How Often to Clean Stainless Steel
The best time to clean your stainless steel is when it's dirty. This seems far too simplistic but, as you know, kitchen use varies widely from one family to another.
The goal is to restore your appliances' original appearance, so an appropriate cleaning schedule may be as infrequent as one to four times a year. In a heavily used kitchen or where hygienic concerns are paramount, daily cleaning may be required for certain items.
Considerations Before You Get Started
Before you clean a stainless steel appliance, it's smart to check the manufacturer's recommendations. There are numerous grades of stainless steel out there, some more durable than others. Some appliances are treated with a clear-coat finish, which can be stripped by certain cleaning products. Lost the manual? Don't worry, you may be able to find it online.
If you're not the DIY type, there are plenty of effective stainless steel cleaners on the market. A stovetop cleaner such as TriNova is also effective in cleaning grimy stainless steel range hoods as well as oven and dishwasher doors.
More great options for cleaning stainless steel are a grill cleaner or even a silver polish like Wright's. Whatever you use, be sure to read the label and carefully follow instructions.
What You Need:
How to Clean Stainless Steel Without Chemicals
The adage "there's more than one way to skin a cat" applies to cleaning stainless steel. Go with the method that matches your stainless steel item, its condition, and what you have on hand.
Step 1: Wipe With a Damp Cloth
In most cases, wiping down your stainless steel with a clean cloth or microfiber towel dipped in hot water does the trick. Just like wood, stainless steel has a grain. Determine the striations on the surface of your appliance and wipe in that direction, beginning at the top and working your way down. Rinse with water and dry thoroughly.
Step 2: Steam-clean
To sterilize and disinfect stainless steel, use a steam cleaner with a nozzle attachment and then wipe dry with a soft cloth. Because stainless steel scratches easily, avoid using a brush attachment or any stiff cleaning tools.
Step 3: Try Vinegar
For stubborn grease spots or water scaling, wet a soft cloth with a diluted solution of 2 parts water to 1 part vinegar. Wipe the entire surface from top to bottom, and never let vinegar sit on the surface. Follow with a complete rinse and dry.
How to Remove Stains on Stainless Steel with Baking Soda
Typically, you need to pay a bit more attention to burned or caked-on messes on stainless steel pots and pans, sinks, or countertops. This method also works as a way to clean stainless steel compost bins.
To start, make a soft paste of baking soda and water and then apply it to the stain, allowing it to sit for about 20 minutes. Next, scrub the area with a soft cloth dampened in a solution of water and dish soap, working parallel to the grain to avoid scratches. Be sure to fully rinse with warm water and dry.
How to Keep Your Stainless Steel Clean Longer
Proper upkeep is an essential part of making the most of your kitchen's stainless steel appliances and equipment. Failure to maintain your investment can lead to unsightly staining, discoloration, or even long-term damage.
Fortunately, the upkeep of stainless is simple. By developing routine maintenance procedures, you can extend the life of your kitchen's stainless steel items and keep them looking like new.
- Add some shine, naturally. To make the surface of your stainless steel appliance shiny and protect it from fingerprints, add a small drop of olive oil to a cloth and buff it on the surface, working in the direction of the grain, and then wipe away excess with a dry cloth. The surface shouldn't feel oily, but it'll look shiny and fingerprint-free for longer.
- Use a polishing paste. Commercially sold pastes are another way to keep stainless steel appliances sparkling. They create a microscopic wax layer on the surface that lasts up to several months, making the surface easy to clean. Polishing paste is for decorative surfaces only, and not appropriate for cookware.
- Avoid abrasives like sandpaper, steel wool, metal brushes, and harsh abrasive cleaners. Soft abrasives may work in specific scenarios, but first spot-test in an inconspicuous place. When using abrasives, wipe in the same direction as the grain or polish on the surface of the steel to ensure an optimal appearance.