It’s easy to believe that your brand new stainless steel toaster, kettle, pots, pans, gas stove, oven and refrigerator door, and even cutlery, will forever remain as is because they arrive looking so pristine and gleaming! But let’s be honest; stainless steel is not exactly stainless.
The joys of having shiny, spotless stainless steel appliances help motivate you to keep the rest of your kitchen at the same level of cleanliness. But what happens when the newness wears off and you find your stainless steel looking dull, stained or maybe even at the risk of rusting? That’s when you begin to research ways to bring back that lustre, get the stains off and protect them from rusting or corroding (yes, stainless steel can get corroded if they come in contact with the wrong chemicals).
Have a look at our stainless steel appliances cleaning guide to know what to do before or after your stainless steel becomes stained steel.
Prevention is Better than Cure!
Yes, this holds true for your stainless steel appliances too. Now that you know the truth about the wear and tear stainless steel appliances have to bear, choose to maintain them from day one. Avoid using wired scrubbers to clean stainless steel. Once the surface is scratched, even polishing won’t be enough to bring back that brand new, shiny appearance. Moreover, if the protective film is scratched, your stainless steel will become prone to more damage. If your home has hard water running through the taps, do not let collected water sit in your stainless steel appliances for long periods. The high mineral content in hard water leaves the steel with a white film/residue and stains it. Liquid cleaners with chloride are also damaging, while attempting to polish with jewelry-based polish will corrode your stainless steel.
And now for the cure…
Make your Stainless Steel Stain-free’ Again!
Refrigerator doors, the cooking range and oven doors are prone to food spills, oil splashes and greasy hands when cooking; all of which dull the shine of your pristine stainless steel. The trick to avoiding stains (for most surfaces for that matter) is to not let grease or food spills sit. As soon as you’re done cooking, allow the burners to cool down while you clean other stainless steel surfaces. For this, use a microfibre cloth or soft sponge and a chloride-free cleanser (such as glass cleaner). Cleaning your stainless steel gas stove may require more cleaning solution, but with minimal scrubbing you can get loose food stains right off. For hardened stains and sticky substances, anything that contains alcoholic solvents (like acetone) is great for getting them off and bringing back your steel’s lustre.
Burnt Stainless Steel is not a Lost Cause!
We’re all absent minded at times; it’s a common kitchen slip up to leave an empty stainless steel dish unattended to on a hot plate, or to cook on a high flame that leads to burnt food at the bottom of your dish. But fear not, even this can be taken care of. Fill up quarter of the now burnt stainless steel dish with water, add 1 cup of vinegar and bring it to a boil. Take it off the heat and add 2 teaspoons of baking soda; after about a minute empty the dish and begin scrubbing. You can use a handled scrubber and wear gloves to avoid the heat on your skin. If the blackness doesn’t come off easily, make a paste of baking soda and water and let it sit for 15 minutes before you start scrubbing again. This is an age old trick for getting rid of burnt stains from any stainless steel surface including appliances like toasters, kettles, dish washers and coffee makers.
The Shine of the Sink and Faucet is Lost…But hope is not!
A stainless steel sink is exposed to everything from grease and chemicals, to prolonged water exposure and discolouring food items (like coffee or turmeric). Similarly, your faucet is prone to the splashes of all these causes of dullness. Here’s your best bet to bringing back that sparkling sink you’ve missed so much. Pour some club soda on a microfibre cloth and clean the sink and faucets thoroughly. Let it dry; then spray on a specially made stainless steel cleanser (they are available in most household department stores) and wipe it with a clean cloth. You can also use this spray on the exteriors of your stainless steel appliances to make them sparkling clean again. Avoid spraying inside pots, pans and dishes, however, as it is mainly meant for decorative pieces and exteriors only.
The Direction of the Grain Matters
Take a close look at your stainless steel and you’ll see the grain either running upwards or horizontally. When polishing or cleaning, it helps to get the most sheen out of the appliance by rubbing in the direction of the grain. By going against the grain, you are likely to push any grease or cleaning residue further into the crevices of the metal. Though this is not a major concern, it pays in sparkles to know the right way of polishing and cleaning your stainless steel appliances.