How to clean stainless steel appliances and sinks
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.