How to Clean Stainless Steel Appliances, According to the Brands Who Make Them

We talked to two major appliance brands to get their tips on maintaining clean, shiny stainless!

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April 01, 2021

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Professional gas range and range hood, white cabinet,  antique ceiling lamps, fine bone china teacups in cabinets. Chalk paint hand-painted stools. Antique brass fruit tray. Antique cherry wood tea tray.


Professional gas range and range hood, white cabinet, antique ceiling lamps, fine bone china teacups in cabinets. Chalk paint hand-painted stools. Antique brass fruit tray. Antique cherry wood tea tray.

Photo by: Chefmd/Getty Images

Chefmd/Getty Images

Stainless steel appliances are an aesthetically pleasing option for just about any kitchen. But the allure might wear off once you start noticing stubborn smudges, fingerprints and light scratches that your typical multi-purpose cleaner just can’t tackle. Similar to stainless steel pans, your appliances need minimal but specific products to maintain that desirable shine and manage cosmetic imperfections. To figure out the best ways to keep your stainless steel appliances looking good as new, we reached out to a couple brands for expert tips and product recommendations for removing smudges, scratches and fingerprints from any stainless steel surface.

It’s Worth It to Use a Stainless Steel Cleaner

If you’re working with stainless steel pans or have stainless steel appliances in your kitchen, it’s worth it to keep a cleaner made just for this material on-hand. Not only will these specialized products — such as Bar Keepers Friend and Weiman Stainless Steel Cleaner — give your appliances a good clean, they are also the best way to fix imperfections. According to a spokesperson from LG, the “benefit of commercial cleaners is that they will clean, remove some stains, buff some scratches, and polish at the same time.” No matter what product you’re using though, always make sure to test on a small, hidden spot first.

But Soap and Water Will Do the Trick

In a pinch, the spokesperson from LG also ensures that you can clean stainless steel with dish soap, water and a damp cloth. While you might not get the ideal shine that a specialized cleaner might give you, you will still get your appliance nice and clean.

Follow with a Polish

If cleaning with soap and water, the spokesperson from LG recommends following up with a polish or a small amount of baby or mineral oil. With a dry microfiber or cotton cloth, buff the surface with your oil of choice in the direction of the grain. This polishing will not only make your surface shine, but it can also help cover up small, shallow scratches, according to the spokesperson.

Clean With the Grain

Spokespeople from both LG and Samsung emphasized the importance of wiping down stainless steel along the direction of the grain, “as dirt is likely to stay in the small crevices and build over time,” according to a spokesperson from Samsung. The spokesperson ensured cleaning against the grain won’t harm the finish, but rather it might cause a streaky appearance and keep you from achieving the best possible shine on your stainless steel appliance.

Avoid Paper Towel

According to the representative from LG, cleaning a stainless steel surface with a paper towel might be counter-productive, since they can leave behind lint. Instead, opt for microfiber or cotton cloths when both cleaning and drying.

Avoid Abrasive Cleaners and Sponges

Cotton and microfiber cloths are great for more than the fact they won’t leave behind any lint — they are also gentle enough to clean your stainless steel without the risk of scratching your appliances. When cleaning, you never want to use an abrasive cleaner or sponge as they can scratch and further damage the stainless steel. The importance of using something gentle also goes for cleaners, too, which is why a spokesperson from LG also discouraged customers from using WD-40 on stainless steel appliances.

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