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How to clean your stainless steel appliances

Get your shine on with these easy tips for making your appliances sparkle.


Stainless steel takes a little extra care.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Stainless steel is not the kind of surface you just wipe down and forget. You need to protect it from rust, scratches and smudges. Here's how to do all of that -- and incorporate it into your cleaning routine. 

Once a day

Every day, wipe down any food splatters, dust or grease that makes its way onto your appliance with a dishcloth. 

Be sure to use a cleaner specifically for stainless steel. Do not use any kind of cleaner that includes scouring powders, abrasives, bleach or ammonia. These damage the surface. Never use steel wool or a pumice stone, since they will permanently scratch your appliance. 

Also, remember to wipe in the direction of the grain. Like wood, stainless steel has different variations in the color of the surface. You'll notice these run in lines across the surface in one direction. This is the grain. So, if the grain runs horizontally, then be sure to wipe left and right. If the grain runs vertically, wipe up and down. 


Orange peel is great for adding shine to your stainless steel. 

Alina Bradford/CNET

Once a week

Sure, there are stainless steel polishes on the market, but I like to go natural with my cleaning supplies whenever possible. If you're like me, once a week polish your stainless steel with the orange side of an orange peel. Orange peels produce natural oils that shine surfaces like stainless. The fresher the orange, the better it works -- and again, be sure to work with the grain.

Once a month

Every month, give your appliances an oil treatment to protect them from rust and smudges. First, wipe down your appliance with white vinegar in the direction of the grain. Then rub it with olive oil or mineral oil along the grain. Here are the step-by-step details.

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