I love my stainless-steel fridge - but the constant kid fingerprints, water spots, streaks and smudges send me into a daily cleaning frenzy. (No “spark of joy” for me with this appliance.) What's worse is that many of the so-called "stainless steel cleaners" don’t actually do much cleaning or shining.
My frustrations led to a slew of cleaning experiments – and voila – I actually found a few methods that really work. So, to spare you the hassle, I’m sharing my top tips for cleaning your stainless-steel refrigerator (it will work on other stainless-steel appliances too):
The major no-nos
Thankfully, before I tried anything, I consulted Consumer Reports and they warned me not to use harsh abrasives, scouring powders, steel wool, bleach or ammonia on stainless steel surfaces. These can ruin the finish, so avoid using these cleaning tools no matter what. You should also check the owner's manual or manufacturer's instructions of your refrigerator, as some companies advise against certain cleaners. HGTV also notes that hard water can add to the spots and stains, so consider treating your water.
The basic steps
No matter what solution you decide to use, the general steps for cleaning a stainless-steel refrigerator are:
- Prepare the cleaning solution
- Dip a soft cloth in the solution and wipe down the refrigerator surface, following the grain of the steel for the best shine.
- Rinse the cloth and wipe down the fridge again.
- Use a dry cloth to buff the surface and prevent water spots.
- Admire the shine
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If the shine isn't as bright as you want it, you can spray a glass cleaner on the fridge and use a soft cloth to wipe it down.
The cleaning methods
When the store-bought cleaners aren't up to par, try one of these alternatives:
- Water + mild dish detergent: Make sure the water is warm.
- Water + baking soda: This creates a paste that's especially tough on caked-on food or grease. There may be a white residue, but you can remove it with a damp cloth before polishing.
- Club soda: Put it in a spray bottle and use it like you would a store-bought cleaner.
- White vinegar: This can also go in a spray bottle.