Best way to clean stainless steel appliances?

I moved into a fantastic new apartment which has a ton of new stainless steel appliances—refrigerator, oven, microwave and dishwasher. I used an all-purpose cleaner and noticed the appliances have streaks across them.

Kitchens get messy. How am I supposed to clean these things? I thought a benefit of stainless steel was their resilience. It seems like they might be more of a hassle than anything else.

On a reddit thread I and saw some people mentioning stainless-steel cleaners (Bar Keeper’s Friend?). Elsewhere I’ve seen vinegar and olive oil are the right choice. Looking for any sort of direction here. Products or home remedies are welcome!

Good news is that those streaks you see can be removed easily. Cleaning stainless steel appliances with a bit of white vinegar and grapeseed or olive oil is the way to go. It’s easy and most people have the supplies lying around the house.

Steps to cleaning your stainless steel appliances with vinegar and oil:

  1. Pickup some white vinegar and oil of your choice. I use grapseed oil, because it is fragrance-free and is plentiful in my house. You can use a clean cloth or paper towels to apply.

  2. Determine the direction of the grain. Stainless steel usually goes horizontally, but sometimes it can go vertical. You’ll want to rub in the same direction as the grain.

  3. Use vinegar and a bit of elbow grease to do an initial cleaning. I usually pour a bit into a cloth and then apply. You can also use a spray bottle if that helps. Press hard to get any tough bits of food out.

  4. Apply a small amount of oil to polish the appliance. It really doesn’t take much. Pour a very small amount of olive, grapeseed or canola oil into your cloth or paper towel and begin to polish. Make sure you go with the grain. If you use too much it can make it a bit greasy.

If you’ve done the above steps correctly your stainless steel appliances should look like new!

Hope that helps!


Hey, your recommendation worked flawlessly!

I took a close-up of my freezer to get an idea of how things looked before and after. Your treatment worked! Here’s what it looked like after I used Method All-Purpose cleaner on it. Streaks everywhere!

And here’s what using a bit of vinegar and olive oil did. It’s completely gone and everything looks like new!

Note: The vertical lines there are just the outline of my kitchen door and can be ignored.

I probably used more oil than I needed on the first pass and had to wipe it down a bit more.

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I’ve been searching everywhere for this answer and this is the most concise response I could find! Thank you!