The Ultimate Guide to Cleaning Stainless Steel Appliances 

Stainless steel appliances found in kitchen with a white background

In the heart of our kitchens, stainless steel appliances bring a touch of modern style. From refrigerators to oven cooktops, they serve a functional purpose. However, behind their shiny stainless exterior lies an important aspect that often gets overlooked – the need for regular care and cleaning. 

Cleaning stainless steel appliances goes beyond just keeping them visually appealing; it’s about ensuring their durability and performance. In this guide, we will take you through the secrets of stainless steel cleaning. Starting with the basics, we’ll help you understand the different types and finishes and provide practical tips for cleaning stainless steel appliances. 

Types of stainless steel appliances

Stainless steel isn’t one-size-fits-all – it comes in various finishes, each with unique characteristics. Whether your appliances have a brushed, polished or matte finish, understanding these differences is the first step to achieving a flawless shine.


Brushed stainless steel features a fine texture created with a brushing technique and is often used for kitchen appliances such as refrigerators as it hides scratches and fingerprints well. 

person opening stainless steel fridge


Polished stainless steel is highly reflective and shiny, similar to a mirror. This finish is often chosen for appliances like dishwashers where a high-end appearance is wanted. It can show scratches and fingerprints more easily, so regular spot cleaning is needed. 

stainless steel dishwasher


Matte stainless steel is not reflective and has a flat appearance; it is used where a low-gloss look is desired. For example, cooker hoods are often made from a matte finish, which gives them a sophisticated look. 

plain matte cooker hoods

must have tools for stainless steel cleaning

To achieve a spotless shine for your stainless steel appliances and guard them against daily wear and tear, you must arm yourself with the right cleaning supplies. Below, we have compiled a list of must-have cleaning supplies for effective steel cleaning.

  1. Microfibre cleaning cloth – Gentle on stainless steel surfaces, microfibre cloths are ideal for effectively wiping away fingerprints and smudges on appliances.
  2. Stainless steel cleaner – Specially formulated to clean, polish and protect your stainless steel, stainless steel cleaners will leave a streak-free shine on your appliances. 
  3. Soft-bristled brush or old toothbrush – Ideal for getting into hard-to-reach areas, ensuring a thorough clean.  
  4. Non-abrasive scouring pad – To gently scrub grime and stains without damaging the stainless steel. 
  5. Rubber gloves – To protect your hands from cleaning chemicals.
  6. Glass cleaner – if you don’t have a stainless steel cleaner, then glass cleaners are also safe for stainless steel appliances. 
Person with green rubber gloves cleaning inside of refrigerator

Tailored cleaning for specific stainless steel appliances

How to clean ovens: 

For stainless steel oven cleaning, use a commercial stainless steel cleaner. Apply the steel cleaner to a soft cloth and wipe down the oven surface to effectively remove fingerprints, grease and stains. For thorough cleaning, check out our blog on how to clean the oven

How to clean your microwave: 

To keep your stainless steel microwave clean, again use a stainless steel cleaner, apply the cleaner and wipe down both the interior and exterior of the microwave. It’s vital to follow the product’s instructions for safe cleaning. 

How to clean your stainless steel pans: 

For cleaning stainless steel pans, it is recommended to either use a stainless steel polish or mild soap and warm water to wipe. Avoid using abrasive pads, as these can scratch the stainless steel. 

How to clean a stainless steel cooktop: 

Clean your stainless steel cooktop with a commercial stainless steel cleaner. Apply the cleaner to a soft microfibre cloth and wipe the cooktop surfaces. To maintain the appearance and performance of the cooktop, regular cleaning is essential. 

Cleaning kitchen hob with rubber gloves and microfibre cloth

Stainless steel maintenance

Maintaining stainless steel appliances involves simple practices that can keep them looking sleek and polished while ensuring their longevity.

  • Regular cleaning – wipe down stainless steel surfaces regularly with a soft microfibre cloth to remove dirt and fingerprints.
  • Direction of grain – clean in the direction of the stainless steel grain for a more effective result
  • Separate cleaning tools – keep cleaning tools separate for stainless steel to avoid cross-contamination, perhaps by using a colour-coded cleaning product system
  • Apply a protective coating to your appliances – Consider applying a stainless steel polish or protective coating to create a barrier against fingerprints and smudges.
  • Use cutting boards – when preparing food on stainless steel countertops, use cutting boards to prevent scratches from knives.
  • Dry thoroughly – After cleaning, make sure to dry stainless steel surfaces thoroughly with a clean, dry cloth.
  • Ventilation – ensure good ventilation in the kitchen to reduce the impact of airborne particles that can settle on stainless steel surfaces 

Time to clean your stainless steel appliances!

In the pursuit of a kitchen that gleams, we hope this blog has helped you understand the different types of stainless steel used for appliances and the optimal cleaning techniques for them. By incorporating these maintenance tips into your routine, you can keep your stainless steel appliances looking pristine.

As you integrate these tips into a routine, the fingerprints may come and go, but as long as you are armed with the right strategies, your stainless steel appliances will stand resilient for years. 

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