As you may know, many of the newer stainless steel appliances are made with a special coating that prevents them from being smudged. Appliances that contain this smudge-proof coating do not need much maintenance. All you have to do is wipe them down with a warm damp rag and that's it. You don't even have to dry them afterwards since there won't be any watermarks. However, the older stainless steel appliances need a little TLC to stay nice and shiny -- especially if they're used for cooking or used near a cooking appliance.
Now, you can stop reading and just run out and buy a can of stainless steel cleaner, but it would fill your air with nasty chemical fumes -- and who wants that? This tutorial is designed to keep you from using these chemicals and still achieve the same level of cleanliness.
The Vinegar and Oil Method
If you really have some stubborn stains or your stainless steel has lost its luster, this is a great formula to use. Here's what you'll need:
- White vinegar
- An empty spray bottle
- Paper towels
- Soft microfiber cloth
- mineral oil (yes you can use olive oil or vegetable oil if you don't have mineral oil on hand.)
Begin by putting on some rubber or latex gloves (vinegar is a little stinky). Next, pour some vinegar in a clean spray bottle. After you've done that, have a close look at your appliances to determine which way the grain runs. This step is important since you'll want to ultimately wipe in the direction of this grain.
Spray vinegar all over the appliance, then use your paper towels or a soft cloth to wipe it clean. Do not wipe in a circle, wipe in the direction of the grain only. Keep wiping until the towel comes away clean (you'll have to use paper towels for this stage).
Lastly, dip a clean cloth into your oil and begin polishing your appliance. Remember to wipe in the direction of the appliance's grain. You don't need a ton of oil here, just a little will do.
The Ol' Soap and Water Method
This is the method that most of you will have heard of. It's simple, quick and easy.The soap and water solution is most useful for appliances that are more soiled than tarnished. To use the soap and warm water method you'll need the following:
- 1 teaspoon dish washing liquid
- 1 quart of hot tap water
- 1 cereal bowl of warm water
- Heat resistant rubber gloves
- 3 clean cloths
- Blow dryer (optional)
Begin by mixing soap into 1 quart of hot water. Soak one cloth in the soapy mixture and begin wiping with and against the grain in small sections. Once you've covered the entire appliance, dip the second towel in warm water and go over the entire surface making sure to wipe in the direction of the grain. Lastly, dry the surface using a blow dryer or wipe it clean with a clean towel.
Stainless Steel Cleaner
If you don't have the time or patience for elbow grease, you can certainly skip the above steps and go right to a cleaning product. According to Good Housekeeping, the best Stainless Steel cleaner on the market is Homax Stainless Steel Magic Aerosol. It's easy to find and it's currently retailed between $6 and $12. To use it, just spray the surface down really well, then wipe it clean with a soft cloth.
So what's the magic part? Isn't this just like any other stainless steel cleaner?
Well, the magic is that it adds a coating that makes the appliance temporarily smudge-proof. You won't be able to see the coating, but it's certainly there. Remember these points:
- Don’t wipe against the grain, unless you’re buffing the surface.
- Never use a hard cloth.
- Don’t use abrasive cleaners.
- You CAN use substitutes for mineral oil.
By wiping down your stainless steel appliances every once in a while -- and yes this includes before it gets caked up with grime -- you will minimize the risk of damaging the appliance or it's surface. While stainless steel will never truly be "stainless" you can certain stave off marks and smudges by investing in a coated appliance. Appliances Connection carries an array of smudge-proof appliances from major manufacturers like Frigidaire and Samsung. Visit our site for more details! And check out some homemade cleaners and how to make them from the folks at HomeTips World!