How to Clean Your Stainless Steel Appliances

A stainless steel oven that has just been cleaned.

We have to admit, stainless steel appliances add a sleek modern touch to any kitchen. Whether it’s a fridge, dishwasher or the humble toaster, stainless steel not only makes the kitchen look modern and stylish but it also comes with additional cleaning considerations.
The problem is, how do we make sure we clean theses sparkly appliances without causing long-term damage? There are a bunch of special stainless steel cleaners on the market. Which one is best to use? most people have is, they buy a brand spanking new stainless steel fridge for their home but find it difficult to clean it back to its original shine. Not all stainless steel cleaners are created equal and some will not work nearly as well as others on the appliance.

What makes stainless steel ‘stainless’?

Stainless steel gets its stainless nature because of its ingredients and their reaction to their environment. Interestingly, stainless steel contains iron, chromium, manganese, silicon, and carbon. These elements react with with the oxygen in the air to form a very thin, stable film that protects the surface from stains and corrosion. This film stops water and dirt getting to the metal underneath.

If it’s called ‘stainless steel’ then why is my fridge so dirty?

Just because you have stainless steel doesn’t mean stuff can’t stick to it! Fingerprints, grime, and everything else can still stick to your appliances but the good news is that your appliance can be cleaned and returned to its former glory! This is the advantage of stainless steel. With the right tools and method, your stainless steel appliances can be buffed up and look as good as new.

Clean Stainless Steel Kitchen

Ok, first let’s look at what we DON’T want to do.


  • Don’t use anything rough that might scratch the surface.

    This means we want to avoid any abrasive sponges, steel wool or brushes. These can scratch the surface. Once your stainless steel is scratched it is pretty difficult to repair – trust me, you don’t want to have to go through that. Also, make sure you check any cloths for any stuck food debris. You might think your cloth is stainless-steel-friendly but if you start buffing and find a stray scrap scratches up your steel you will wish you checked twice!

  • Don’t use chlorine bleach to clean stainless steel appliances.

    Chlorine bleach can damage the surface because the steel reacts with the ions in the bleach solution. Stick with dishwashing soap and a cloth to clean your stainless steel appliances.

  • Don’t clean in circles or against the grain of the steel.

    Clean against the grain or in circles. Doing so will take much longer to clean – as it will be harder to get into the grain of the surface. It also has the potential to damage the finish of your steel.

Tools Of The Trade

Here’s what you will need to clean up your stainless steel appliance.

  • A microfiber cloth

    Any soft cloth will do but a microfiber cloth goes the extra mile to ensure scratches are minimalised and the job is done right the first time! Make sure you keep 2 of these handy. One will be used to scrub with soap and water and the other will be used to buff the surface and bring out the shine.

  • Dishwashing soap

    Dishwashing soap is an appliance friendly cleaner you can use to make sure you get all that gunk off your appliance. While there are several cleaning products designed specifically for stainless steel, we prefer to stick with the tried and true soap method.

  • Water

    Good old water – straight from the tap.

Now Let’s Clean!


  • Wet your cloth with water

    Your cloth doesn’t need to be soaked but it needs to be damp. Wet the cloth and squeeze out excess water so it’s not dripping.

  • Add your soap

    Add some soap to the cloth.

  • Wipe the appliance surface

    Make sure you clean along the grain. This will be either horizontal or vertical. Scum and grime can get caught in the little grooves of the grain so make sure you clean along the grain to catch these. This also gives your appliance that extra shine as you snap up those little bits that are often missed. Don’t be afraid to go back over any surfaces to get rid of any left-over gunk. Make sure you clean the surface quickly. Any soap that lingers on the surface may dry out and leave marks and streaks.

  • Wipe again with your dry cloth

    This is very important and it helps bring out the shine in the surface. Remember to go along the grain, make sure you clear up any left-over soap or water.

We get it. We love our Stainless steel appliances too. It would kill us for something bad to happen to them. Just use water and dishwashing soap and you will ensure that your well-loved appliance gets the TLC it needs. A quick buff of your appliance afterwards with a dry cloth can bring that much needed life to your kitchen and make it feel as good as new.

Here at Mop Lovers we love to help out with some great cleaning tips to make your life easier.