Stainless steel appliances can get dirty from fingerprints, grease, and smudges. This happens mostly on surfaces in high-traffic areas like kitchens and industrial settings. Taking necessary precautions for polishing stainless steel keeps the surfaces free from scratches while maintaining their shine. You need a non-abrasive cleaning solution to dissolve oils or grease without causing damage. It is also essential to understand the properties of stainless steel and what needs to be done to protect its luster. Below, we share a few tips on what should and shouldn’t be done when cleaning stainless steel.
Utilize mild cleaning solutions
Because stainless steel has a smooth, shiny surface, it is advisable to clean it with mild or non-abrasive products.
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Clean using mild soap or dishwashing liquid and lukewarm water to keep its luster. Abrasive cleaners can wear down stainless-steel surfaces, making them appear dull over time. Using gentle cleaning products protects it from scratches, extending its lifespan and preventing scratches.
Use soft cleaning material
Because of their non-abrasive texture, microfiber towels and soft sponges are ideal for cleaning stainless-steel surfaces. As opposed to abrasive cleaning materials, they are more effective at removing smudges without scratching surfaces. It extends the life of stainless-steel surfaces and makes them look shiny when used with the proper cleaning supplies.
Work towards the grain
Stainless steel has a fine grain that gives off a shiny and smooth appearance. Cleaning against the grain can damage the surface over time as it creates an uneven look. Over time, it may appear dull or worn out losing its original appearance. Rubbing the sponge towards the grain loosens dirt without damaging the surface. It also helps to prevent scratch marks and streaks when cleaning.
Rinse and dry
Stainless steel needs to be rinsed thoroughly with clean water after washing. if you don’t wipe off the surfaces properly after washing, the soapy detergent can leave streaks that alter the appearance of the surface. Use a soft cloth to clean the residue as it helps get rid of watermarks and preserve the gloss appearance. If your surfaces need extra shine or have tough stains, a stainless-steel polish can be useful.
Avoid abrasive cleaning materials
While abrasive materials do work effectively on other surfaces, it is not recommended for cleaning stainless steel surfaces. Not only does it leave unsightly scratches but can also lead to other problems like corrosion. Steel wool, abrasive scrubbers, and tough scouring pads are a few items you should stay away from. Always clean stainless steel with a soft sponge or microfiber cloth.
Avoid bleaching or acidic cleaners
Natural cleaning products like vinegar or lemon juice work great on a variety of surfaces around the kitchen. However, they are not preferable for cleaning stainless steel. One of the reasons to avoid these cleaning solutions is the acid content inside them can affect the appearance of stainless steel. Also, avoid bleach products because they cause pitting and eventually lead to corrosion.
Avoid mixing metals
Whether you are cleaning or polishing stainless-steel surfaces, it is advisable not to use materials or tools made of other metals. Doing so could lead to galvanic corrosion, which can cause severe damage to stainless steel. A soft microfiber cloth works just fine whether you are cleaning or drying the surfaces as it is non-abrasive and doesn’t leave behind scratches.
How to maintain the shine of stainless steel
The timeless appeal of stainless steel is brought about by its polished and gleaming appearance. It can develop minor stains and smudges over time, which is natural. One of the ways to keep stainless steel surfaces shiny and lustrous is to clean them consistently. Take time to establish a regular cleaning routine that makes it difficult for stubborn stains to settle and accumulate on the surfaces. It is also important to be mindful when handling stainless steel surfaces. Rough handling can expose the surface to other elements that cause dents or scratches. It is also a good idea to use protective film and coating on the surface, especially if the stainless-steel items or appliances are located in industrial settings or places that receive heavy traffic.
Stainless steel has a timeless elegance and durability that makes it a favorite material for use in appliances and other items around the house. However, the only way it can maintain its shiny appearance is to clean regularly and implement preventive measures that keep its surface safe from dents and scratches. When cleaning, remember to use only mild detergents and soft cleaning materials like microfiber cloth to prevent scratch marks on the surface.