Safely Clean Stainless Steel Appliances

by Elizabeth Murphy

These days, many kitchens are turning to stainless steel for major appliances. It offers a sleeker, more modern look and eliminates the age old question of “what color?” Stainless steel appliances offer a more sterile environment as well, since metal can easily be disinfected and has long been used in restaurant kitchens as a standard finish for appliances.

Cleaning your stainless steel appliances can be a bit daunting, if you aren’t sure what you’re doing. However they tend to be pretty resistant, so you can clean them as often as necessary. Obviously a stove top will need cleaning more often than a stainless steel fridge or dishwasher, but the process is basically the same, whether you wash every day or just once a week.

First, on a daily basis, you will want to wash down any dirty surfaces with hot soapy water. Dish soap works very well to eliminate pesky grease spatters and food. A dishcloth is nice and soft and won’t scratch the surface, but if you need more cleaning power (such as for cooked on food or hard to clean grime) you may want to use a grittier cleanser. If this is the case, you need to scrub with the grain of the metal to avoid causing ugly scratches and scuffs. A better method is to simply pour hot soapy water on the area and let it sit for a couple of hours. For vertical stains, hang a wet cloth or towel over the edge of the appliance so it covers the stain and the water can soak in and loosen it.

To avoid hard to clean stains, you should try to wipe up any spills as soon as they happen. This is particularly important with the stove, since spilled food can cook right onto the surface and be extremely difficult to remove without scratching the stainless steel finish.

Once you have finished cleaning the stainless steel appliance, it is always necessary to rinse well. Stainless steel shows up dried soap and water spots very well, so rinse with clean water and then towel dry to make sure the surface stays sparkling and unmarred. Using a terry towel is best to avoid bits of lint commonly left behind by paper towels.

A common complaint with stainless steel appliances is the ease with which they pick up fingerprints and smudges. You don’t have to break out the big guns for small worries like this, just spritz on some glass cleaner and wipe the appliance down with a paper towel or clean cloth. This eliminates the smudges without need for rinsing and drying.

You can also get stainless steel polish or cleaner to help keep your appliances gleaming and to eliminate any scratches that may occur from daily use. Most stainless steel cleaners will safely get out any stains as well, that have formed in the metal. Simply apply the polish or cleaner (some even have a handy spray bottle available) and wipe off any excess. Then use a clean towel to buff the surface, going with the grain of the metal, to bring back the gleam that tends to fade over time.

It’s recommended that you set up a cleaning and polishing routine, with daily washing and a good polish once every couple of months. This will maintain all your stainless steel appliances in top condition and brightly finished. These appliances look great in the kitchen and with regular, careful cleaning, you can make sure they stay looking great.

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