4 Cleaning Tips You Need to Know If You Have Stainless Steel Appliances

updated Feb 23, 2020
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Credit: Marie-Lyne Quirion

No matter how many chores you have to tackle, there are a few cleaning tasks that should always make it onto your to-do list. A big one you might be overlooking? The weekly cleaning and maintenance of your stainless steel appliances, says Michael Silva-Nash, EVP of Molly Maid of Greater Little Rock and Northwest Arkansas, a Neighborly company. 

These items are not only like magnets for greasy fingerprints, but they can also harbor lots of germs and bacteria — especially during flu season, says Silva-Nash.

Here’s what you need to know to get the job done quickly and effectively.

4 Stainless Steel Cleaning Tips to Know Before You Start

Though you might be tempted to grab a bottle of cleaning solution, give your appliances a quick swipe, and call it a day, the wrong technique can actually damage some of your home’s most expensive machines.

1. Check the manual.

When in doubt, there’s one big rule: To maintain the integrity and appearance of your stainless steel appliances, always check the owner’s manual first, says Ron Shimek, president of Mr. Appliance, a Neighborly company. Digging into this literature is the only way to be 100 percent sure you’re cleaning your appliances the way they were intended to be cleaned. 

2. Use commercial cleaners sparingly.

Stainless steel “cleaners” are generally polishers, not cleaners, says Silva-Nash. They effectively polish and shine, but don’t actually clean the surfaces of these appliances, he explains. “Imagine adding pomade or hair spray before actually cleaning off your hair. It’s just layer upon layer of debris, dirt, and food crumbs.” 

Instead, use water and a little bit of soap to actually clean and wash the surface, says Silva-Nash. Then use a little bit of oil or polish, if desired. 

3. Choose a soft cloth.

When cleaning stainless steel, always use a clean, soft cloth, says Shimek. Microfiber is ideal, since it won’t leave lint behind. Never use steel wool or a scouring pad on stainless steel, as this can scratch the surface, adds Shimek. 

4. Always wipe in the direction of the grain.

When you look at your stainless steel, you’ll notice faint lines, or what looks like a slight texture to the surface. Like wood, this is called the grain. To prevent scratching and enhance shine, experts recommend always cleaning in the direction of the grain. 

Credit: Joe Lingeman

How to Clean Stainless Steel Appliances

This post originally ran on Apartment Therapy. See it there: How to Clean Stainless Steel Appliances