.

4. Maintenance

Regularly performing simple maintenance will drastically reduce the amount of tough stainless steel stains and smudges you have to deal with. Here are our maintenance recommendations to keep your stainless steel appliances looking their best.

Regularly Wipe Down Your Appliances: Prevent dirt, grime, and fingerprints from building up by wiping down your appliances regularly. A simple solution of warm water and a few drops of mild dish soap can be used with a soft cloth.

Regular Buffing: Periodically, give your stainless steel appliances a gentle buff to keep them looking their best. The buffing process enhances the shine and helps to remove minor surface imperfections. We recommend Barry’s Restore It All Stainless Steel Rescue Spray for any grease, smudges, or sticky residue.

Keep Appliances Dry: After cleaning your appliances, it's essential to dry them thoroughly with a soft cloth. Water spots can form on stainless steel if left to air dry, potentially dulling the finish.

Proper Storage: When you're not using your appliances, store them in a clean, dry place. This simple step helps prevent accidental scratches or damage when appliances are not in use.

Barry's Restore It All Products Stainless Steel Rescue Spray 16oz - Lifestyle

Best Home Remedy Stainless Steel Cleaner

Here is a simple recipe for a homemade stainless steel cleaner:


  • 1 part white vinegar

  • 1 part water

  • A few drops of lemon juice (optional)


  • Mix the vinegar and water together in a spray bottle.

  • Add a few drops of lemon juice, if desired. The lemon juice helps hide the vinegar scent.

  • Spray the solution on the stainless steel appliance and wipe it clean with a soft cloth.

This homemade cleaner is safe for use on all stainless steel appliances and it will help to remove dirt, grime, and fingerprints.

Therapy Stainless Steel Container

How to Clean Black Stainless Steel Appliances

If you have black stainless steel appliances, you may be wondering if there are special precautions you need to take while cleaning them. The simple answer is yes; black stainless steel has an added PVD finish that can be damaged if improperly cleaned. For this reason, we recommend only warm water, mild dish soap, and a microfiber cloth for deep cleaning black stainless steel. Additionally, Therapy Clean Stainless Steel Cleaner is safe to use.

With this in mind, follow the steps outlined in section 2, General Cleaning, of this guide to clean black stainless steel.


The easiest way to keep your stainless steel appliances and fixtures clean is regular maintenance. Simple, everyday maintenance helps prevent the buildup of dirt, grime, and unsightly fingerprints in the first place.

But if the time comes for a thorough cleaning, by following our expert tips and the steps outlined in this guide, you have the know-how to safely clean stainless steel and keep your kitchen looking great.

Thank you for choosing this guide as your trusted resource for stainless steel care. We hope it brings you the joy of a spotless, gleaming kitchen.

If you have any further questions about stainless steel appliances or fixtures, call us at 1 (866) 528-0571 or book a consultation with one of our many knowledgeable representatives here!

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