8 Tips to Better Clean Your Stainless Steel Equipment
Stainless steel is very popular nowadays because of how sturdy, reliable and long-lasting it is. From appliances, to sinks, worktables, and shelving, there are many products that are most practical when made from stainless steel. However, fingerprints, water drips, spills and other little accidents seem to happen often, and take away the beautiful shine and clean look. One common mistake with stainless steel is leaving that the mess or spill to clean later, doing this will increase the probability of stains or damage to the finish, and therefore should not be done. A store-bought stainless steel cleaner will help you restore that shine and keep your stainless steel clean, however the price is not cheap. There are other ways to clean stainless steel, which we will discuss further in this article.
First things first, the manufacturer knows best. Make sure to read the manual that comes with your stainless steel products. There is a variety of stainless steel grades that can affect the level of durability, as well as different finishes that may require specific products. To make sure that your choice of cleaning technique is effective and safe for your stainless steel product, always do a test in a small, non-noticeable area before moving on to the whole surface. Provided that none of the following tips and tricks go against what is advised in the manufacturing manual, here are a few things to keep in mind when cleaning stainless steel:
Wipe with the grain
Just like wood, stainless steel has a grain. Look closely at your stainless steel, you are going to want to wipe in the same direction as the grain in order to get the best clean. If you’re not sure of the grain’s direction, try wiping in both directions with a clean cloth, whichever way feels like there is a bit of resistance is against the grain. While going against the grain won’t ruin your stainless steel, it won’t get it as nice and shiny compared to with-the-grain wiping.
What to use
Microfiber cloths are ideal to use when cleaning stainless steel. 100% cotton is also very effective as it leaves almost no lint. Paper towels can also be used; however, it does leave some lint behind and therefore will not give the perfect clean.
What not to use
Do not use any abrasives, steel wool, scouring powders, bleach, ammonia, chlorine-based cleaners and other harsh products like these, as they can ruin the stainless steel’s finish and weaken its resistance to rust and damage. If you are using water to clean your stainless steel, opt for distilled water. Tap water can be harsh and leave spots or cause stains.
The first thing to try is to simply wipe the surface in the direction of the grain with a dry, clean cloth. Dipping your cloth in warm water and wiping the stainless steel is another simple solution, just make sure to dry it completely with a clean towel to avoid water spots or streaks. If there are still smudges and unwanted spots after this, try one of the following tricks.
You just need to put a little bit of dish soap on your cloth, and then dampen your cloth with water. Wipe the stainless steel along the grain, and finish by drying the area with a clean towel to remove all excess water. Next, you can polish the stainless steel with mineral oil for a brighter shine, see below.
Before considering this option, make sure that your stainless steel doesn’t have an oleophobic finish, as vinegar could strip this from the surface. If the product manual permits it, fill a completely clean spray bottle with 1 part white vinegar, 1 part distilled water, and spray it on your stainless steel surfaces. With a clean cloth, wipe the surface dry in the direction of the grain. When there are no more spots to remove, dampen another clean cloth in distilled water, and wipe the stainless steel again, making sure that there is no more vinegar on the surface. For the tougher spots, use undiluted vinegar. Lastly, take a third clean cloth and wipe the surface dry to avoid water spots or streaks. Once again, to polish the area, use mineral oil as mentioned before.
Mineral Oil/Olive Oil
Mineral/olive oil is great to use if you want to get that in-store, brand-new shine. Dampen a clean cloth in mineral or olive oil and rub it into the surface while working with the grain. Although this makes your stainless steel shine beautifully, it can attract more smudges in the next few days, so it’s up to you on how often you would like to reapply.
Another trick to cleaning stainless steel is using club soda. Fill a completely clean spray bottle with club soda and spray the stainless steel surface. Wipe with a clean cloth along the grain, then dry completely with a dry cloth or towel to ensure that there are no water spots or streaks left behind.
Let us know which method is your favourite for keeping your stainless steel equipment clean!
This post is also available in: French