Dear Home Ec 101,
I just got some new stainless steel appliances–and they streak–and have blotchy places on them.
You aren’t the first homeowner to fall for the gleaming lure of stainless. It’s so pretty there in the show room. What you don’t see are the legions of employees wiping down the appliances night and day.
We all know a few high maintenance types, right? You know, the lady who won’t leave the house until her make up is perfect and has her hair done weekly? Stainless steel finishes are a lot like her. The relationship can be beautiful, but it’s going to take some work.
You’re going to have to make a couple of decisions, I’m going to assume it is plain brushed steel, check with your manufacturer before following the given advice.
If you choose to go the homemade cleaner route remember with a water based cleaner (like diluted vinegar), fingerprints and smudges will show more quickly while oil based cleaners (some people swear by baby oil) tend to attract dust and streak. Whichever you choose, it needs to be applied to the whole panel of the appliance and rubbed in well, with the excess buffed away. I recommend using microfiber cloths for this chore. The appliances will still need to be wiped between cleanings.
If you want to go the commercial product route, which may be required by your warranty, Consumer Reports has done some testing for you:
Finally, do not use Pledge® furniture spray on your appliances, I don’t care what you read on some forum, this is a very bad idea. That silicone build-up is the devil to remove. (Don’t believe me on the silicone? Check out SC Johnson’s site What’sInsideSCJohnson.com dimethicone is listed under the heading “film formers”. Many thanks to SC Johnson Wax for helping consumers make informed decisions, I and many others appreciate that.)
The short version is this, whatever route of cleaner you choose, consistency is key. Frequent wiping will help keep the appliances from getting gunky and will make regular cleaning easier.
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