Ah, stainless steel; The shiny, durable, timeless material that is fit for every appliance.
Stainless steel appliances are one of the most popular items people seek when decorating their kitchens and bathrooms, and for a good reason. Unlike other coloured appliances that require matching accents of colour in both the room and other appliances, stainless steel goes with everything, leaving you free to have an endless opportunity of seasonal accent changes in a room or when you feel like renovating the room altogether.
In fact, many real estate agencies find that having fresh-looking stainless steel appliances in a room like a kitchen can increase their modern move-in ready appearance, which can help to increase the value of your home on resale.
However, as anyone who’s owned a stainless steel appliance may tell you, the name “stainless” steel is a bit of a falsehood. The name originates in its ability to withstand corrosion by means of humidity and heat. Still, stainless steel is undoubtedly susceptible to fingerprints smudges, sauce stains, water splashes, and more. Dirty stainless steel loses its lustre and can make them look tarnished and cheap.
Here are three tips to polish your stainless steel appliances back to their natural shine.
Go With the Grain
Similar to the way wood has a grain, so does stainless steel. Going with the grain will help prevent your cloth and cleaner from leaving streak marks along with your appliance. If you can’t tell which way the grain goes on your appliance, test out a few small areas first, and see which direction leaves the fewest streaks. Start at the top of the appliance and work your way down, trying not to backtrack on any overlap.
Though it is durable, stainless steel is susceptible to damage from other materials like it. Cleaning appliances like steel wool and other abrasive metal brushes not only leave scratches into the material but can also leave behind small particles that can rust and stain on the appliance’s surface.
When doing light wipe downs, gentle cloths like those made from a microfibre are preferable. When a more thorough cleaning is required, plastic scouring pads (like the green side you’d find on any generic sponge) will do the trick.
Vinegar is one of the best natural cleaners in the world. Vinegar has a mild acidity that can cut through oils from both cooking a well as fingerprints. Often many household cleaners contain many chemicals not required on stainless steel, which can leave behind annoying streaks as you clean them.
Vinegar sanitizes, cuts down on grease, is non-abrasive to surfaces and is food safe for adults, children and pets.
A downside to vinegar is, of course, its signature smell. The smell of vinegar is from the acetic acid within it but should fade from your stainless steel appliances within a few minutes of drying. If the smell remains, wiping down the appliance again with a gentle damp cloth of water should clear up the residual smell.