A Guide to Cleaning Stainless Steel

Cleaning Stainless Steel

For decades, stainless steel has remained the marker of quality in the kitchen. From refrigerators to ovens to work tables to sinks, stainless steel can be found in just about any part of the kitchen. When clean, stainless steel creates a seamless, timeless look. But, to keep it clean, it requires more work than any other type of appliance material. Stainless steel collects fingerprints, smudges, streaks, and more. Any little contact with the exterior leaves a mark. To keep a pristine look, it needs regular cleaning. If you know, love, and have loads of stainless steel in your kitchen, you know this struggle all too well. To help you keep your appliances looking fresh and new, we’ve created this quick guide on the best ways to clean stainless steel.

What Makes Stainless Steel ‘Stainless’

Stainless steel was first crafted by adding chromium to low carbon steel. This gave it a higher resistance to staining. Today, steel is mixed with other elements like nickel, carbon, iron, and titanium that make it even more resistant to staining. These elements were added to protect the surface in the event of scraping and scratching. When a scratch occurs on the surface, there is a newly exposed surface. The combination of elements inside of stainless steel ensures that no matter how deep a scratch is, the material will resist staining and rusting.

Benefits of Keeping Stainless Steel Clean

Keeping your stainless steel appliances clean can help with more than just upholding their appearance. With regular maintenance, your stainless steel appliances can last years over their expected lifespan. You can also keep seals, handles, and other crucial parts of your appliance working with just a few minutes of cleaning per day. Stainless steel can last for years if it is cared for regularly, which is one of the best and biggest benefits of incorporating this style into your kitchen. With proper care, these appliances can become part of your cooking routine for years, saving you time and money in the long run.

What You Need To Properly Clean Stainless Steel

Now, for the cleaning. There are a few crucial steps to ensure that you’re cleaning your unit in the best possible way.

Stainless Steel Cleaning Supplies

  • Vinegar
  • Microfiber Towel
  • Mineral Oil of Your Choice
  • Soft Cleaning Rag

How to Clean Stainless Steel (Steps)

  • Step 1: Find the ‘Grain’
    Before you start cleaning, it’s important to take a closer look at your appliances. Like wood, stainless steel has a type of grain that should either run horizontal or vertical. It isn’t as obvious as wood grain, but if you look closely, you should be able to see it. Once you spot it, this will help you find the direction in which you need to clean for the best results.
  • Step 2: Spray with Vinegar
    On stainless steel appliances, it is crucial to clean with vinegar—not water. Water leaves streaks, no matter how much you rub.

    Spray down the surface liberally with vinegar and let it sit on the surface for a few minutes. Letting the vinegar sit before wiping it clean will help attack caked on or stubborn messes.
  • Step 3: Wipe it Down
    After the vinegar has sat for a bit, use your soft cleaning rag to wipe away messes. It is very important that you use a soft cloth or paper towels when cleaning stainless steel. This will ensure that no scratches are left behind. Remove the initial debris and use more vinegar if needed.
  • Step 4: Polish
    This is the best, and final step of cleaning your appliance—polishing. To get that shiny, steel surface that you want in your space, polishing is key. It also helps keep your appliance protected in between cleanings.

    To polish your stainless steel appliances, dip a corner of your microfiber towel into a bit of oil—less is more. Wipe the doused cloth onto the appliance and drag it in the direction of the grain. Any streak marks will quickly fade away and you will be left with a shiny, clean surface.

In-Between Cleaning

These above tips are great for deep cleaning stainless steel cooking equipment. Throughout a shift, stainless steel also needs to be cleaned. For quick, in-between cleanings, simply use soapy water to wash, rinse with normal water, and then wipe with a sanitizing solution.

Why Invest in Stainless Steel

Although it requires regular maintenance, stainless steel can provide immense benefits to your kitchen. This rough, durable surface can resist staining, damage, and everyday use in even the busiest kitchens. To learn more about the benefits of stainless steel or to shop stainless steel for your kitchen, reach out to us today.