How to Clean Stainless Steel with Homemade Cleaners

How to Clean Stainless Steel with Homemade Cleaners
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Learn how to clean stainless steel with homemade cleaners. Included are both light and heavy-duty homemade stainless steel cleaner recipes.

Cleaning Stainless Steel

When our old refrigerator developed a leak in the gasket, our landlords decided to get a new one that was more energy efficient. This new one has a stainless steel front that I thought looked really cool… until the fingerprints and water stains started showing up.

I got some cleaner at the hardware store, but the smell was overpowering and I began to wonder what chemicals it contained.

I knew I could come up with something better!

How to Clean Stainless Steel

Let’s take a look at both light and heavy-duty homemade stainless steel cleaners.

Light Duty Cleaner

The most simple and natural way to clean fingerprints, water stains, and other smudges from your stainless appliances might surprise you. All you need is a microfiber cloth and warm water. Wet your cloth with warm water, wring out the excess and wipe with the grain of the steel. Buff dry with another microfiber cloth, wiping with the grain. (If you like the results, you can stop here. If you want to polish and shine a little more, move on to the Stainless Steel Polish.)

Heavy-Duty Cleaner

If you have stuck-on grime (think ketchup or ice cream), you can use another simple stainless steel cleaner to remove this. Cut a lemon in half and dip it in baking soda. This will foam a bit, helping you in your cleaning. Rub the lemon over the spots you want to clean and let it sit for a few minutes. Wipe off and rinse with a spritz of clear water. Repeat if necessary.

Once you remove most of the larger particles of grime, then move on to the polish.

Homemade Stainless Steel Polish

This polish recipe will buff, shine, and clean your stainless steel appliances and is one of the easiest things you’ll ever make. I keep mine in a spray bottle so I can touch up spots during the week. I’m really busy and don’t have time to clean during the week, but at least I can make it look like I do!


  • 2 parts distilled white vinegar
  • 1 part vegetable oil


Mix ingredients together and apply to the surface. Rub it in a bit and buff it off, wiping with the grain. If you keep it in a spray bottle, be sure to shake it well before you spray. If you make it in a bowl, stir well before you dip your rag in.

This can be used to clean all stainless steel appliances, sinks, faucets, door hardware, and even car bumpers! The mixture works on chrome as well as stainless steel.

NOTE: If you are going to use this on anything that may be heated, such as a toaster or grill, you might want to use fractionated coconut oil. Regular vegetable oils will go rancid over time, especially when exposed to heat or sunlight. Fractionated coconut oil will stay liquid, unlike regular coconut oil, and will never go rancid, even if stored for years.

Now you know how to clean stainless steel naturally!

Tip: check out our homemade all-purpose cleaner.


How to Clean Stainless Steel with Homemade Cleaners was written by Debra Maslowski.

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