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How to clean stainless steel appliances

Woman wearing yellow rubber gloves cleaning a stainless steel refrigerator

When you first install your stainless steel dishwasher, oven, refrigerator, or other appliance, it always looks spotless. However, stainless steel appliances require proper care to prevent damage and maintain that sparkly shine. All it takes is a few weeks of use for those water spots and grease splatters to build up.

Appliances are some of the household items we rely on most, and keeping them protected is important. An extended warranty plan can help ensure your stainless steel appliances are covered in the event of an accident, damage, or anything else that might happen. To help you keep your appliances looking brand new, we’ve put together some of our favorite tips and DIY maintenance methods.

What are stainless steel cleaning basics?

First, there are some basics that it's important to know when it comes to stainless steel appliances and how to care for them.

  • Clean appliances regularly. Wipe your appliances down regularly with a soft cloth or sponge and mild soap and water to remove fingerprints, dirt, and smudges. Don’t use abrasive cleaners, bleach, or ammonia-based products, as they can damage the stainless steel surface.
  • Avoid harsh scrubbers. Don’t use abrasive or steel wool scrubbers on your stainless steel appliances, as they can leave permanent damage on the surface.
  • Wipe with the grain. Make sure you wipe in the direction of the grain to avoid leaving scratches on the surface of your appliances. It’s usually visible on the surface of the stainless steel and runs in a straight line.
  • Dry thoroughly. When you’re done cleaning your appliances, dry them completely with a clean, soft cloth to prevent water spots and streaks.
  • Be careful of heat. Avoid placing hot pots and pans directly on your stainless steel appliances, as this can cause discoloration and damage. Use potholders or trivets to protect the surface.
  • Use protective film during storage. If you’re moving or renovating, consider using a protective film to cover your appliances. This will help protect stainless steel from scratches and damage during the renovation or moving process.

How should you clean stainless steel with household items?

In the same way that you would use club soda to lift a stain from a piece of clothing, there are plenty of DIY tricks to help clean your stainless steel items with standard household supplies.

  • Window or glass cleaner. Using a glass cleaner that is both ammonia-free and vinegar-free, spray a dry cloth and wipe the surface clean.
  • Baby oil. One of the best ways to remove fingerprints from stainless steel is with baby oil, or any other mineral oil you might have on hand.
  • Dish detergent. Add one teaspoon of your strongest dish detergent to one quart of hot tap water. Using a microfiber cloth, rub away marks and stains with the solution. Don’t forget to go with the metal’s grain, rinse with clean hot water, and dry completely with a clean, dry cloth.

Of course, if you have a specialized stainless steel cleaner, that’s always ideal, but you can use these methods when you’re in a pinch, or if you just prefer to avoid certain types of cleaning agents.


At the end of the day, you want your appliances to last as long as possible. The better you are at maintenance and upkeep, the better chances you have of them lasting longer. To add an extra layer of protection, you can install the Mulberry browser extension and get the best product protection plans on the market. Not only can you qualify for free plans, but you’ll even get rewards for shopping.

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Kim Miller

About the author

Kim Miller is the Head of Consumer Marketing at Mulberry. She is passionate about building products and brands that make consumers happy, save them money and make their lives easier. Have an innovative idea for Mulberry you'd like to share? Give her a shout! She'd love to chat about anything from fintech and UX to gardening and antiquing.

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