In order to clean stainless steel appliances, it is a good idea to know a little bit about their surface. All stainless steel appliances rely on the continual process of the chromium surface engaging with oxygen to create a hard oxide surface. Dirt, acidic or salty foods, milk and milk products can over time corrode this protective surface if not washed off. There are a variety of products, both household and in-store, that can prolong the life of stainless steel appliances for years to come. For quick cleans, the average detergent with water will do the trick. A mild window cleaner is equally effective. While it's important to keep in mind that harsh abrasive material may not be the best approach, excessive cleaning should not wear out the stainless steel.
The next time you're in the grocery store, go ahead and peruse the cleaning aisle for steel cleaning materials. You should be able to find a good cleaning brush and soap as well. You can also opt for some of the more powerful cleaners, which are ideal for taking on the tougher jobs such as food that has caked on to the top or sides of your stove.
For streaks, feel free to use olive oil, which is also a very environmentally-friendly product to clean with. Vinegar is another great cleaning product that may save you a trip to the store as well. When used undiluted, vinegar will leave stainless steel polished and remove heat stains from cutlery.
Clean stainless steel with club soda to remove heat and streak stains. Use methyl alcohol, acetone, and mineral spirits are also acceptable substitutes for cleaning fingerprints, oils, and greases that have not set in on stainless steel appliances. Finally, baby oil is a simple way to remove fingerprints while also making appliances shine.
Note: Don’t rely on all cleaning products that claim to be stainless steel cleaners. These might have harsh ingredients such as acids or chlorine or may be too abrasive for steel. Be sure to ask a professional to remove scratches, which in some cases can be sanded over.