Skip to main content
It's no mystery why stainless steel is one of the most popular finishes for the kitchen: it's chic and goes with everything. But if you own stainless appliances, you know the cold, hard truth: they're a chore to keep clean. Every time you wipe off a fingerprint, a new one seems to appear.

Here are a few tried-and-true techniques for eradicating smudges on your stainless -- and preventing those smears from showing up in the first place.

For starters, there's no need to go buying special stainless steel wipes. Here's my secret weapon: glass cleaner. Yes! It's cheap, you probably already have it in your home, and it works to clean stainless like a charm. Just make sure to use a non-abrasive cloth.

Prevent those smudges from coming back using a product you can find right in your garage. WD-40 is a grease that lubricates just about anything that squeaks or sticks, and it also repels water.

Spray a cloth or rag with some WD-40 and wipe down the stainless steel surface thoroughly, allowing a few minutes for the lubricant to dry. Don't overcoat, but be sure to cover the entire surface.

If you see streaks or missed spots, you can do a second coating. Adding the WD-40 acts as a barrier against fingerprints for about 2-4 weeks. Note: WD-40 can contaminate food, so do not use on surfaces such as sinks or countertops. Also, be careful near your stove -- it's highly flammable!

Alternatively, you can apply a thin coat of Vaseline or baby oil to bring back the shine. Just put the petroleum jelly or oil onto a washcloth and buff the surface like you would wax a car.

Presto! Good as new.

  • wl paradise

    GREASED LIGHTNING........Yellow with purple band bottle is all we use on all of our propeties.... BEST stainless steel cleaner by far. In an instant.

  • Lauriza

    EVEN BETTER for cleaning those stainless steel appliances......Pledge All Surface Cleaner! You wouldn't catch me using anything potentially flammable around the kitchen, nor anything that might present a toxic hazard!

  • hc

    Like many of you I have tried everything on my SS appliances, with the exception of WD-40. I finally found a product that is wonderful. It's called Sprayway. The compressor on my old SS refrigerator died. When we got to the house (2nd home) weeks later, what a mess. The repairman didn't think it could be cleaned like new. While he was in his truck computing the bill, I got the Sprayway out and it was clean by the time he was back in the house.

  • Lauriza

    Pledge All Surface Cleaner works the best! No toxicity hazard, no chemical odors. As for Water Displacement Formula 40 (WD-40) it is overrated for ANY use. First of all, it DOES NOT displace water, which is why they can't call it by its original name. Take a styrofoam cup, fill it with water and then spray a small amount of your beloved WD-40 on top and hold it over a sink or a trash bin to see if it "displaces" the water by sinking to and through the bottom of the cup. Nah. Now try any commercial grade penetrating oil (State PEN, PEN NC, or similiar product), using another styrofoam cup, same process. Voila, vivre la difference!
    That anyone still uses WD-40 for anything is still a mystery to me.

  • jack

    Try putting the WD-40 in the cup first and then the water. Sure will not work the way you did it.
    Have used WD for 40 yrs. in the aircraft industry.

  • Lauriza

    Oh, sure, that's how it can be done to "repell" moisture. To displace water, e.g., a failed engine component while at sea, WD-40 won't do it. The mere aerosol blast may help force out some of the water, but diplacing the water needs a penetrant oil (refer to mil specs) like State Chemical's Pen or Pen NC. A number of mechanics, including some in your industry here in CT, refuse to use the consumer cheapie WD-40.
    Why do you suppose they cannot use the original formula name, "water displacement formula 40"?

  • Terry

    I just retired from the (former) largest facility of its type in the state and nation as the housekeeping director. Formerly I was a medic in the largest hospital in the armed forces who dreaded brushed stainless steel. At home we use a product purchased from Home Depot called stainless steel magic. It is in an aerosol can with a label that resembles ss. Spray it on a cloth and wipe the appliance - don't spray the appliance and then wipe due to overspray on floor or counters. It holds up for two-three weeks.
    Re: WD-40, there is some transfer from dermal contact days after it is applied. So what?? Do most of you clean under your nails, rings and the webs between your fingers before opening the fridge? Avoid anti-bacterial soaps and wipes also because you develop "super bugs" that are resistant to normal cleaners, and springboard into MRSA. The WD-40 is good for CLEAN shower doors, as a protectant; spray on cloth and wipe the door or the shower becomes a skating rink. Hug a housekeeper today!

  • LT

    Lemon oil works really well also

  • Jack

    Use Pledge, it works awsome! I got a pack from costco the other day and was reading the back just for the hell of it and it suprisingly read cleans stainless steel... so I tried it and I will never use anything else, definitely not glass cleaner that is the worst thing to use.
    ***************USE PLEDGE BELIEVE ME IT WORKS************

  • KJR

    A little common sense people. The article states to spray some WD-40 onto a rag first and then wipe down the stainless steel surface. This works fine. Don't spray it directly onto the surface. If you're using so much WD-40 to possibly "poison" people or contaminate your food you're using way too much and shouldn't be in the kitchen to begin with.

  • Ginny

    WD-40 from what I understand is made from fish oil, so, I can see why oil products do well on stainless.

  • Ricky

    Can contaminate food, highly flammable, not to mention the smell, why would anyone use something like WD-40 on a large area like a fridge in a KITCHEN?- Fail
    BTW-some great comments on alternatives, thanks

  • susan

    I don't want to work that hard!! Afraid of smudges or rust spots on my stainless steel appliance that how come I wont buy them..Basic black works best for me!! Stainless might look nice but that's it, paying for cosmetics and if I am overpaying for cosmetics it's going to be surgery on my aging face!! LOL

  • Gia

    What idiot would spray WD40 on their fridge when you know darn well that little kids touch everything and put their hands in their mouths! COME ON! First of all clean it with a dry cloth and stainless steel cleaners only! As adults we know to only handle the fridge doors but kids and thoughtless slobs will touch the fridge doors like brainless morons. I think Stainless is pretty but much too much work trying to keep it clean around kids and husbands!

  • everet

    DRY baking soda works wonders as does rubbing alcohol. dry baking soda olso cleans dry coffee cups

  • marsha

    I use rubbing alcohol and a microfiber cloth to clean my stainless. It comes out great and is VERY cheap.

  • dragcon2008

    I work at a very large appliance retailer and wd40 is all we use to clean stainless steal appliances its quick, and does a better job than most of your expensive cleaners and wipes

  • markletmein2

    "Food Grade " mineral oil.......same stuff you use on your cutting board.

  • Kathleen

    The best solution to " frig smudges" is a product called Stainless Steel Grill Cleaner Magic!! It is a product of Magic American Products.

  • mamamia1184

    OLIVE works wonders. All the HGTV shows emphasize this!


Follow Us

  • No features currently available.

  • More Hot Topics The Daily Fix  •  DIY Warrior  •  Home Ec  •  Handmade
    DIY Disaster Doctor  •  In the Workshop  •  Product Picks

    Home Improvement Videos