Your stainless steel appliances may be the cornerstone of your kitchen, both in function and in appearance, but how can you keep the surfaces smudge-free and shining from day to day? Misconceptions abound on which substances are acceptable for stainless steel cleaning, and certain materials are more effective than others. Follow this guide to find out for yourself.
Products and Tactics to Avoid
First, it is essential to review the cleaning products and tools that may not only be ineffective at cleaning and polishing your appliances, but could also damage the exterior permanently. While it is widely believed that stainless steel is impervious to rusting and staining, this is not the case.
Never use a product with chlorine bleach to clean stainless steel. Bleach accelerates the corrosion process and can contribute to rusting and staining due to the extreme power of the chemical. Additionally, avoid using oven cleaners intended for interior oven use.
Never scrub stainless steel with hard-bristled brushes or steel wool, since it can irreparably mar the smooth finish. Avoid using hard water to rinse after cleaning - the minerals may cause spotting and staining.
Before You Clean
Read the owner's manual to find out the specific recommendations for your appliance's make and model. The manufacturer may have a line of products designed to work best with your appliance. Also, depending on the appliance make, it may have been finished with a clear protective coating. Using unauthorized cleaning products can cause unsightly damage to the exterior.
Make sure each appliance is at room temperature before you clean it. In lieu of an in-depth cleaning, maintain the daily appearance of all surfaces by wiping them down with a warm, soapy washcloth then rinsing and drying once per day. This preventive maintenance can keep stubborn stains at bay.
Cleaning Strategies that Work Best
Whenever you are cleaning stainless steel, always begin at the top of the appliance and wipe in the direction of the grain. Use soft cloths made of microfiber to rub away dirt, fingerprints and grime.
Surprisingly, many of the most effective cleaners may be found in your kitchen. The acidity in vinegar breaks down the unwanted particles on the steel surface without harming the finish. Fill a spray bottle with distilled vinegar and apply it to the appliance, wiping with the grain to eradicate marks. While the smell of vinegar may be overwhelmingly strong at first, once it dries it should mostly dissipate.
Baking soda can be used as a natural scouring paste for stainless steel. Mix a few tablespoons of baking soda with water until it reaches a spreadable consistency. Apply and rub away stubborn spots using a soft cloth, then rinse the excess away.
Once all dirt is removed, place a small amount of olive oil on a cloth and polish the surface until it reaches the desired shine. Using supplies already in your pantry, you can restore your beloved kitchen appliances to their previous luster.