Maintaining your home clean is full of ironies, don’t you think? You need to wash your bathtub, even though water runs there every time you use it as well as your washing machine and your dishwasher. It’s funny that even our modern-looking stainless-steel appliances need maintenance too. The name “stainless” in the case of our fridge, oven, microwave, toaster, or anything made from stainless steel doesn’t mean it stays spotless forever. On the contrary, this surface is the easiest to notice when it gets dirty because it loses its shine, and it looks very cloudy. Unfortunately, the cloudiness is not from your poor eyesight, it is an accumulated grease together with fingerprints and dust. Like everything else, those surfaces need regular maintenance to keep up with their futuristic robotic-like looks. Believe me, it is not hard, but it requires some time. And of course, you have to repeat the steps every once in a while. It’s not “clean it and forget it” (even though we wish it were). Give some love to your stainless-steel appliances so that you can enjoy them for longer.
Table of contents
- Things to that we probably don’t realise are made from stainless-steel
- Get rid of rust on the stainless steel
- Cleaning the appliances in the kitchen
- Don’t stop only with the home appliances.
It has been a tendency in the last decade for interior design to use increasingly more stainless-steel appliances. It gives a more modern look-and-feel to our home, especially the kitchen. There has been a focus on simplicity and convenience, subtle colours of the walls and the drawers such as grey, dark or light wood. If you open an IKEA catalogue, you would see a dozen of examples for this emerging style of design. This style relies heavily on the stainless-steel appliances, so this is a problem that affects most of us.
Things to that we probably don’t realise are made from stainless-steel
Okay, probably this sounds obvious to you, but it’s tricky. There are so many things made from this material that we overlook because we focus on big appliances. Such as:
The stainless-steel sink
Yes, you probably didn’t think of the sink immediately when you start cleaning the stainless-steel surfaces in the kitchen. Usually, this is the surface that needs the most attention out of the whole kitchen as we place there dirty dishes and glasses. There are leftover food and spilt liquids that leave marks. Also, water leaves residue on the surface, especially in homes with hard water supply. One thing you can do is to buy a filter to place on the faucet. There are many out there on the market. It will not only help you maintain your sink but also it won’t harm the utensils you are washing. Before you place a plate in the sink, throw or put away all the food, don’t just leave it in the sink.
Stainless-steel pans and pots
Not everyone has stainless steel pans in their kitchen, but for my cooking lovers out there, you need to maintain those pans, so they don’t wear out fast. The most important thing for the pans and pots is to be extremely careful not to scratch them. When you are cooking something in them, use a wooden spoon preferably, and when you clean them don’t use a scrubbing wire.
The most effective way to clean a stainless-steel pot is to soak it in dish soap and warm water and then gently, with a regular sponge, scrub out the grease.
Did you even think the list of things made out of stainless steel is this extensive? Our cutlery – when used regularly, the surface of the cutlery gets dull, and some black marks may occur. If the dish soap is not working, you can employ the old trusty baking soda. Mix the soda with dish soap to form a paste, then rub it on the dirty cutlery. This process should get all the spots off of them, then take a cloth and olive oil (or mineral oil). Damp the fabric with a little bit of the oil, and go over the cutlery to bring them back the shine and also get rid of residue that may have been left from the soda.
Most of the bigger appliances in our kitchen are usually made from brushed stainless steel. It is a little bit harder to clean such a surface, but it is still very much manageable. You just need to remember to wipe in the direction of the grain. Always start with a cloth damped with warm water. You can then employ a mixture of dish soap and water. The soap is pretty useful for cleaning stainless steel. Rub the solution and then wipe dry. Be careful when working with electric appliances and water. It is advisable to unplug them from the electric system before starting.
Stainless steel hobs
If your hobs are not ceramic, they are usually made out of stainless steel. When you are cooking, they tend to get dirty. You have just prepared your favourite pasta sauce, and you can’t wait to enjoy your meal but what you leave after you is a greasy mess. Yes, you should wipe the grease as soon as possible, but keep in mind that the hobs may still be hot. Give them a few minutes to cool down. Spare a minute to go over the hobs with a sponge and a little bit of warm water, so the marks don’t dry up. For more thorough cleaning of the hops you can use a mixture of soap and water again to get rid of any spots. You can also use a mixture of baking soda and water and scrub away with a soft sponge or a towel, or you can use white vinegar and water. They both work effectively, just don’t use pure bleach as it may harm the surface.
Get rid of rust on the stainless steel
Baking soda against rust
The stainless-steel appliances are manufactured in a way to prevent rusting. However, it may happen. There is no need to worry, you can clean it. Mix one spoon of baking soda with roughly 500 ml of water. Take an old toothbrush and start cleaning. Don’t use any harsher sponges that can scratch the surface. Also, keep in mind to avoid any abrasive powders to clean out the rust because they can harm the stainless steel.
Lemon juice or vinegar against rust
Mix equal amounts of baking soda with the acid, either lemon juice or white vinegar. You should end up with a paste. Take a soft sponge and spread it over the surface. Let it sit for half an hour. The solution will do its job. After that, you can scrub it away and go over with a dry paper towel to get rid of any leftover mixture.
Cleaning the appliances in the kitchen
For all the stainless-steel appliances whether it being the fridge, oven, microwave, etc. You can follow the same steps for the exterior. Here are some options for you:
Clean the exterior
Yes, you can utilise your Windex for the outside of the appliances. Spread evenly but in moderate amounts and wipe in circulate motions using a microfiber cloth or a paper towel. The glass cleaner should help you get rid of fingerprints or watermarks on the surface.
There are cleaning supplies out there on the market that have already prepared a solution that will not only clean your surface but polish it too, returning its lost shine. Such a product is Weiman Stainless Steel Cleaner and Polish. But you are more than welcome to research more products. Before buying something, read reviews or ask friends that may have used it, so you know it is helpful.
Vinegar or baking soda
If you don’t want to support chemical use in cleaning, you can always DIY a solution with the materials you have at home. Mix vinegar and water, preferably in a spray bottle and go over the surface. Again, use a microfiber cloth and wipe it away. Take mineral oil, or you can use olive oil and put a little bit on a paper towel. Go over the surface so you can give it a finishing touch, returning its shine. You can do the same with soda instead of vinegar. Perform the steps in the same way.
Oil is the way to shine
As mentioned above, olive oil acts excellently as a polisher. However, you can use any kind of mineral oil. You can use even baby oil, just don’t go overboard with it, you don’t want the door of your fridge to slip away every time you try to get some food. You need a small amount on a paper towel, just enough to bring the shine back.
Clean the interior
Usually, most of the stainless-steel appliances don’t have a stainless-steel interior. The most common ones are the microwave and the dishwasher.
Clean the stainless-steel dishwasher
Place a full glass of vinegar on the top rack of your dishwasher and run a high-temperature cycle. This should get rid of all watermarks and stains. Go over with a cloth after that and scrub any marks that are left.
Clean the stainless-steel microwave
Here is the thing with the microwave, the interior is harder to clean because there is no water circulation involved as in the dishwasher. This doesn’t mean you can’t clean it. Use a microwave-safe bowl, pour water and vinegar in it. Put it in a microwave for 3 minutes (or until the mixture starts boiling). Don’t open the microwave, let it sit for 10 minutes so the evaporated vinegar can do its job on the sides and the window of the microwave. When the time is up, open it and use a dry towel to wipe the walls. You would be amazed to see how much grease you will take off. You can do the same process with baking soda. Mix them in a bowl, let the solution boil and leave it on for 10 minutes. And voila, your microwave is spotless from outside and the inside.
Don’t stop only with the home appliances.
You can clean everything made out of stainless steel with the materials above. If you have a stainless-steel watch that is getting dirty, get some dishwashing soap, water, and an old toothbrush. Fill a bowl with soap and warm water. If your watch is water resistant, dip the whole watch in the mixture, scrub it a bit with the toothbrush inside the water, then take it out and finish cleaning. Pat dry with a paper towel, and now it’s like you have a brand-new watch. If your watch is NOT water resistant, make sure you dip only the straps, so you don’t break the mechanism. Perform the same steps of scrubbing and drying. You can do a vinegar bath also instead of a soap bath. Again, be very careful with whether your watch is water resistant or not.
You can make a paste of soda and water. Take the old toothbrush and rub the solution in the crevasse. Take a damp cloth with water, wipe out the watch so you can get rid of the excess and then pat it dry.
Whether it’s your fridge or your watch, stainless-steel needs regular upkeep. If you remember to do it often enough, even warm water and a sponge are enough to keep the shine of the surface. But you need to do this every few days or so. We all know that in this hectic reality we don’t have a spare hour or so every two days, to wipe every stainless-steel surface in our house. I advise, however, to employ one of the cleaning methods written above at least once every two weeks, of course, depending on how often you use the appliance. For the microwave and the oven, you may need to do it every weekend because food dries up and leaves a hell of spots. Once you build a routine, it will be faster and more enjoyable every following time.