Home Remedies for Cleaning Stainless Steel

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Providing a durable yet attractive look, stainless steel is a popular choice for objects built to last. The material is used to create kitchen appliances, sinks, jewelry, silverware, and many other objects. One complaint is how it attracts fingerprints – leaving behind oily smears. To restore your shine and keep items clean, you may want to consider home remedies for cleaning stainless steel.

What is Stainless Steel?

With more than 10% of chromium, stainless steel is categorized as an alloy of iron. This type of steel is noted for its hardness and is often found in the kitchen – in sinks, flatware, refrigerators, and appliance features. When it’s made, a small amount of the chromium in the alloy is used to form the hard oxide coating on the surface. If corrosion or wear takes place, the steel will rust like regular steel.

Stainless Steel Home Remedies

Fingerprints are one of the biggest threats for a stainless steel object – especially if you have kids running around the house. For example, just one touch on a refrigerator door, and the oils from your hands can create a glaring blemish. The following home remedies for cleaning stainless steel will offer ideas for quick fixes and other tricks:

a) Pledge:

Pledge is a popular dusting spray that can also help clean your stainless steel objects.

b) Baking Soda:

Use a moist cloth to add shine to stainless steel objects by rubbing in a small amount of baking soda. Make sure that you move in the direction of the grain.

c) Vinegar:

With a spray bottle filled with undiluted white vinegar, mist your stainless steel objects (such as fixtures around the home), and then buff with a soft cloth to make shiny. To clean water spots off of stainless steel silverware, rub with a little distilled white vinegar – followed by a warm water rinse.

d) Vinegar and Dishwashing Liquid:

To make a multi-purpose cleaner that handles objects made with stainless steel – combine two parts water, one part distilled white vinegar, and a couple drops of dishwashing liquid. Add the ingredients to a spray bottle.

e) Baby Oil:

Use a soft cloth to rub in a couple drop of baby oil into stainless steel objects, including kitchen appliances and bathroom fixtures around your house. This remedy not only helps remove stains, but also encourages a healthy shine.

f) Hair Conditioner [1]:

From your kitchen faucet to your golf clubs, you can use hair conditioner to bring out the shine on your stainless steel items around the house. Apply and then rub in using a soft cloth.

g) Ammonia:

Combine four parts water and one part household ammonia to create a cleaning remedy for stainless steel. Wipe clean the object using a paper towel. The ammonia will also help cut through any buildup of grease.

h) Warm Soapy Water:

Treat your high-quality stainless steel trinkets (bracelets, necklaces, earrings, rings, cuff-links and watches) with warm, soapy water. Proper care will ensure a long life and increased durability. Gently rub with a soft cloth to keep jewelry free of dirt and dust. Follow the grain of the stainless steel to avoid creating scratches. Use a different soft cloth to gently wipe dry.

i) Toothpaste:

To treat grimier stainless steel jewelry pieces, apply plain white toothpaste that doesn’t contain silica using a soft cloth. Wipe clean with a cloth dipped in plain warm water. You may need to use a clean toothbrush to remove remaining toothpaste. Gently wipe dry with a different soft cloth.

j) Windex:

When your stainless steel objects have become smudged or dotted with fingerprints, spray on a bit of window cleaner (such as Windex), and then wipe clean using a paper towel.

k) Apple Cider Vinegar:

When looking to polish your stainless steel objects, clean with undiluted apple cider vinegar. This remedy is good for treating heat stains or shining up stainless steel cutlery. Wipe clean using a paper towel.

l) Club Soda:

To remove streaks from stainless steel, rub down with club soda. This remedy will also address heat stains that can form on kitchen appliances and other objects.

m) Dish Detergent:

To treat stainless steel utensils hampered by grease, dish detergent can help. Transfer your silverware to a sink or basin, and cover with white vinegar. Allow the items to soak for about 30 minutes. Wet a dishcloth with white vinegar, and add a couple of drops of liquid dish soap. Wipe off the silverware to remove spots. Rinse with water, and completely dry the silverware before storing.

n) Do Not Use Silver Cleaners:

When cleaning stainless steel – never use silver cleaners or polish or you run the risk of leaving behind a stain.

o) Used, Clean Toothbrush:

The bristles of a toothbrush are effective in cleaning the small crevices of stainless steel objects, such as a watch band. Gently scrub, and then follow up with a rinse of warm water.

p) Lemon Juice:

It is not uncommon to see a cloudy residue build up on your stainless steel pans over time. This is a result of making pasta or potato dishes. Remove this residue by using a little bit of lemon juice.


[1] Extraordinary Uses for Ordinary Things by Reader’s Digest; pg. 181.