How to Clean Your Home Stainless Steel Appliances With Oil or Vinegar

Stainless Steel Appliances
Stainless Steel Appliances

If you find yourself among the many proud owners of stainless steel kitchen appliances, there may be times when you think that a stainless steel finish might not have been the choice you would have made, if you had known how difficult it would be to clean it.

While it’s true that a stainless steel finish doesn’t respond well to being cleaned by as many different products as most other finishes, finding the right solution can be easy and quite affordable–and may already be hiding in your kitchen cabinets.


There is a way that you can begin to enjoy the beauty and look of a stainless steel appliance finish and without the necessity of only being able to maintain that look with expensive (and often hard-to-find) cleaning products.

What Looks so Easy Isn’t Always Easy

When you were selecting all your kitchen appliances, the appearance of stainless steel emerged high above the other choices, and once you had it installed, you probably took a step back, and with arms folded in complete satisfaction across your chest, exhaled a breath of success.

What you may not have realized at that time was that it would not be long before the first few incidents would occur where that streamlined, unbroken low-luster metallic appearance would become marred. and if yours is a household with children of any ages, the likelihood of such incidents only rises proportionately.

Commercial Stainless Steel Kitchen Appliance Cleaners

Short of selling your stainless steel appliances for what would probably be much less than you paid for them, there is something much easier, cost-effective that you can do to keep that stainless shiny and spotless–and you probably already have it in your kitchen–meaning there is hope on the horizon. Now, if you are still holding onto that very expensive bottle of stainless steel appliance cleaner that is stored in the cabinets under your kitchen sink, by all means, use it up.

You don’t need to use it as sparingly as you might do if it were your only option for safely and effectively cleaning your stainless steel kitchen appliances. Just use it up, and once you do, rest easy, in knowing that you won’t have to go out and buy any more commercial stainless steel cleaning products that are overpriced and not always easy to find, either. Just know that you have bought your last bottle of stainless appliance cleaner.

Did Someone Say “Salad?”

When the talk is of oil and vinegar the image of lettuce and other salad ingredients tends to come to mind, but there are many everyday items in the average kitchen that can be used for many other purposes, especially when it comes to cleaning.

Our early predecessors knew well the benefits and use for common kitchen foods and condiments for a myriad of other purposes, especially in the times prior to big business grocery stores and department stores like we now see practically on every corner of every city.

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There were no cleaners specifically formulated for all the dedicated uses like we have to choose from today. Housekeeping fluids and concoctions were made at home, from a lot of simple ingredients. Lye soap was the #1 type of cleaning agent, and it was used for a myriad of purposes. There must have been a lot of trial and error, combined with word of mouth tips and hits exchanged at quilting bees and church socials by handy neighbors.

Restoring Your Stainless Steel With Oil

One really nice aspect of using simple solutions to clean is that you are avoiding using (and being exposed to) harsh chemicals and chemical compounds that are frequent ingredients in conventional household cleaning products. And the various forms of harm that can come from such use and exposure seem to never come to an end, with new dangers and warnings cropping up in news reports on a regular basis.

This is a good reason why something that could be considered as an emollient solution would wind up at the other end of the spectrum from abrasive cleaning solutions. Regardless of its contrasting mode of efficacy, oil is a wonderful cleaner for stainless steel.

The current trend is to use olive oil, and the more “hip” foodies would probably only go with extra, extra virgin olive oil–but the actual truth is that you can use other oils, as well. Of course, many of these oils are going to be more costly, so do let your choice be led by expense here. Some people even use baby oil with complete satisfaction.

All you do is pour a generous drop of oil onto a soft rag or chamois cloth and wipe down the stainless steel thoroughly, making sure to cover all areas that are smudged or marked. Once these are removed, come back over the surface with a paper towel to buff to a shine. It’s a natural and green way to clean your kitchen appliances that are stainless, and you probably have some suitable oil already–oh, and it is highly affordable!

And Then, There’s Vinegar

The vastly wide range of magical uses for vinegar has long been touted by generations and carried soundly into modern practice. It is a clean-all, heal-all potion that mostly everyone has stored in their kitchen pantry or nearby. While Vinegar does tend to have a somewhat permeating odor, for some folks, it’s not an unpleasant one, and it will generally dissipate rather quickly after being used.

Vinegar is a wonder worker when it comes to thoroughly clean stainless steel kitchen appliances, and is not only inexpensive, but you only need a small amount to accomplish a whole lot of cleaning.

Find or buy a clean spray bottle, and fill it with full-strength white vinegar. Lightly spray over the entire surface of whatever stainless steel surfaces you desire to clean. Next, wipe the surface dry with a soft, lint-free cleaning cloth. Every time hands, fingers, etc. come in contact with a stainless steel surface, a bit of oil is left behind.

Where other cleaners tend to just smear this oil around or spread it, the acetic acid of vinegar will penetrate and dissolve the body oils that frequently smudge up the surface of stainless. Your efforts with vinegar will produce new-looking stainless steel that can’t be outdone.


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