Whether it be a saucepan or the kitchen sink, most of us own at least one stainless steel item in the home; the combination of practicality and an attractive brushed finish makes it perfect for everyday use. Despite the name, however, the metal can lose its sheen and become stained and dirty if not cared for properly. Read on for some handy tips on how to keep your stainless steel looking as good as new.
How to Clean Stainless Steel
You don’t necessarily need to use harsh chemicals to clean stainless steel. In fact, avoid solutions containing bleach or anything abrasive, as this may cause further damage. Always try to wipe or scrub with the grain – rather than in circular motions – to maintain that brushed finish. Don’t forget to wear protective clothing and keep the area where you are cleaning well ventilated.
For light marks and daily maintenance, simply:
- Treat stainless steel with some hot water and a cloth or sponge.
- Add a little washing up liquid, if needed.
- Use on everything from cutlery to cooking surfaces.
How to Remove Marks and Spills from Stainless Steel
- If you have problems with fingerprints and water spots, glass cleaner can double as a stainless steel cleaner; just spray onto the steel surface and wipe with a microfibre cloth. Rinse the steel after you’ve finished and buff the surface with a dry cloth or towel.
- For dried-on food spills and stains, buy a cream or stainless steel cleaner and apply it directly to the appliance using a sponge. Have an old toothbrush handy for any awkward areas around things like taps and hob plates.
- For tougher stains, use baking soda; simply mix a thick paste using a tablespoon of soda with a little water. Coat the problem area and leave for half an hour, then rub with a damp cloth, rinse and dry.
How to Polish and Protect Stainless Steel
If you notice your stainless steel hardware is getting scratched or dull, polishing it will help to restore its appearance and build up its protective surface. Here are a few options:
- Buy specialist stainless steel polish.
- Use natural alternatives: after using your chosen stainless steel cleaner and rinsing away, apply vinegar or lemon juice directly to your cloth and wipe over the surface – or pour a concentrated solution into an empty spray bottle – and apply.
- Use baby or olive oil: pour a small amount onto a dry cloth and rub it all over the appliance, remembering to work with the grain. Leave for a few minutes, then, wipe the oil away with a paper towel.
Regular care makes cleaning stainless steel a straightforward task, and your fittings and appliances will keep their shine for much longer as a result. Try to prevent stains by:
- Mopping up spillages as soon as they happen to avoid permanent marks.
- Rinsing with water after applying chemicals.
- Always keeping metal as dry as possible, so water spots don’t occur.
So, Why Is It Important to Clean Stainless Steel?
Stainless steel is a material that is used extensively in the kitchen due to its general resilience against things like heat and corrosion, along with a pretty good level of stain resistance. Usually, the chromium within stainless steel reacts to oxygen in the air and forms a protective film, preventing problems like rust and reducing the risk of permanent marks. If the steel surface is coated with grease or dirt, however, this reaction can’t happen and the steel is more vulnerable to corrosion and wear.
It’s important, therefore, to have a regular regime in place for cleaning stainless steel sinks, cooker tops and fridges in order to keep the metal looking good and performing at a high standard. Just follow these steps, and your stainless steel will soon be gleaming once more!