How To Clean Your Stainless Steel Appliances Without Chemicals

Get rid of grime, fingerprints, and streaks with these all-natural fixes.

December 20, 2016
cleaning with a lemon
Allison Young

When stainless steel is shiny, it’s perfection. It instantly gives your kitchen that polished, professional look. But then fingerprints, grease splatter, and streaks happen, and before you know it your once shiny fridge, stovetop, and dishwasher look more gross than great.

Yes, there are plenty of chemical-laden products that can restore the gleam, but can anything natural also bring back a kitchen’s shine? I consulted two natural cleaning expects—Leslie Reichert, green cleaning expert and author of The Joy of Green Cleaning, and Cori Morenberg, founder of Ms. Green-Clean, an eco-friendly cleaning service in New York City—and put their advice to the test. I scrubbed, I buffed, I put my trusty appliances through the polished paces to find the best eco-friendly fixes. Here’s what I discovered.

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grimey stovetop
Allison Young

1. Wipe out stovetop grime

This is the ugly stuff, the caked on, baked on, crusty grease that's stuck on your cooktop. Straight up vinegar was no match, but baking soda, a toothbrush, and a little elbow grease did the trick.

stovetop cleaning supplies
Allison Young

 

Here’s what to do: Sprinkle about a tablespoon of baking soda in a shallow dish, wet an old toothbrush, and dip it in the baking soda. You need to put a little muscle into it to stamp out the splatter.

clean stovetop
Allison Young

If that doesn’t work, do a pre-soak. Combine 1 teaspoon baking soda with 1 tablespoon of vinegar. The combo fizzes up on contact (it’s like the natural version of scrubbing bubbles). Give it a stir, apply it to the stubborn spot, and let the bubbling action break up the blemish. Once it softens, go back in with baking soda and your toothbrush to finish the job.

Related: 7 Mistakes You're Making When You Use Green Cleaners

 

fingerprints on fridge
Allison Young

2. Attack fingerprints

Fingerprints on your fridge are frustrating. Those unsightly smudges are not a job for baking soda (too much), nor does a damp microfiber cloth do the trick (not enough), but I did find two just right solutions.

cleaning with a lemon
Allison Young

The first was a pleasant surprise: I fished a previously squeezed lemon half out of the compost, swiped it over the spots, and without much elbow grease, those greasy fingerprints melted away (hello, genius way to use leftover lemons!). It left behind a lemon-fresh scent, plus a few pieces of pulp (no worries, #3 will take care of that).

The other fingerprint fix was a spritz of vinegar and a buff with a microfiber or cotton cloth. Wipe with the grain and pesky fingerprints will—POOF—disappear.

Related: 12 Things You Can Clean With A Lemon

streaky fridge
Allison Young

3. Silence unsightly streaks

Now that you’ve got the preliminary cleaning done—grime gone, fingerprints obliterated—you just have the streaks to deal with. That lackluster finish can also be caused by hard water and the direction of your wipe, but two simple solutions can get the gleam back. The first: club soda. Add a few drop of sparkling seltzer to a dry microfiber or cotton cloth and wipe with the grain to restore your appliances' pristine reflection.

clean fridge
Allison Young

Another trick that made the stainless steel extra shiny was olive oil. Simply put a small amount on a cloth and rub it into the surface, working in the direction of the grain for a streak-free finish.

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