Woman cleaning refrigerator

Homemade Stainless Steel Cleaner

Tired of dealing with greasy smudges and endless fingerprints on your stainless steel appliances? The idea of spending $10 or more for a commercial stainless steel cleaner and poilsh might not feel any better.

Woman cleaning refrigerator


Good news! You can skip the store-bought stainless steel cleaners, and make your own highly effective cleaner and polish using items you probably have already. Read on to learn how to create your own stainless steel cleaner for pennies and avoid buying expensive commercial cleaners.

Never use your other cleaning products on stainless steel, like oven cleaners or chlorine-based cleaners. They are harsh and abrasive and can permanently damage your stainless steel. You also may have run across many other ways to clean stainless steel—including using furniture polish, flour, or glass cleaner, for example—and though there may be merit to these methods, they could be messy to use and require other precautions.

Caution:  NEVER use the scrubber side of a green Scotchbrite sponge on stainless! That green option will scratch stainless like you wouldn’t believe! Instead, if you must scrub stainless, gently use the blue Scotchbrite sponge option. It is plastic and touted to be scratch-free, but being overly aggressive with even this blue option can create minute scratches.

Stainless Steel Cleaner and Polish

You will need:

  • 16-oz. spray bottle
  • 1 1/3 cups white vinegar
  • 5 drops Blue Dawn dishwashing detergent
  • 2/3 cup water

To make:

Start with a clean spray bottle. Pour in white vinegar, Blue Dawn liquid dishwashing detergent, and water. Apply the spray top and shake to mix. 

To use:

Shake to mix then spray it liberally on the stainless steel surface you want to clean. Wipe with a soft cloth or the soft side of a non-abrasive sponge to clean.

Once you’re satisfied that all the fingerprints and grime have been removed, go over the surface again with plain water. Stainless steel is naturally resistant to corrosion, so this step is a precaution to remove the acid in the vinegar so that there’s no chance of it interacting with the metal over time. You can either spray water from a bottle or dampen a cloth directly with water. Rinse well then buff with a dry microfiber cloth to shine. 

Be sure to label this product clearly, as you do not want to use it on natural countertops of granite, marble, or stone because it contains vinegar, which will dull and eventually destroy its sealant.

The payoff:

You can spend upwards of $10 for Weiman or 3M cleaner for stainless steel appliances, or make it yourself for just pennies.

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