homemade stainless steel cleaner kitchen sink

The Best Natural Homemade Stainless Steel Cleaner

Stainless steel has become a popular choice in kitchen appliances, counters, sinks, and other household fixtures for its longevity and luster. And that beauty can quickly lose its appeal under greasy fingerprints, streaks, smudges, dirt,  spills, and stains (which is weird given that it has”stainless” in its name). Using the wrong cleaning tools and techniques can make the mess worse, even to the point of harm or damage to stainless.

 

homemade stainless steel cleaner kitchen sink

While some commercial stainless steel cleaners do work well, they are not cheap, costing in the range of about $7 and $15 for 15 ounces. Frugal housekeepers who prefer more natural and do-it-yourself cleaning options are sure to love this super cheap, chemical-free, highly effective, easy recipe, and how-to for cleaning stainless steel around the house.

Know your finish

Non-coated

The more common stainless steel finishes are matte finish, brushed finished, and mirror finish. These refer to the process used to finish the product, not a “finish” or coating that was sprayed on or added to the stainless steel surface in the fabricating process

Stainless steel finished by any of these methods is non-reactive to acids, so it won’t be damaged by a vinegar-based homemade stainless steel cleaner that used cleaning vinegar, such as Heinz Cleaning Vinegar. Six-percent (6%) or greater acidity in cleaning vinegar is best suited to cutting grease and grime (plain white vinegar has 5%).

Coated

Some appliance manufacturers now offer a fingerprint-resistant finish on their appliances. Frigidaire has been selling its Smudge-Proof stainless steel appliances for several years, with the promise that their appliances are easier to clean and more resistant to fingerprints and smudges. Other manufacturers have followed their lead. Generally, manufacturers recommend cleaning their coated stainless with soap and water.

Caution: The oleophobic (oil-resistant) coating added to the surface of appliances to make them fingerprint-resistant is easily damaged if you are not aware of how to care for it. It can be stripped away by any vinegar solution, so check your owner’s manual to make sure that your appliances do not have this upgraded finish before proceeding with any vinegar-based cleaning solution.

DIY Stainless Steel Cleaner

You’ll need:

Instructions:

  1. Fill the spray bottle with cleaning vinegar. Check your owner’s manual to ensure that appliances and fixtures don’t have an oleophobic (oil-repellent) coating, which can be stripped by cleaning it with vinegar.
  2. Add 10 to 20 drops of essential oil, such as lemon. This is optional, but will counteract the pungent smell of vinegar. Lemon oil is safe to use on tough metal.
  3. Secure the spray head to the bottle, and shake to combine.
  4. Pour about 2 oz. food-grade mineral oil into a small bowl. While olive oil is used by some as a reasonable substitute, know that it can become rancid with prolonged exposure to sunlight.

To use:

  1. It is important to determine the direction of the grain or pattern of lines in the stainless steel—either vertical or horizontal. The shinier the finish the more difficult this may be to detect, so look very closely. You want to avoid cleaning against the grain because that will leave annoying streaks.
  2. Spray the vinegar solution in one hand, and wipe with a microfiber cloth in the other. Clean as vigorously as necessary to remove all dust, dirt, and grime. Caution: Do not use abrasive scrubbers like a green ScothBrite sponge, steel wool, or any other even mildly abrasive implement. Those will surely scratch your beautiful stainless.
  3. Repeat the process of spraying and wiping to clean the entire appliance.
  4. Once clean, dip a clean soft cloth into the mineral oil and gently rub in the direction of the grain to erase any streaks or remaining prints. Make a second pass over the oiled areas with a clean soft cloth to remove excess oil and boost the shine. Repeat this step until your stainless is polished to perfection.

To store:

Label the bottle and store it at room temperature away from kids and pets.

stainless steel refrigerator

Homemade Stainless Steel Cleaner

This vinegar-based cleaner is safe to use only on non-coated (also known as fingerprint resistant) stainless steel appliances, counters and other stainless surfaced to clean and polish to a gloriously beautiful smudge less, streak-free shine!
CAUTION: The oleophobic (oil-resistant) coating added to the surface of appliances to make them fingerprint-resistant is easily damaged by numerous actions and activities. It can be damaged even stripped away by vinegar, so check your owner's manual to make sure that your appliances do not have this upgraded finish before proceeding with any vinegar-based cleaning solution. 
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: DIY, DIY Household Cleaners
Cuisine: Household Cleaning Tips, Housekeeping
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Cost: Varies

Equipment

  • Spray bottle
  • microfiber cloth

Ingredients

  • 16 oz. cleaning vinegar, 6% acidity or greater, or amount needed
  • 10-20 drops essential oil, such as lemon
  • 2 oz food-grade mineral oil, or as required
  • 16 oz clean spray bottle

Instructions

To make;

  • Fill the spray bottle with cleaning vinegar. Check your owner’s manual to ensure that appliances and fixtures don’t have an oleophobic (oil-repellent) coating, which can be stripped by cleaning it with vinegar.
  • Add 10 to 20 drops essential oil, such as lemon. This is optional, but will counteract the pungent smell of vinegar. Lemon oil is safe to use on tough metal.
  • Secure the spray head to the bottle, and shake to combine.
  • Pour about 2 oz. food-grade mineral oil into a small bowl. While olive oil is used by some as a reasonable substitute, know that it can become rancid with prolonged exposure to sunlight. 

To use:

  • It is important to determine the direction of the grain or pattern of lines in the stainless steel—either vertical or horizontal. The shinier the finish the more difficult this may be to detect, so look very closely. You want to avoid cleaning against the grain because that will leave annoying streaks.
  • Spray the vinegar solution in one hand, and wipe with a microfiber cloth in the other. Clean as vigorously as necessary to remove all dust, dirt, and grime. Caution: Do not use abrasive scrubbers like a green ScothBrite sponge, steel wool, or any other even mildly abrasive implement. Those will surely scratch your beautiful stainless.
  • Repeat the process of spraying and wiping to clean the entire appliance.
  • Once clean, dip a clean soft cloth into the mineral oil and gently rub in the direction of the grain to erase any streaks or remaining prints. Make a second pass over the oiled areas with a clean soft cloth to remove excess oil and boost the shine. Repeat this step until your stainless is polished to perfection.

To store:

  • Label the bottle and store it at room temperature away from kids and pets.
Tried this recipe?Mention @EverydayCheapskate or tag #EverydayCheapskate!

 


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4 replies
    • Mary Hunt says:

      My dentist says to assume that all whitening toothpastes are abrasive, which he believes they are. He recommends gel-like whitening strips for whitening.

      Reply

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