how to clean stainless steel
Kitchen Cleaning

How To Clean Stainless Steel

Are your stainless steel appliances, sinks, cutlery, or pans looking scratched or dull? Follow these simple tips on cleaning stainless steel for shiny results!

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 clean stainless steel so that it looks as good as new; you can easily use them as guidelines explaining how to clean stainless steel appliances, cutlery, pans and even a sink!

Why Is It Important to Know How to Clean Stainless Steel Pans and Other Objects?

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 and to know how to clean stainless steel sink basins, cooker tops and fridges in order to keep the metal looking good and performing at a high standard.

clean stainless steel

How to Clean Stainless Steel Cutlery, Pans, Appliances, & Sinks

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.

With any cleaning product, whether homemade or store-bought, you should always test your method on a small, unnoticeable area of your stainless steel first to check its efficacy and to avoid potential damage to your belongings. Read the label on any commercial products to ensure the best, safest results.

For light marks and daily maintenance, simply:

  1. Treat stainless steel with some hot water and a cloth or sponge.
  2. Add a little good quality dishwashing liquid or use a bar of soap, if preferred – we like the SUNLIGHT range.
  3. Use on everything from cutlery to cooking surfaces.

How to Clean Stainless Steel with Marks & Stains

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 cleaning product that can be used on stainless steel (just check the label for advice) or a specialised stainless steel cleaner and apply it directly to the appliance using a sponge and following the instructions on the label. 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 keep metal as dry as possible, so water spots don’t occur.

Just follow these steps and your stainless steel will soon be gleaming once more!

Top Tip


Using homemade cleaning products carries some risk, as these solutions can be quite abrasive – that’s why we recommend cleaning your belongings with a store-bought cleaner whenever possible, and testing small areas first before applying anything.