How to clean stain­less steel ap­pli­ances and sinks

The Progress-Index Weekend - - HOME - By Laura Firszt

Stain­less steel has a par­tic­u­lar grain - or di­rec­tion - sim­i­lar to wood. Take a good close look at your stain­less steel item to see which way its grain goes, and al­ways clean and pol­ish in that same di­rec­tion. Ig­nore stain­less steel grain at your peril - or risk ac­tu­ally forc­ing dirt, grease, etc., deeper into the steel’s grooves.

The re­sult? In­stead of the smooth pol­ished ap­pear­ance you were hop­ing for, your hard work will turn your ap­pli­ances and fix­tures grimy and dull. Search no fur­ther than your kitchen cab­i­nets for the best and gen­tlest stain­less steel clean­ers. Ap­ply your choice of undi­luted white vine­gar, club soda or a warm wa­ter/dish soap blend to the steel sur­face with a soft cloth, prefer­ably cot­ton or mi­crofiber. Go easy — your clean­ing cloth should be just damp. Then gen­tly wipe dry.

Never use harsh chem­i­cals or abra­sive cleansers on stain­less steel kitchen ap­pli­ances or sinks; these may ac­tu­ally scratch and de­te­ri­o­rate the metal. Also avoid pa­per tow­els, which can leave lint marks, and don’t even think of us­ing a clean­ing brush or … shud­der … steel wool.

Here’s a pro clean­ing (or should we say “gleam­ing”) tip to re­store the luster of stain­less steel stoves, fridges or dish­wash­ers. Once you’ve cleaned and dried the steel, dab on a lit­tle bit of olive oil and rub it in, al­ways go­ing in the di­rec­tion of the grain. Even older stain­less steel ap­pli­ances will start to gleam as good as new. Don’t hap­pen to have any OO on hand? Sub min­eral oil in­stead.

For a sparkling stain­less steel sink, pro­ceed as in Steps 1 and 2. Once the sink is nice and clean, use flour for that fi­nal spit-and-pol­ish ef­fect. The point of the flour: Stain­less sinks tend to ac­cu­mu­late ground-in dirt over time. The flour will ab­sorb this dirt, leav­ing your sink beau­ti­fully shiny.

Thor­oughly dry your sink be­fore try­ing this. Dry flour in a dry sink can be brushed right out after buff­ing. Other­wise, any left­over mois­ture will com­bine with the flour and the stain­less steel will be cov­ered in sticky goo. And if too much of that goo goes down the sink, you’ll need to call a plumber to clear the re­sul­tant drain clog.

No mat­ter how care­ful you are, life hap­pens. The ap­pear­ance of your stain­less steel ap­pli­ance or sink may be af­fected by wear and tear, pol­ish­ing against the grain or us­ing rough clean­ing pads (we warned you). Treat scratch marks by pol­ish­ing with a ded­i­cated stain­less creme like Cerama Bryte on a soft, clean cloth. Re­peat two or three times, al­ways par­al­lel to the grain.

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