Stainless steel appliances in a modern kitchen look their best when they're free of smudges, sticky bits and fingerprints. With a fresh, spotless shine, those appliances look new, upscale and impressive. Another reason to clean your stainless steel appliances well, large and small, is that dust and grime can cause rust and corrosion, reducing the lifespan of your kitchen's eye-catching appliances. So a good cleaning regimen for your stainless steel refrigerator, dishwasher, stove, toaster and other appliances is a must.
Debbie Sardone, president of natural cleaning company Speed Cleaning, suggests all-natural, nontoxic products to accomplish the task of cleaning stainless steel appliances while limiting the use of toxic cleaners in your home.
Sardone's tips for cleaning stainless steel refrigerators, stoves, dishwashers, wine refrigerators and other appliances in your home include:
--"Use a nice, soft, fluffy microfiber towel to clean your stainless steel appliances. A regular cotton towel is rougher and can cause scratches on the surface, which really shows.
--"Always clean in the direction of the grain. Going against the grain will cause streaks, which will also be very visible and reduces the gorgeous appearance of stainless steel appliances.
--"Remove fingerprints first, using a nontoxic all-purpose cleaner, to get rid of those greasy hand and fingerprints, and then clean the entire surface.
--"After cleaning with your chosen natural stainless steel cleaner, go over the surface with a stainless steel polish that has an oily, creamy texture to help create a beautiful shine. You can even use a little dot of olive oil on your polish cloth for that smooth finish.
--"It's OK to clean the handles of your refrigerator or dishwasher more often than the entire appliance, since those parts will get more contact and can get fingerprints or grime on them more often.
--"Clean your stainless steel appliances once a week."
Sophie Uliano, author of "Gorgeously Green," suggests natural, nontoxic methods for cleaning stainless steel appliances: "There are so many chemicals in many store bought stainless steel cleaners, which you just don't need to get the job done. These chemicals can be dangerous for small children, and even give off gas," says Uliano. "I keep it really simple. I use equal parts white vinegar and hot water:
--First, heat 1 cup of white vinegar in the microwave for 1 1/2 minutes. Then add the hot water. Use this liquid mixture with a clean rag to clean off dirt, grease and grime. Finally, use a microfiber cloth with a few drops of olive oil (2-3 drops max) to polish."
Always be sure to fully dry any moisture from your stainless steel appliances, to help prevent water spots and also to help prevent any minerals in your tap water from leaving marks on stainless steel. Any traces of remaining water could also lead to rust or corrosion. Microfiber cloths are a good choice for drying, since they absorb water and won't scratch the surface of stainless steel. A regular rag or washcloth may pose a scratching risk.
Always refer to the product manual for your stainless steel appliances for the recommended cleaning methods selected for the specific finishes on your appliances. If you can't track down your product manuals, look online at the manufacturers' website to easily view the manual you need.