I Cleaned My Stainless Steel Appliances with WD-40 — And You Should Too

updated Jun 1, 2021
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Someone wiping down stainless steel espresso machine.
Credit: Sarah Crowley

On top of its modern look, stainless steel is easy to clean. The only issue, really, is just how often I have to clean it! The smudges! The smears! The grubby fingerprints! The “stainless” surface gets pretty unsightly, pretty quickly! Usually I use a dedicated product, like Weiman Stainless Steel Cleaner and Polish to buff out scuff marks and stains, but recently I learned of another method: WD-40!

You read that right — apparently WD-40 leaves stainless steel surfaces super shiny and tackles annoying grease spots, likely thanks to its water dispersal properties (did you know that’s what the WD stands for?). Even better, the spray coats the surface with a protective layer to prevent future marks. I happened to have a can on hand and some pretty dirty appliances, so I gave it a whirl.

Here are the instructions I followed: First I sprayed a few spritzes of WD-40 onto a dry microfiber cloth, which I used to wipe the stainless surface. Then I grabbed another clean cloth and buffed the stainless steel surface (reminder: Go with the grain!). It’s exactly as easy as it sounds! 

Credit: Ashley Abramson

I have several stainless steel appliances in my kitchen — my fridge, dishwasher, espresso machine, and oven — all of which are prone to grimy food residue, water streaks, and greasy fingerprints (I’m not NOT blaming my kids!). I was shocked by how well the spray worked on all of them. Like, literally no residue was left behind on any of the stainless surfaces — even the espresso machine, which was layered in oil and grime. 

Not only did the spray remove marks and scuffs from my appliances, but it also left them so shiny I could see my reflection! I think the key is spraying the WD-40 directly on the cloth; otherwise, you’ll end up with excess liquid (and streaks). It’s also important, as it is when you clean wood, to clean with the grain — if you don’t, you could trap excess WD-40 in the microscopic crevices, which means the surface will look cloudy rather than shiny.

My verdict: WD-40 is a super convenient (and somewhat surprising) way to both clean and shine stainless surfaces. The WD-40 wasn’t quite as great as my beloved Weiman Stainless Steel Wipes, but I’ve decided that, as effective as they are, they’re a bit too wasteful. So the next time my stainless appliances need some love, I know what to grab. Plus, I figure I may as well fix up squeaky hinges while I’m at it!

What else is WD-40 good for? Tell us in the comments below!