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How to clean stainless steel fast to make it look brand new in no time

Don’t let dirt compromise your stainless steel appliances. Here’s how to keep them clean and shiny.


how to clean stainless steel

Most kitchens are kitted out with stainless steel appliances, crockery and cutlery. Why? Because it’s durable, rust-resistant and (for the most part) resistant to corrosion too.

However, the word ‘stainless’ can be misleading, as it implies stainless steel is completely immune to stains. This isn’t strictly true. Compared to other metals and alloys, stainless steel is the most resistant – but like anything, it can still get dirty, and that grime can compromise its stain-resistant superpowers.

With this in mind, it’s important to know how to clean and shine stainless steel. Plus, knowing how to keep stainless steel clean will have a big impact on the cleanliness of your entire kitchen. Read our handy guide to keep your stainless steel surfaces gleaming.

Despite the rumours, stainless steel can go in the dishwasher – just make sure to look for the dishwasher safe symbol. Use powerful dishwashing tablets so you don’t have to pre-wash pots and pans – we like Sunlight Extra Power.

How to clean stainless steel

There are several things to note before getting started on the cleaning itself.

  • Wear rubber gloves and protect your clothes

  • Avoid harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaning materials such as wiresteel wool

  • Read the manufacturer’s instructions before using a cleaning product

  • Always test the product on an inconspicuous area first

Now, how do you clean and shine stainless steel using a stainless steel dishwasher. Using a commercial stainless steel cleaner will bring your appliances up beautifully shiny, or you can use two basic household essentials – vinegar and oil. It may sound like a salad dressing, but together they do a great job of eliminating water marks and fingerprints. Here’s how to do it:

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  1. Spray your dishwasher liberally generously with vinegar to pre-clean.

  2. Wipe it down using either a paper towel or a very soft cloth (such as a microfibre cloth). Remember to wipe in the direction of the grain, which will either be running horizontally or vertically. This should remove the initial debris from your appliance and start to shine it up a bit.

  3. Dip your microfibre cloth into a little bit of oil. Olive oil works fine.

  4. Polish your appliance with your oiled-up cloth, wiping in the direction of the grain. Watch as the marks disappear and your dishwasher is restored to its original shiny self.

This technique will work on most stainless steel appliances, including sinks and hobs. If you want to clean the inside of your dishwasher, put a dishwasher-safe container of vinegar in the bottom rack and run an empty hot cycle. This will give it a thorough clean and eliminate any odours.

How to clean stainless steel cutlery

Wondering how to clean stainless steel cutlery? Use your newly cleaned stainless steel dishwasher! You may have heard that stainless steel should never be put in the dishwasher, but this is actually a myth.

Some stainless steel items can be machine washed – just be sure to look for the dishwasher safe symbol or check the manufacturer’s instructions. If you don’t plan on running a cycle immediately, it may be worth rinsing pots and pans before loading. Or, save time and use extra-strength dishwashing tablets like Sunlight Extra Power, which are designed to lift away heavy stains on dishes, pans and non-prewashed pots.

So there you have it – how to keep stainless steel clean and ensure your kitchen has a brilliant shine!

  • Use a commercial cleaner or vinegar and olive oil

  • Wipe in the direction of the grain, using a soft, non-abrasive cloth

  • Test products on an inconspicuous area first

  • Some stainless steel can go in the dishwasher – always check for the symbol

Originally published