Stainless steel kitchen faucet and sink. Modern kitchen interior

An Excellent 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.

Stainless steel kitchen faucet and sink. Modern kitchen interior

 

Using the wrong cleaning tools and techniques can make the mess worse, even to the point of harm or damage to stainless.

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.

Homemade 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.

Scotch-Brite

Green: NO!

Scotch-Brite comes in two versions: dark green and blue. NEVER use a heavy-duty green Scotch-Brite on stainless steel. I’m talking about the rough, scrubby green side of a yellow Scotch-Brite sponge and the green Scotch-Brite cleaning pads. This heavy-duty version of Scotch-Brite will dull and destroy stainless steel’s luster and surface beauty. It’s OK in other applications but NOT to clean or polish stainless steel. Just don’t.

Blue: YES!

Non-scratch Scotch-Brite sponges and scour pads are blue. These are safe and effective for non-stick cookware and cleaning. If you must use a Scotch-Brite scrubbing-style sponge or pad on your stainless appliances and cookware, make sure it is blue. Always blue.

Out of an abundance of caution, my advice is to ban green Scotch-Brite from your home if you own stainless steel appliances. If they can find it, guests, family members, housekeepers—in the act of trying to be helpful—will use that green Scotch-Brite to polish up the kitchen. Count on it.

 

stainless steel refrigerator
Print Recipe Pin Recipe
5 from 3 votes

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. 
Prep Time5 minutes
Total Time5 minutes
Course: DIY, DIY Household Cleaners
Cuisine: Household Cleaning Tips, Housekeeping

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.

 


Everyday Cheapskate participates in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn from qualifying purchases, at no cost to you.

 

 

 

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

More from Everyday Cheapskate

deep clean carpet female hand brushing white plush carpet
assorted frozen dessert slushies strawberry pineapple blueberry
Working portable hand steamer for clothes. steam for ironing clothes
diy homemade gift ideas for all occasions cookbook calendar frame cookie mix jar
DIY dusting spray womans hand wiping dusty wood surface with yellow towel
garden seed starting table scape succulents tools gardener gardening hacks
DIY muffin liner homemade tulip baking lavender cutting board shadows
spa day at home mother daughter manicure hot rollers on couch


Please keep your comments positive, encouraging, helpful, brief,
and on-topic in keeping with EC Commenting Guidelines



Caught yourself reading all the way 'til the end? Why not share with a friend.

8 replies
  1. Holly G says:

    5 stars
    I have a SubZero side-by-side frig/freezer that has a brushed stainless steel front. There is a “nap” to the stainless steel that runs the length of the refrigerator/freezer, and when I clean it with a dedicated stainless steel cleaner (Goodman’s) by going AGAINST the grain of the stainless steel, it produces the best, non-streaked shine. Going with the grain of the stainless steel created a mess with streaks and didn’t clean nearly as well. Seems antithetical, but trust me. It works. I’ve owned this appliance for thirty years and get frequently asked how my Subzero looks almost brand new.

    Reply
  2. Pat says:

    We have white porcelain sinks in the kitchen and baths. Last year, we had to work pretty hard to find a dishwasher with a white face, but succeeded. No worries about fingerprints on the stainless??? steel, and the kitchen is bright.

    Reply
  3. Ruth A says:

    One of the grocery stores in the Richardson, Tx, area has started a new system. The item in produce will have a sign of $1.79 a pound but when you get to the check-out counter, if you are not aware, you will be charged $5.00 for this item. (These are approximate numbers, but close). This is the new system of digital coupons. If you don’t understand, It is quite a surprise when you are given the bill. I now check each item as it is rung up. I either refuse the item or go to the store manager – who has given me the discount. Is this common in other areas?

    Reply
    • Becky says:

      Kroger is doing this now. The digital coupon price is shown in the biggest font, then in very small letters are the words “with digital coupon”. If you have the Kroger app and an account, and you haven’t already “clipped” the coupon, you can scan the QR code for the item, then the app will point to the coupon and you can “clip” it. Or something like that. I have seen people do it, but I usually “clip” all the coupons I will need before leaving home.

      Reply
    • 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

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

How was it?