How To Clean Stainless Steel Appliances with Vinegar and Oil

How To Clean Stainless Steel Appliances with Vinegar and Oil

Gina Eykemans
Jul 1, 2014
(Image credit: Gina Eykemans)

Stainless steel appliances look great in the kitchen, but they're prone to showing hard water marks and fingerprints. You frequently see this on the dishwasher (so many water stains) and the handles of the refrigerator (hello overuse).

So, to restore my flat and dirty appliances back to their happy, shiny, robot-looking selves, I decided to make my trusty stainless steel toaster my test subject. What was the easiest, quickest way I could get it looking new again?

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Two things: vinegar and oil. Yeah, that sounds like a salad dressing, but trust me on this. Seriously, it works wonders!

Before I cleaned the toaster, it looked like this:

(Image credit: Gina Eykemans)

Not terrible, but it was flat and streaky with dark marks.

After two easy steps, now the thing is downright bling-y!

(Image credit: Gina Eykemans)

Now that I'd established a good cleaning technique, I continued on to the dishwasher. Let me show you how to get your stainless steel shiny with these two household ingredients!

How To Clean Stainless Steel Appliances with Vinegar and Oil

What You Need

Vinegar (in a spray bottle works best)
Paper towels (optional)
Very soft or microfiber cloth
Mineral Oil (or other oil of your choice—I used olive oil)


  1. Gather your supplies and determine the direction of the grain: I know that we usually reserve the term "grain" for wood; however, stainless steel also has a grain. Look closely. It will either be running horizontally or vertically. To clean your stainless steel, rub in the direction of that grain.
  2. Do a preliminary clean of your appliance with vinegar: Spray your appliance liberally with vinegar. Using either a paper towel or a very soft cloth wipe the vinegar off in the direction of the grain. This should remove the initial debris from your appliance and start to shine it up a bit.
  3. Use oil to make it shine: Dip your soft cloth into a little bit of oil. You don't need a ton as you can always come back for more. Now, polish your appliance with your oiled-up cloth in the direction of the grain. You will start to see all of the marks disappear! Now you have a shiny new appliance again!

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