Keeping Stainless Steel Stainless
Stainless steel is brazen about touting its own ability to stay clean, but it sure does pick up the grime over time, which can be a bother for homeowners. Luckily, there are a few choice ways to maintain the stainless visage.
Apply the simple solution
In a paper on proper metal maintenance from the Alabama Cooperative Extension System — a collaboration between Alabama A&M and Auburn Universities — Georgia Aycock sets out the process for the general care of stainless steel as such: mix “a solution of ammonia and water. Rinse and polish dry with a soft cloth.” We call it “the simple solution.”
Pretend it’s glass
Martha Stewart is thought of, the country over, as a prime example of a do-it-yourself guru. Our advice? Listen to her when she says Windex gives your stainless steel appliances “a streak-free shine.”
Wash it like dishes
An appliance isn’t a dish, but it can be cleaned like one if it is made of stainless steel. Good Housekeeping claims a solution of one teaspoon dish soap and one quart of hot water is the perfect mixture to maintain the lustrous appearance of stainless steel. However, the home improvement website adds that the solution is only the first step. After it’s mixed, use a microfiber cloth to apply the solution to the appliance’s surface, being careful to rub with the grain. Remember this important part of the process! Scrubbing against the grain can increase the chance of scratches, according to houzz. If you’re not sure how to find the grain on your toaster or stove, look closely for any finished lines to gather your bearings. They’ll be running perfectly vertically or horizontally.
Use an Italian approach
Oil and vinegar is the answer, according to the website The Kitchn, which claims “it works wonders!” The steps are fairly simple, and they start with identifying the grain — which, hopefully, you’ve already managed to locate at this point. The vinegar is for the preliminary
clean of whatever stainless steel appliance you’re hoping to spruce up, and it should be applied “liberally” via a spray bottle. The point is to rid the metal of debris before you use the oil to polish. The Kitchn explains that all oils are effective, but it directly suggests either mineral or olive; although, you don’t need much of whatever you choose. Use a soft cloth — perhaps the microfiber one you used with the dish soap mix — to shine the steel, again moving in the direction of the grain.
What not to do
Even with your newfound understanding of what works, there’s a chance you’re going to circumvent our advice. If you’re going to experiment and go about using your own style, take note of a few things NOT to do, according to Bob Villa. Make sure you:
- Avoid any product containing chloride or chlorine bleach.
- Don’t clean with dirty, sandy or gritty water.
- Avoid any supplies with abrasive surfaces, such as steel wool, steel brushes or scrubbing pads. These supplies can also leave behind small particles that can rust over time and damage the surface sheen.
- Avoid oven cleaners.
Finally, wait until the stainless steel is cool (to the touch) before you begin cleaning.
So there it is. You’re a homeowner who knows how to keep your stainless steel stainless.