How to Clean Stainless Steel Appliances

So you finally got those stainless steel appliances that you've been saving up for.

They were beautiful - for a week! But now, they are full of fingerprints, food, smears and streaks.

You have purchased stainless steel cleaners by the dozens. You have spent more than you are willing to admit on stainless steel polish, only to get mediocre results, at best.

Save yourself some money and time! 


 Never buy stainless steel polish or cleaner again! 

It is tempting, I know, because I have been there.  You are standing in the cleaning products aisle and there it is.... a $12 promise to make your appliances shine.

You have never seen this one before and since it is new, it must be improved!

Maybe they have finally figured it out?

A stainless steel cleaner that actually works?

Could it be? You have to buy it!  What's another twelve bucks?  If it works, it is totally worth the money! 

Let me just tell you, it doesn't work! It is nothing more than grease in a can to temporarily add an oily finish to your appliances and give you the perception that your surface is actually clean.  It leaves a residue and collects fingerprints and dust. 

A day after you apply the cleaner you will be back to the same old smeared up stainless steel, wishing you hadn't wasted your money.

Now you are getting after your kids for touching it.  Chasing the dog around so he will keep his nose off of it. As you walk by you give the refrigerator a swipe to brush off the collected dust, which results in a smeared up mess! 

Feeling defeated, you add the new cleaner to your collection under the sink because you don't actually want to throw your money in the trash. 

Who knows, in an emergency you may need to use it again to get a quick shine on your fridge for a get together.

At  least you can make your appliances shine for a couple of hours.  Even if you can't actually get them clean, it's still fun to pretend they are! 

Wouldn't it be nice to just to get those babies clean?

Like super clean - for real?  A clean that doesn't collect fingerprints and dust. A clean that exposes the true surface of your stainless stell without the film. 

Stainless was made to shine! 

Getting down to the original, bare bones luster of stainless steel is the goal for both getting it clean and keeping it looking fantastic for the long haul.

With no residue to smear around and remove every time you clean the surface, the job only takes a minute and you will have to do it less often. 

Before I share my stainless steel cleaning secret... I want to tell you that when I say I have tried everything under the sun to clean stainless, I am not kidding! 

I started professionally cleaning before stainless steel appliances were a thing. It was black or white for the most part.  I hated the black appliances because they were harder to get clean, mostly because of the water spots.   

Little did I know, that as my clients updated their kitchens, soon I would run into appliances that would leave me wishing they had just kept the old ones, no matter what color or how old they were. 

Why in the world would anyone want stainless steel? 

Maybe because it looks beautiful after I spend an hour fussing with it?  No, that couldn't be, because it was absolutely trashed by my next visit so it could not have looked nice for long! 

I told myself it was a fad and I just had to live through it. Unfortunately though, it became more and more popular and I could see that it was not going away.  

If I had the hours back that I spent trying different approaches to cleaning stainless, I think it would add at least 7 years to my life, maybe 8! 

Finally a solution to cleaning Stainless Steel! 

I figured it out by accident! 

That's right, nothing I tried on purpose, spent money on or thought would be the answer ever actually worked the way I dreamed it would.  

One day I had a chronically dirty stainless steel refrigerator. Fingerprints and food all set in oil because it was greased up for a quick shine between cleanings. 

I was looking through my arsenal of cleaning supplies trying to decide what to try next on this filthy masterpiece. 

I decided to give it a prewash with my go-to cleaning cloth, Toryen, just to get the chunks off and soften up all of the nasty yuck. 

(Check out why I love Toryen)

I dipped my Toryen in a sink of hot water, wrung it out and wiped down the fridge.

(Due to the Coronavirus outbreak, you may want to add a disinfectant to your washwater. I highly recommend this EPA Registered Disinfectant. Infact, I think it is about the best money you could spend right now to protect your family by keeping surfaces in your home disinfected.)

My intention was to then let it sit and soak for a couple of minutes while I figured out what to use next. (I never use any polish with my cloth because it clogs the poors. I had always used paper towel or some sort of throw away rag with stainless polish and cleaner so I wasnt dragging the oil to another kitchen surface.)

I decided on some sort of polish/cleaner specifically to clean stainless, knowing I would surely be disappointed in the results, again, but hey I had to try something! 

As I turned around to face the refrigerator I could not believe my eyes! 

Really, it was like a light was shining down from the heavens on this beautiful stainless steel appliance!

How in the H E double hockey sticks?

Did I do that with just my cleaning cloth?

I must have!

After all the money, time, frustration and troubleshooting, I had the solution to cleaning stainless steel appliances with me at every job, in my hand, the whole time. It was so easy!  How did I not think of this? 

Since that day, I have never spent more than one minute a piece cleaning a stainless steel appliances. 

Since then I have never had a stainless steel appliance I was not able to clean to perfection.  

Today I say "Stainless Steel Appliances - Bring It On!" 

Buy Toryen Cleaning Cloth

If you have years of build up from product, a haze from the coating that originally came on the surface to protect the finish or just a literal layer of yuck on your stainless steel, I would recommend one of these methods to strip the surface before cleaning. 

1. Steam it with a hand steamer. (easiest)

This hand steamer works well and is useful for all sorts of cleaning jobs around the house. 

2. Gently scrub with Barkeepers Friend and wet cloth following the grain of the stainless.  Wipe Away. 

You can purchase Barkeepers Friend here from Williams Sonoma.

Once you get down to the actual surface, you too will never spend more than one minute cleaning each of your stainless steel appliances again with Toryen!  No streaks, smears, scratches, lint or residue! 

Buy Toryen Cleaning Cloth

 How does it work? 

Toryen is a low pile cleaning cloth made from super tiny fibers woven in a endless filament.  These characteristics create some fabulous yuck sucking pores that clean tight to the surface and remove even the smallest particles of what's griming up your stainless.  

How to make stainless steel shine?

Like I said before, it's super easy! 

1.  Get Toryen wet with warm water. 

2.  Wring it out well.

3.  Wipe your Stainless Steel to a sparkling shine. 

4.  Let it dry to reveal a flawless finish. 

If you are the person who just has to use something other than warm water for cleaning - try one of these.

Dawn Dish Soap - just a couple drops in your water

Vinegar - add a half cup to a gallon of warm water

Theives Cleaner - add a cap full  to a spray bottle of water.  This stuff is the best ever!  For everything! 

There's nothing you can't clean with Theives & Toryen!

Buy Theives Cleaner

That's it folks.  The best way to clean your stainless steel appliances figured out by accident, after a whole lot of disappointment with stainless steel cleaners and polishes, by yours truly!  

Happy Cleaning, 


 Check out our great before and after cleaning photos






















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