How to Clean Stainless Steel Refrigerators

While stainless steel resists rust and corrosion, there is a downside: The sleek appearance shows every single fingerprint, smudge, water spot and streak. Here’s how to clean stainless steel refrigerators.

How to clean stainless steel refrigeratorMasterPhoto/Shutterstock

Stainless steel refrigerators remain the go-to in most American kitchens, outselling white and black models by a long shot. Jill Notini, a spokesperson for the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers, says that stainless appliances have continued to increase in popularity over the past six years. While stainless steel resists rust and corrosion, there is a downside: The sleek appearance shows every single fingerprint, smudge, water spot and streak. Here’s how to clean stainless steel refrigerators.

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Clean Stainless Steel With Things You Already Have

At-home solutions to clean stainless steel are easy, inexpensive and effective. Use a simple combination of white vinegar and olive oil, or dish soap and baby oil, for regular cleans. Another cheap homemade option: Club soda stored in a spray bottle.

Apply your DIY concoction-of-choice, then wipe the surface with a microfiber cloth, going with the grain. Not sure which direction the grain runs? Experts with Compact Alliance say to wipe opposite ways in side-by-side patches, to see if you can detect the difference.

Rinse your cloth, then wipe again, repeating until clean. Dry the cleaned surface with a fresh microfiber cloth.

Finish the job by dabbing your dry cloth with a little olive oil, mineral oil or baby oil, and smoothing it over the surface. This will add shine, get rid of any remaining streaks and help prevent fingerprints.

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How to Get Grime and Grit Off a Stainless Steel Refrigerator

Experts at Consumer Reports say you can effectively remove caked-on food and grease with a homemade paste of baking soda and warm water. Scrub the area with the paste using a soft cloth or sponge, then wipe it clean with your wet microfiber cloth and then towel dry.

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Commercial Products for Cleaning Stainless Steel Refrigerators

If you prefer store-bought cleaners, Amazon customers swear by Weiman Stainless Steel Canister Wipes as they “remove hand prints and smudges better than anything else.” Simple Green’s Stainless Steel One-Step Cleaner and Therapy’s Stainless Steel Cleaner + Polish are also popular products that work well on stainless steel refrigerators.

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Can I Use Windex on My Stainless Steel Appliances?

Consumer Reports advises against using harsh abrasives, scouring powders, steel wool, bleach and glass cleaners that contain ammonia, like Windex, as all of these can harm the surface of your appliance.

You might also check your owner’s manual and the manufacturer’s website for other cleaners to avoid, according to Consumer Reports. For example, Samsung warns against using a grout cleaner with muriatic acid on a kitchen’s tile flooring, as the fumes can damage the finish of stainless steel appliances.

Other don’ts include abrasive sponges or scrubber pads, oven cleaner and any chlorine-based cleaners or ones with chloride. Harsh tap water can also cause spots or stains.

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Shawnna Stiver
Shawnna is a veteran lifestyle, marketing and news content writer, currently contributing to ecommerce companies in the parenting and babies space. She has had the pleasure of writing traditional, digital and social content for the following industries: beauty, consumer goods, entrepreneurship, financial services, health/wellness, home improvement/DIY, lifestyle, non-profit, parenting and self improvement. For a dose of positivity and to see innovative ways companies are doing good in the world, check out her website: www.kindco.org