How to Clean and Polish Stainless Steel

Stainless steel, aka ‘where fingerprints have their vacation homes’ is striking and modern – but when it’s smudged it can be an eyesore. Let us give you a quick and simple primer on maintaining stainless steel.

Best product to use for cleaning stainless steel?

In order from least to most expensive:

  • Water – surprisingly water will do a great job of wiping away most fingerprints and grime.
  • Dish Soap – always on hand, and gets the job done.
  • Rubbing alcohol – Tackles more stubborn residue, dries quickly
  • Commercial Cleaner – These products are designed to clean effectively and also leave a protective coating behind so the surface shines

Warning: avoid abrasive cleaners as they can scratch or dull the surface. Also, refrain from using steel wool or brushes – even if you have a stubborn mess. Lastly, chlorine and bleach products are a definite enemy of stainless steel surfaces, so steer clear.

How to Clean Stainless Steel

  • Gather your supplies, and make sure that includes a lint-free cloth or rag. Go with a microfiber or 100% cotton option for best results.
  • Apply your preferred cleaning agent to the surface or directly to your cloth.
  • Wipe in the direction of the grain. (To determine the direction, look closely at the surface and you’ll see tons of little lines running either vertically or horizontally. Follow them as you wipe to avoid any tiny particles getting trapped.)
  • Follow immediately with a dry cloth to prevent any spotting

How do I polish Stainless Steel?

If you chose a commercially available product, then it probably includes polish as part of the formula. As long as you followed the directions on the label your surface is most likely looking good!

If you are DIY’er to the core, you can polish stainless steel with olive or mineral oil. Just apply a small amount to a dry, clean cloth and wipe it on the surface along the grain lines.

Let us know in the comments if you know any other tricks to keeping stainless steel looking its best!

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1 Comment

  • I use Liquid Gold furniture polish on a microfiber cloth. Works amazing!