Stainless steel is perfect for kitchens, and it’s no wonder why it’s such a popular pick. As the name suggests, it’s very hard to stain, highly resistant to heat and doesn’t rust easily, making it a great material for any kitchen size and type.

But that doesn’t mean it’s indestructible by any means. Stainless steel needs some basic care to remain spotless, otherwise you might start to see oxidation, scratching, and yes, staining too.

So let’s break down the best way to clean stainless steel countertops, sink, and appliances, making sure they stay shiny and always ready for action!

“Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans." – John Lennon

Preventing oxidation

For getting rid of stainless steel oxidation, you can find proper solutions made for this very purpose in hardware stores and markets. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and use a soft cloth for the job.

But there’s also a pretty good homemade mixture you can make:

Mix baking soda and water until you form a paste, which you will then apply over the corroded area. Let it sit for up to an hour and then rinse with water – that should get the oxidation right off with no problems.

Knobs and handles need special care

Knobs from stoves and handles from pans need some special care. Not only do these often have awkward spots to clean that allow for grease build-up, but because they’re high-touch surfaces, they are more prone to getting scratched.

It should be a routine to wipe handles and surfaces with damp microfiber cloths. These are perfect for removing dust without leaving any scratches and making stainless steel super shiny. Also works for removing thumb prints!

Remember: if you’re just regular cleaning, there’s no need to use chemicals or harsh cleaning products. Be gentle with your stainless steel surfaces and clean them often to avoid grease buildup.

Burn marks

Burn marks are quite common when cooking, since we’re often dealing with oil and minor accidents can happen (such as dropping food bits on top of the stove). 

There are also plenty of market solutions for removing burns from stainless steel, but if you want a basic DIY mix, here you go:

  • 1 cup of baking soda
  • 3 tablespoons of Borax (sodium borate)
  • ¼ cup of lemon juice

Mix all of those together into a paste and apply over the burnt area, scrubbing very gently to prevent scratching. Let it sit for a few minutes and rinse with water, wiping the area dry with microfiber cloth. Easy peasy.

Simple solutions

Now that we got the basics down, I want to share with you a few other DIY solutions that might come in handy for cleaning stainless steel. Most of these are multipurpose, so they’re always good to know:

Water and microfiber cloth

I’ve already mentioned this one before and for good reason. If all you need is cleaning or polishing up, there’s no reason to bring abrasive chemicals in. Just use microfiber cloth and water for a quick wipe and you should be golden. If you don’t have microfiber cloth available, a simple damp cloth will do!

White vinegar

It’s no secret that white vinegar can be used for cleaning purposes and you can certainly use it on stainless steel. It’s great for removing grease and general cleaning. The best way to do it is with a spray bottle and a soft cloth – simply spray over the area and wipe gently. If you were looking for the best way to clean stainless steel sinks, there you go!

Baking soda

Another great household cleaner that I’ve already mentioned above, but this is more of a disclaimer: the reason we have to make baking soda into a paste (even if just with water) is because the powder by itself can scratch stainless steel. But baking soda is extremely useful for getting rid of harsh burns and other stains, so it’s worth using. 

Things to avoid

We’ve covered all bases on what to do, but now let’s take a moment to acknowledge what NOT to do. There are a few things you want to avoid when dealing with stainless steel, such as:

Don’t let liquids dry on stainless steel. Water stains are fairly easy to remove, but more abrasive liquids like industry cleaners can create harder stains to remove.

Avoid abrasive cleaners. You’ll notice that the cleaners I suggest in this article aren’t too abrasive and that’s for a good reason. Stainless steel can lose its shine and scratch badly with abrasive chemicals.

Do not use brushes or steel wools. These are way too harsh and can easily scratch your stainless steel surfaces.

Installing stainless steel counters is one of the best choices for most kitchens. Request a free quote for your project! 


8 Ways To Add More Pantry Storage To Your Home
5 Kitchen Safety Tips You Can’t Ignore
How To Upgrade Kitchen Cabinets Without Replacing

Join the conversation