Proper Care and Cleaning of Stainless Appliances

While stainless steel appliances are very beautiful, many times it can be difficult to keep these appliance clean and looking their best.  Below we have outlined several tips to keeping your appliances looking their best.

Using the Proper Cleaner

Cleaning your appliance with plain water and a clean cloth may prove adequate at times, but this usually leaves behind water spots and staining after time.   Using glass cleaner works very good for removing fingerprints and smudges, but does not usually remove staining can can sometimes leave streaks in the stainless.

We recommend washing the appliance with warm soapy water and then using an actual stainless steel cleaner.  These cleaners are designed to not only clean stains, brighten stainless, and polish, but also will leave a protective film to prevent dulling the stainless to keep it looking like new.

When using these cleaners it is VERY important to read the directions before using.  The main thing to pay attention to is to always clean the appliance using long strokes and going WITH the direction of the grain in the stainless.   You should be able to see lines in the stainless (usually horizontally) and this is the grain that you want to follow.  The reason is that many of these cleaners contain abrazives and polish which can scratch the stainless if used improperly.  There are many types of stainless cleaners available and you can pick them up at most grocery stores or appliance repair companies and dealers.  Below are a few examples of types of cleaners we sell.

Preventing Rust on Stainless

The main cause of rusting has been due to the types of cleaners used on the stainless appliances.  Below is a perfect example of a Chlorinated Cleaner being used on a stainless steel surface.

Lately there has been a big push of cleaners containing bleach.  The sample photo below is the Clorox brand but there are many others brands using chlorine as an active ingredient.

These types of cleaners are not safe to use on steel surfaces.  The manufacturer of the cleaning agent may say it’s safe for SS appliances but almost all appliances manufacturers advise against using chlorine or harsh chemical cleaners. Chlorine is an oxidizer and the use of it on stainless steel surfaces used for most appliances, 304 (non magnetic) and 430 (magnetic), will cause an accelerated oxidation of the metal surface.  We would not recommend it on a painted surface either as the chorine can penetrate a thin coating of paint or slight scratch and cause accelerated oxidation in that area.  We sometime get the question of how come bleach can be used on a stainless steel sink?  Most sinks are made with a different grade of stainless ( a higher nickel &  molybdenum content) which makes them more chemical resistant.
We never recommend the use of harsh chemicals for cleaning stainless surfaces on appliances.  Most owners manuals recommend warm soapy water and a stainless steel polish.  The soapy water cleans the spots and the SS polish treats the metal.  In most SS polishes the main ingredient is Mineral Oil.  Mineral oil does a fantastic job of sealing and protecting the stainless steel surface.  It also reduces fingerprinting and makes the surface easier to clean since it also performs as a semi non-stick surface.

Do not use abrasive cleaners that will scratch the surface.

Depending on the surface finish of your stainless steel, abrasive cleaners can cause scratching. Duller finishes probably won’t show scratching as much as mirror or highly polished finishes. When in doubt, test in a hidden spot, and also work from the least risky type of cleaning, (ie water) to the heavy duty stuff.

Do not forget to rinse.

Gritty or dirty water, or residue from cleaning solutions left on a stainless steel surface can stain or damage the finish.

Do not use cleaners containing chlorine.

While it may be second nature to bleach everything, stainless steel and chlorine don’t mix. Stay away from the bleach when you clean stainless steel.

Do not use steel wool or steel brushes.

These products leave little particles in the surface of the steel and inevitably these particles begin rusting and staining the surface of the steel. They also can excessively scratch the surface of your stainless steel.

Do not assume it’s the cleaner.

If you do have some spotting or staining, and you’ve followed all of the rules, it may not be the cleaner. Water, especially hard water, can leave spotting and staining on stainless steel surfaces. Towel dry after rinsing can end the problem.

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