Hi! We’re back with another article and this time, we want to talk about something you guys have been asking frequently: how to clean stainless steel appliances. As a cleaning service in Dallas, we often get our clients to ask us what’s the secret to keeping their appliances looking shiny and spotless.
Well, today we’re giving you tips to maintain your fridge, oven, stovetop, and other stainless-steel appliances clean while avoiding common mistakes.
Stainless steel is a beautiful, timeless material, but every material has its pros and cons. In this guide, we’ll talk about the do’s and don’ts of cleaning this material, and the steps to do it properly. Let’s go!
What is Stainless Steel?
This material is an alloy of iron, a type of metal commonly used for cookware and accessories. It was created to be resistant to rusting and corrosion, which makes it perfect for items that are constantly near water and humidity.
This material looks beautiful and elegant, and it’s super easy to clean as well. If you take care of it properly, it can last for many years. Most modern appliances nowadays are made of stainless steel.
Stainless steel, however, is sensitive to permanent stains and marks if cleaned incorrectly. And, of course, many cooking appliances get food and grease stains over time. But don’t worry! Keep reading to find out how to -and not to- clean stainless steel.
How Not to Clean Stainless Steel
Before we jump into the cleaning instructions for your appliances, we want to talk about the common mistakes when choosing cleaning products and techniques.
Let’s start with cleaning products and tools. With stainless steel, you need to be careful with abrasive tools, such as steel wool.
You should avoid products that contain ammonia as well. Ammonia is an alkaline agent capable of cleaning, but it is not recommended for these types of surfaces.
Stainless steel appliances are coated in a layer of plastic. Ammonia can damage the protective coating and with that, the humidity will affect the surface, creating rusting with time.
The same goes for chlorine-based cleaning agents, such as bleach.
It’s important to avoid water as well, especially if you have hard water. If you live in Dallas, for example, your water is likely hard, meaning that it has a higher amount of minerals such as calcium and magnesium.
With time, these microscopic minerals will scratch the surface. Besides, water itself will create streaks with time.
Another common mistake is to wipe in any direction. Like wood, steel also has a grain, but much smaller. When wiping or scrubbing your appliance, always wipe with the grain. This way, you will avoid streaks and scrub the dirt out of those microscopic crevices.
Last but not least, do not let your appliances air dry after cleaning. Although this is usually a good tip, air-drying stainless steel will cause streaks and spots. After cleaning use a dry microfiber cloth and buff the surface until it’s dry.
How to Clean Stainless Steel
After you’ve read about the improper cleaning techniques and products, it’s time to read what you should do when cleaning stainless steel. Here are some general instructions:
First, remove all large particles of dust and lint. This is the first step because, if you start scrubbing the surface with a cleaning agent, you will bring those small particles back and forth, and you might scratch the surface.
Of course, a specialized stainless-steel cleaner would be the ideal choice. Glass cleaners work great as well. You can wipe first with a stainless-steel cleaner to remove all the gunk and grime, and then a second pass with glass cleaner to get the residue.
But there are other homemade alternatives. For example, vinegar and olive oil is a popular combination, and these are both harmless, effective agents. Vinegar, does the cleaning job, while olive oil adds a protective coat and removes fingerprints and streaks.
If you don’t have olive oil, you can use orange essential oil. This works just as nicely, and it leaves a pleasant, fresh fragrance.
Baby oil is another option, which is just really scented mineral oil.
For any of these cleaning alternatives, remember to let them soak on the surface for 10 minutes before wiping, to ensure their effectiveness.
Always apply in a small, inconspicuous area first in case there is any negative reaction (staining, streaks). Make sure the surface is clean and dry. If you need to, remove big crumbs and stains first with a clean, slightly damp microfiber cloth with one or two drops of dish soap.
You don’t want the surface to be soapy, so make sure you use a small amount to pre-clean the surface. Many times, using plain dish soap will be more than enough, but it might not give you a spotless result.
How to Clean Stainless Steel Appliances
By now, you know how to clean this material. But we think it’s important to add specific instructions to appliances. An oven has different cleaning needs than a fridge, for example.
Let’s read the best strategies for cleaning stainless steel appliances.
Clean Your Oven
Stainless steel ovens are meant to be cleaned as such on the outside, but on the inside, they require a different approach. This is because you also have to deal with baked-on grease and food.
The Oven is one of the most dreaded appliances to clean. This is because many people tend to postpone their oven cleaning for way longer than it should.
For cleaning your oven on the outside, follow the vinegar and olive oil trick.
You just need to apply around 1 tbsp. of white vinegar onto the microfiber cloth. Wipe with the grain and then repeat the steps, but this time with olive oil. Just apply a few drops on the other side of the cloth and repeat the process.
To clean the inside of your oven you have the traditional route which is to use an oven cleaner. Although effective, oven cleaners are known to be abrasive, and they release toxic fumes.
You can read the entire guide for cleaning your oven here.
Clean Your Fridge
Your fridge is pretty much a magnet for fingerprints and grease stains, so let’s make sure you keep it under control.
First, you need to prepare a cleaning solution for your fridge. The vinegar and olive oil solution will work perfectly for this. Just repeat the process you did with your oven.
A little rubbing alcohol is great too, and the smell goes away as soon as it evaporates, so it’s just a matter of seconds.
Clean Your Sink
The biggest challenge you will face with your sink is that, for obvious reasons, there’s always water running and this can cause water streaks, as well as hard-water deposits. As we mentioned earlier, hard water causes white, powdery residues that do not look good.
Fortunately, sinks are created in a way that they are more resistant to more abrasive scrubbing. If your sink looks dull, stained, or decolored, like it has lost its shine, then follow these tips:
Use baking soda to remove large grease and food stains. Baking soda is abrasive enough to be effective, yet soft enough to avoid scratches.
Just sprinkle baking soda on the surface and wait for 15 minutes. Then, add a bit of hot water until you form a paste, and use a non-scratch scrubber to rub the surface. Rub in a circular motion with medium intensity.
If your sink has too many scratches, you can buy a scratch remover kit. These are kits with (usually) 3 or more types of sandpaper, a polishing agent, and a cloth.
Stainless-Steel Maintenance and Prevention Tips
Now that your items are clean and shiny, you must be thinking they are going to be full of fingerprints and watermarks soon. How can you avoid this?
First of all, get used to grabbing your kitchen appliances from their handles or a single corner. It might take you some time to get used to it, but you will notice the benefits soon. Fingerprints are going to happen sooner or later, but it will be easier to remove them if they are in a small area.
If you find any scratches, try using a microfiber cloth with distilled water first, and wait 10 minutes for it to dry. You can’t use tap water because hard water, as we mentioned earlier, will only make the problem worse.
If the previous trick didn’t work, use toothpaste to remove them. Just apply whitening toothpaste on a toothbrush, brushing softly. Remember to follow the direction of the grain. Wipe with a slightly damp microfiber cloth afterward.
Last but not least, remember to apply stainless steel polish about 4 times a year, to ensure it stays protected from rusting.
With these cleaning tips, your stainless-steel appliances will look and feel great! Remember to follow our kitchen cleaning tips as well. It’s important that the entire kitchen looks great, not just the appliances.
And don’t forget to visit our booking page, if you need a professional cleaning service in Dallas.
We hope you enjoyed this article and we’ll be back soon with more cleaning tips!