Stainless steel has dominated the kitchen appliance industry for decades and remains one of the best materials to invest in when creating the perfect home kitchen. In fact, 75% of real estate agents state the stainless steel is still the most sought-after finishes that buyers look for in a kitchen.
Why is stainless steel so popular? For starters, it’s an incredibly durable material that is more resistant to rust and decay than most other metals. Given that you’ll find it in high-moisture areas like the sink and the fridge, this is very good news.
The only problem is that stainless steel is far from stainless. If you have stainless steel appliances, you’ve probably noticed that they show every fingerprint and watermark that ever crosses their surface.
How do you clean stainless steel to keep it looking sleek, modern, and truly stainless? Read on to find out everything you need to know.
First, Find the Grain of Your Stainless Steel
Did you know that stainless steel, like wood, has a grain? From a distance, you may not notice the direction of the grain. Take a closer look at your stainless steel and spot the light striations that run from top to bottom or side to side.
Why is it important to find the grain of your stainless steel before you start cleaning? As with wood, you’re going to see better results if you go with the grain, meaning that you clean your stainless steel by wiping or buffing it in the same direction that those light striations run.
What happens if you clean against the grain? In some cases, you may find that taking a few passes against the grain will actually help loosen up some of that deep, hard-to-buff grime. However, you’ll want to end your cleaning process by returning to the direction of the grain to minimize streaks.
Use the Right Rags and Brushes
Although stainless steel is a tough material, you don’t want to start scrubbing it with an abrasive rag or brush. That means that those little steel wool scrubbers and brushes aren’t the best choices.
Instead, use plastic scrubbers or brushes to tackle any stuck-on grease or grime. If you’re not dealing with a really dirty appliance, you can stick with a non-abrasive cleaning rag or a paper towel. It’s worth noting that if you use paper towels to clean your stainless steel appliances, you may see some lint residue when you’re finished.
Skip the Expensive Stainless Steel Cleaners
If you had to your local home goods store, you’re going to find all sorts of expensive, commercial-grade stainless steel cleaners. You can use these if you want to, but there’s no need to spend that kind of money to clean stainless steel. Instead, look around your house and grab one of the following household items to start cleaning your stainless steel.
If you’ve ever looked into DIY cleaning solutions, you’ve probably noticed that dish soap is an MVP. Dish soap will help you buff out all those fingerprints and watermarks, but it will also cut through any grease or oil on the surface of your stainless steel. All you need to do is dampen your rag or brush, apply a small amount of dish soap directly to it, and start wiping down your appliances.
Once you’re done, come back with a clean towel to buff out any streaks.
White vinegar is another star of the DIY cleaning world. You can apply white vinegar directly to your cloth of choice or pour some into a clean spray bottle and spray it onto your stainless steel appliances. (Never pour vinegar into a spray bottle that contains or once contained bleach, as this can create chlorine gas.)
Continue to wipe down your appliances using white vinegar until any built-up grease or grime is gone. Then, grab a clean, dry cloth and buff away the vinegar.
If all you’re dealing with are those smudgy fingerprints, you can give your stainless steel appliances a quick touch-up using glass cleaner. Brands like Windex will do just fine, here. Once again, spray the solution onto your cleaning rag and apply it to the smudgy areas on your appliances using a circular motion.
Don’t Forget to Polish Your Stainless Steel Appliances
If you want to make your stainless steel appliance look brand new, you’re going to want to finish off your cleaning efforts with a nice polish. Once again, you don’t need to buy anything special for this.
In fact, you can use a small dab of baby oil or mineral oil applied directly to a microfiber cloth. If you don’t have any oils on hand, you can spray a bit of WD-40 onto a microfiber cloth and achieve the same effect. In a pinch, you can even use the waxy side of wax paper for a quick shine.
Go Professional With Professional Cleaning Services
Mastering the art of cleaning isn’t as easy as we may think. It’s tempting to use multi-surface cleaners, but the reality is that all these different materials in our homes respond best to different cleaning supplies and solutions.
Rather than trying to learn what works best throughout your home, work with someone who already has those answers! Detail Cleaning Services offers regular house cleaning that will keep your house sparklingly clean from top to bottom.
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We love stainless steel for its durability but also for its appearance. However, when stainless steel becomes dirty and smudged, it doesn’t look quite as appealing. With our cleaning tips, you can keep your stainless steel appliances looking shiny and new with ease.
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