Store-bought stainless steel cleaners can be full of toxic ingredients. And frankly, you don’t even need to spend the money on them because you probably already have the items you need to clean your stainless steel appliances! If not, they are incredibly cheap anyway. Not only is this the BEST homemade stainless steel cleaner, it’s also the easiest and cost effective.
How to Clean Stainless Steel Appliances
Someone pinch me.
We closed on our beautiful house a couple weeks ago and I could not be happier or more content! Partially because I hate renting and am glad to have a place to call my own – but mostly because the whole house buying and moving process is just insane. Throw a toddler into the mix and I was ready to find a nice cardboard box and live in it in the middle of a field or something.
Thankfully, I managed I maintain my mental state (which, you know, isn’t promising to begin with, ha!) and we got through it. And are so thankful! But with a new house comes some adjusting. The light switches (whose genius idea was it to put THREE light switches on one plate?!), navigating the corners of the unfamiliar counters (yep, bruised my hip), and learning how to care for the new appliances.
WD-40 to Clean Stainless Steel Appliances?
When our new refrigerator was being delivered this week, the delivery guy told us just to clean it with WD-40 and a microfiber cloth. Of course, I nodded along. But after he left I turned to my husband and said, “You know there’s no way I’m using WD-40, right?” He laughed and said, “Do you.” (Isn’t he poetic?)
The Material Safety Data Sheet for WD-40 states it is “harmful or fatal if swallowed” (uhhhh) and may cause skin irritation. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to put something on toxic my fridge that I will touch before grabbing a snack for my child. And said child also touches the fridge with his little fingers. No thanks.
Is Baby Oil Safe to Use on Appliances?
I have also heard baby oil being recommended as a stainless steel polish. While “baby oil” sounds safe, it’s quite the opposite. Baby oil is a mineral oil. Mineral oils have been connected to hormonal imbalances – which can lead to a whole slew of problems with general and reproductive health.
Again, because we are touching the fridge many times a day, all day long, for years and years…I do not recommend using baby oil or any type of mineral oil to polish your stainless steel appliances.
So the big question: what cleans stainless steel appliances the best? And in the safest way for our families? Vinegar and olive oil!
DIY Stainless Steel Cleaner How-To
Trust me when I say it couldn’t be any easier. With two ingredients and two cloths, all of your appliances will look shiny and brand new!
First, a vinegar and water mixtures cleans your appliances – without those harsh chemicals mentioned above. I keep a spray bottle specifically labeled for this mixture under my sink. You can get heavy duty spray bottles on Amazon.
Then, olive oil (yup, the stuff you cook with!) will buff away any leftover finger prints, and also fend them off for a little while. Olive oil is the key to keeping your stainless steel appliances shiny.
You will want to use a soft cloth to do this, like these microfiber cloths.
QUICK HOW-TO VIDEO:
Best Homemade Stainless Steel Cleaner
- 1 part vinegar, 1 part water - mixed together a spray bottle
- Olive oil
Spray the cleaning solution (vinegar + water) directly on the fridge. Be generous with it.
Look closely, and you’ll see that your stainless steel appliances have a distinct grain direction - it will be going either vertically or horizontally. (All of my Samsung and GE appliances have horizontal grain.) Take a soft cloth or a microfiber cloth and wipe your appliances with it going with the grain. You'll notice that while some marks will wipe off, others won't. And that's okay for now!
Once your appliance is good and dry, put a little olive oil onto a dry cloth and rub it in - again, going with the grain. This is the step that will really buff out those unappealing fingerprint marks all over your appliances (and also prevent them from showing up.)
If you aren't crazy about the smell of vinegar, don't worry, it won't linger for long. But, citrus-infused vinegar smells wonderful if you'd rather try that!
Bonus Tip: How to Clean Your Stainless Steel Sink
As you may have guessed, cleaning a stainless steel sink looks a little different than an appliance. Because of the use we get out of a sink, obviously an olive oil polish isn’t practical.
- Clean with same vinegar solution mentioned above.
- Or, you can also use a sliced lemon – I do this when I have a slice leftover from making a smoothie or another recipe. Just rub the lemon slice all over the sink and faucet.
- Scrub away any tough spots with baking soda: Simply mix a little baking soda and water together until it forms a paste. If the tough spot is super tough, let the paste sit for 15-20 minutes on top of the spot before scrubbing away.
- Rinse & dry with a towel.
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