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Store-bought stainless steel cleaners can be full of toxic ingredients. And frankly, you don't even need to spend the money on them because you probably already have the items you need to clean your stainless steel appliances! If not, they are incredibly cheap anyway. Not only is this the BEST homemade stainless steel cleaner, it's also the easiest and cost effective.
How to Clean Stainless Steel Appliances
Someone pinch me.
We closed on our beautiful house a couple weeks ago and I could not be happier or more content! Partially because I hate renting and am glad to have a place to call my own - but mostly because the whole house buying and moving process is just insane. Throw a toddler into the mix and I was ready to find a nice cardboard box and live in it in the middle of a field or something.
Thankfully, I managed I maintain my mental state (which, you know, isn't promising to begin with, ha!) and we got through it. And are so thankful! But with a new house comes some adjusting. The light switches (whose genius idea was it to put THREE light switches on one plate?!), navigating the corners of the unfamiliar counters (yep, bruised my hip), and learning how to care for the new stainless steel appliances.
WD-40 to Clean Stainless Steel Appliances?
When our new refrigerator was being delivered this week, the delivery guy told us just to clean it with WD-40 and a microfiber cloth. Of course, I nodded along. But after he left I turned to my husband and said, "You know there's no way I'm using WD-40, right?" He laughed and said, "Do you." (Isn't he poetic?)
The Material Safety Data Sheet for WD-40 states it is "harmful or fatal if swallowed" (uhhhh) and may cause skin irritation. I don't know about you, but I don't want to put something on toxic my fridge that I will touch before grabbing a snack for my child. And said child also touches the fridge with his little fingers. No thanks.
Is Baby Oil Safe to Use on Appliances?
I have also heard baby oil being recommended as a stainless steel polish. While "baby oil" sounds safe, it's quite the opposite. Baby oil is a mineral oil. Mineral oils have been connected to hormonal imbalances - which can lead to a whole slew of problems with general and reproductive health.
Again, because we are touching the fridge many times a day, all day long, for years and years...I do not recommend using baby oil or any type of mineral oil to polish your stainless steel appliances.
So the big question: what cleans stainless steel appliances the best? And in the safest way for our families? Vinegar and olive oil!
DIY Stainless Steel Cleaner How-To
Trust me when I say it couldn't be any easier. With two ingredients and two cloths, all of your appliances will look shiny and brand new!
First, a vinegar and water mixtures cleans your appliances - without those harsh chemicals mentioned above. I keep a spray bottle specifically labeled for this mixture under my sink. You can get heavy duty spray bottles on Amazon.
Then, olive oil (yup, the stuff you cook with!) will buff away any leftover finger prints, and also fend them off for a little while. Olive oil is the key to keeping your stainless steel appliances shiny.
You will want to use a soft cloth to do this, like these microfiber cloths.
QUICK HOW-TO MAKE STAINLESS STEEL CLEANER VIDEO:
- 1 part vinegar, 1 part water - - mixed together a spray bottle
- Olive oil
- Spray the cleaning solution (vinegar + water) directly on the fridge. Be generous with it.
- Look closely, and you’ll see that your stainless steel appliances have a distinct grain direction - it will be going either vertically or horizontally. (All of my Samsung and GE appliances have horizontal grain.) Take a soft cloth or a microfiber cloth and wipe your appliances with it going with the grain. You'll notice that while some marks will wipe off, others won't. And that's okay for now!
- Once your appliance is good and dry, put a little olive oil onto a dry cloth and rub it in - again, going with the grain. This is the step that will really buff out those unappealing fingerprint marks all over your appliances (and also prevent them from showing up.)
Bonus Tip: How to Clean Your Stainless Steel Sink
As you may have guessed, cleaning a stainless steel sink looks a little different than an appliance. Because of the use we get out of a sink, obviously an olive oil polish isn't practical.
- Clean with same vinegar solution mentioned above.
- Or, you can also use a sliced lemon - I do this when I have a slice leftover from making a smoothie or another recipe. Just rub the lemon slice all over the sink and faucet.
- Scrub away any tough spots with baking soda: Simply mix a little baking soda and water together until it forms a paste. If the tough spot is super tough, let the paste sit for 15-20 minutes on top of the spot before scrubbing away.
- Rinse & dry with a towel.
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I've been doing this forever,I learned it from my grandmother,it's totally great.Ty for sharing this with us
Hi, thanks for the post. I already use citric power mix with water to clean my kitchen including the appliances. But finger prints still remain was my headache. Your idea of olive oil makes my day! Thank you!!!
Awesome stuff! Cleans and shines appliances up like new. Couldn't be happier to ditch the icky chemical stuff. Thanks so much for this great recipe!
My mother in law did my fridge one time while I was out (don't get me started) with baby oil. It was nice and clean but also a dust magnet! Is olive oil less clinging to the dust particles in the air, or did she just use too much?
Valerie Edwards says
Thank you so much for this post. I have really been perturbed with streaks and spots on my stainless steel stove. Wow!! Does this ever work. I am throwing out that ineffective, toxic and expensive cleaner they suggested when I bought the stove.
Have used vinegar & water for years. It works so much better on windows than Windex.Windex leaves a film on the windows and attracts dirt,but the vinegar leaves them squeaky cleans. All the chemical smells give me sinus headaches so always looking for natural cleaners. Love Pinterest,can find great tips.
Yes this works better than anything commercial I’ve used and safe!
I started cleaning with vinegar and baking soda over a year ago, when my body started having a very bad reaction to chemicals, I usually let orange peels soak fot 10 to 15 days in the vinegar before using it. I got used to the smell and the orange helps a-lot, now, I have 3 dogs that love olive oil, so if I polish my appliances with olive oil or coconut oil, they’ll never stop licking it, so even if it doesn’t look as pretty as new I settled for clean.
Thank you ! Fabulous. Have not been able to get anything to remove drippy marks and fingerprints from my Samsung brushed stainless steel dishwasher front. But this did! Clever!
Demetrius petroff says
This post is a little older, but I found it anyway trying to figure out how to get the streaks off my stainless steel. Appliances. When you said olive oil I grabbed my little oil mister it’s filled with olive oil and lightly sprayed and my stuff looks great! I love the Internet. Thank you
Sharon plummer says
The delivery guys that just brought my new Samsung said to not use anything with citrus in it.
I don't use citrus on my fridge - just the vinegar/water and olive oil. I don't think it matters much on a sink, considering all sorts of things get put in there anyway. I have seen citrus-scented commercial stainless steel cleaners...so I guess it's up to your discretion!
Charlotte VanderBent says
Wh-wh-what!!! Oh my goodness, this works much better than the commercial stuff I was using and just ran out of. Thought I’d try to find a homemade recipe that works. Trying to keep it natural in my home and this really helped! Thank you so much!
Lemon oil works great on stainless steel appliances
vicky t says
Thank you, we just bought a stainless steel refrigerator last night and was looking for a natural cleaning solution for it. Thanks.
I use furniture polish. The lemon sent is great to use on stainless steel.
Furniture polish is very toxic, please read up on the dangerous of it.
Hello, I watched your video and it appears we have the same Samsung frig. Just wondering, have you encountered scratch/scuff marks? I was buffing it with a cloth and the marks showed up. Wonder if maybe my rag caught dust and it caused the marks. The marks aren't super noticible but I notice everything which can be annoying! If you have encountered this, what did you find helped? Thanks!
Hi! The marks were likely there already from normal wear and tear, and the buffing/shine just made them more obvious to the eye. There are some products on the market for stainless steel scratches - I've never tried them though. But worth a shot?
Diane White says
Thank you for the tips, I just got my refrigerator yesterday and noticed the prints just after it was installed... So I came straight to Pinterest to find a solution... I should have known vinegar would be involved 🙂
This all sounds wonderful, unless you have a pet. I tried the vinegar then the olive oil buff. Looked great, until the next morning. The bottom of my fridge was all smudged up... tongue marks from my doggie lovin the olive oil! Lol
Haha! My dogs actually haven't done this. But this totally cracked me up. Hope you find something that works that your pup doesn't find as scrumptious.
The same happened to me!!! I was going to leave a comment. The bottom of the fridge has doggie lick marks allnover it!
Empty Nester says
I know this is late, try & use a cleaner at the bottom of your fridge. That should stop the furry family members from licking it. Obviously, don't do this is you have little ones crawling around.
Thank you for the great information!
I was trying to make this solution, but I realized that they don't sell white vinegar in Korea! (I live in Korea 🙂 They have apple vinegar and other types, but not white vinegar. Would those still work?
It would be great if you could let me know.
Thanks in advance!
Hmm - I don't see why apple cider vinegar wouldn't work! I have not personally tried it, but I have seen a lot of cleaning recipes using it. If you try it, let me know how it turns out!
patty wright says
my fridge is just like yours. it's been driving me crazy for days, and I didn't know what to try next. gonna try this tip right now. thanks!
Good luck 😀
Elvira Powell says
Extremely helpful post! I never new how to clean stainless steel, but with this cleaning receipt everything seems to be much easier. Best regards
When I was looking at appliances, the sales person told me to clean stainless steel with baby oil. She stated that's what she uses on the appliances on the sales floor.
I'm sure that works great, too! I have read that baby oil leaves more of a residue than a vegetable oil, though, because it's a mineral oil.
Baby oil is a petroleum derivative. If I had a child (and even tho I don't but I AM chemically sensitive to petroleum), I would not use anything with baby oil or mineral oil in it.
Great point, Phyllis.