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How to care for stainless steel appliances

Posted by AMH Team

5m read time

Mar 8, 2024

Stainless steel appliances help bring a kitchen to life. They’re visually impressive and add appeal to any house. Many AMH homes come with stainless steel fridges, though you may also have toasters, coffee pots, organizers, or more. Practicing basic care with these appliances goes a long way in keeping them looking good and operating effectively.


Benefits of stainless steel appliances


Over time, we put our appliances through some rough experiences. Bumping against the fridge, knocking over a coffee pot, or playing drums on the toaster might destroy a lesser material. But stainless steel appliances last for years, particularly when cared for properly.


Stainless steel is created from a mix of elements, notably iron and chromium. The combination makes the appliances incredibly resistant to harsh heat and fire. While iron can oxidize and form rust, chromium, nickel, and molybdenum provide a protective layer against potential rusting.  


Stainless steel also looks terrific. Appliances made from the material create a modern and sleek aesthetic, and many interior designers consider stainless steel a favorite in the kitchen.  


Unfortunately, stainless steel appliances also invite smudges, grime, dirt, and other imperfections like they were throwing a party. The good news is that caring for stainless steel appliances isn’t complicated, and you likely already have what you need inside your home. 


How to care for stainless steel appliances


There are different types of stainless steel. So, while there’s no single best way to clean stainless steel appliances without streaking, chances are one of the below methods will work for every appliance in your home. It just may take a bit of experimenting to see how the different appliances react to your cleaning efforts. 


How to clean stainless steel appliances with vinegar and olive oil


These two products are essential for cooking in the kitchen, but they’re also great for cleaning.


Start by pouring white vinegar into a clean spray bottle, liberally spraying the appliances that need cleaning. Let the vinegar sit for 30-60 seconds before wiping the appliance with a microfiber cloth.


Then, pour a bit of olive oil onto the cloth or dip the cloth in a small bowl of olive oil. You don’t need a lot to get the job done — about a tablespoon should be plenty. Repeat the wipe-down with the olive oil, moving in the same direction as the stainless steel grain.


Voila! That will get rid of any streaks and leave your appliances beaming.    


How to clean stainless steel appliances with club soda


This method is the ultimate in simplicity. Grab a clean spray bottle and fill it with club soda; about halfway is fine unless you have a lot of appliances to get through. Spray the soda onto your appliance, and use a microfiber cloth to clean it. Buffing in a circular motion will remove any remaining streaks or stains. 


Once you’re done, use the leftover club soda to celebrate with a Tom Collins or Gin Rickey. Cheers to a cleaner kitchen!


How to clean stainless steel appliances with baking soda


If your stainless steel appliances are rusting, baking soda — one of the most versatile cleaning tools — again comes to the rescue. 


Simply apply a bit of baking soda to a wet cloth and lightly rub the rusted area. Let it sit for a minute and wipe away the baking soda until the area is dry. Finish with a stainless steel polisher (more on that below) and buff off with a dry microfiber cloth or towel.


It’s hard to beat the results of baking soda, especially for cleaning stainless steel coffee pot or tea kettle appliances.   


Using store-bought stainless steel cleaners


If you’re not a fan of DIY projects, you can always try a cleaner from the store. However, products vary in their effectiveness. Some cleaners only work on certain surfaces, like sinks. Others include extra protection against fingerprints or other grime.


One multi-purpose stainless steel cleaner is the Weiman Stainless Steel Cleaner Wipes, which also come with a microfiber cloth for additional polishing. The wipes work on refrigerators, ovens, grills, coffee pots, and more and do a great job of removing fingerprints and smudges while adding shine to your appliances.


If you prefer a spray bottle instead of a wipe, Bar Keepers Friend offers a spray, and this bundle comes with a microfiber cloth. It works well on steel and metal appliances, removing dirt, grease, and stains. 


For a powder solution, Bon Ami Polishing Cleanser Powder is, as its French name implies, a “good friend” for cleaning the kitchen. Mix the powder with water in a bowl or cup to create a paste, then apply it to your appliance with a cloth or sponge. Let sit for a minute, wash away the paste with water, and use a cloth to buff dry. This Bon Ami product is hypoallergenic and has no chlorine or perfume, so you can use it on larger surfaces beyond your appliances, like bathtubs and showers.    


Other stainless steel care tips


The above methods will help you care for stainless steel appliances and help them last longer. Here are a few other cleaning tips to keep in mind:


You’ve likely heard about going with or against the grain for wooden products or shaving your face or legs. Stainless steel appliances have a grain, too, though they’re not always obvious. You want to go with the grain — if you can’t tell, test out your cleaning solution on a small portion of the appliance. Going with the grain will keep fingerprints, smudges, and other streaks away. 


A soft, microfiber cloth is the best way to clean stainless steel appliances without streaking. It’ll also reduce scratches and other damage that make appliances look like a tornado ran through the kitchen. Ideally, you’ll use one cloth to add the solution and another to buff it off, but using the same cloth works fine, too.


Avoid using heavy-duty or tough cleaning products on stainless steel. Bleach, ammonia, abrasive scour pads, and steel wool will lead to scuffs and discolorations.


Depending on where you live, you may have hard tap water. It’s perfectly okay to use, but you may see water spots on your appliances. Using distilled water will eliminate the likelihood of spots appearing.


Stainless steel cleaners designed for sinks or cookware often have different chemicals or formulas that are too harsh on appliances. Thoroughly check the directions and uses of any store-bought product to make sure it’s okay for your appliances. 


Now that you know how to care for stainless steel appliances, you’ll have a cleaner, more vibrant kitchen — whether you plan to host guests or simply want to enjoy some peace and quiet. View available AMH homes.


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