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Cleaning Stainless Steel Is As Easy As 1-2-3

Cleaning stainless steel? It sounds like a contradiction in terms. Stainless steel does resist corrosion and dust, but it isn't impervious to damage. Depending on the quality of the stainless steel, it can rust, discolor, and lose its shine over time. Fortunately, stainless steel is easy to maintain. Here's how to keep your stainless steel shining and, well, stainless.

3 Steps to a Steely Shine

Stainless steel has become standard issue in kitchen and other interior renovation projects. Cleaning stainless steel regularly can keep your renovation project looking brand new. Appliances, cabinet hardware, countertops, stove hoods, and more can look like new if you follow these steps to polishing stainless steel surfaces.

  1. Wash surfaces with hot, soapy water and a nonabrasive sponge. Be sure to wash both with and against the grain to make sure you remove any kitchen grease and cleaning product residue. Note: Fingerprints can be surprisingly tenacious. To remove them, use glass cleaner or household ammonia. If the problem persists, consider investing in a stainless steel finish that resists fingerprints.
  2. Apply stainless steel polish. Washing the steel will leave it looking dull and lifeless. A cream polish can be the magic potion to restore that shine.
  3. Buff the surface with a dry towel. Work with the grain and continue until the brilliant glare of the restored surface tells you that you're done.

Stainless Steel Cleaning No-Nos

Scratches are the biggest hazard in your stainless steel renovation project. To avoid them completely, you may decide to apply a scratch-resistant finish. Or you can simply take extra care in the cleaning process. Here's how to avoid scarring your stainless steel:

  • Rinse off cleaning products
  • Avoid cleaners containing chlorine
  • Do not use steel wool or abrasive brushes

Cleaning stainless steel is one of those rewarding interior cleaning projects that has the impact of a renovation, without the cost or labor. If your stainless steel appliances or kitchen features are starting to look a little worse for wear, get out the towel and some basic cleaners, and buff your stainless steel back into showroom shape.


"Clean Stainless Steel," About: Housekeeping "How to Clean Stainless Steel," Real Simple