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How to Clean Stainless Steel Appliances

Whether making a tried and true confection that's always a crowd pleaser or experimenting with a new recipe, your kitchen is the place where creating takes center stage. However, cooking is rarely a neat process and often leaves your kitchen needing some clean up. Learn how to clean your stainless steel appliances with these instructions, so you can keep them gleaming for a clean space that fuels your creativity.

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2 Ways to Clean Stainless Steel Appliances

There are two ways to get your stainless steel appliances shiny and clear of smudges—warm, soapy water and a soft sponge or a mild appliance cleaning product like affresh® and a microfiber cloth.

1: Clean Stainless Appliances with Soapy Water

Use a soft, nonabrasive cloth and a mixture of dish soap and warm water to wipe the surface of your appliance in the direction of the grain. With a second clean cloth, wipe again with warm water before thoroughly wiping the surface dry, always in the direction of the grain. Avoid using rough cleaning tools like steel wool pads, paper towels or abrasive towels. Do not use powders or any cleaning supplies that are acidic, vinegar or citrus-based, as it may stain or damage the coating of your appliances. Below, find detailed instructions on how to clean stainless steel appliances using either method.

2: Clean Stainless Appliances with Stainless Steel Cleaner

If your appliances have more stubborn grime, you can opt to use a stainless steel cleaner like affresh® Stainless Steel Cleaning Spray (recommended by KitchenAid brand) and two clean microfiber cloths. Simply spray the cleaner on the surface of your appliance and wipe clean in the direction of the grain. 

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How do you clean stainless steel appliances with fingerprint resistant finish?

Some stainless steel appliances like this KitchenAid® refrigerator with PrintShield™ finish have a special fingerprint resistant coating that requires special care. You should only use mild soap, warm water and a microfiber cloth, making sure the surface is completely dry when done. 

Do not use stainless steel cleaners or polish and also avoid any harsh cleaners like window sprays or scouring cleansers, as it may damage the stainless steel coating. Additionally, do not clean your appliances with paper towels or newspaper, since it may dull or scratch the coating. 

How to Clean Stainless Steel Appliances Instructions

Learn how to clean your stainless steel appliances and what tools and supplies you'll need with the instructions below.


  • Dish soap

  • Stainless steel spray cleaner (optional)

  • Water


  • Two microfiber cloths

  • Soft sponge (optional)

Step 1: Identify the direction of the grain

Whether cleaning with soap and water or using a cleaner, you'll need to wipe in the direction of the grain to avoid leaving behind streaks or marks. Find the direction by taking note of the lines that are going either horizontally or vertically on the stainless steel surface. If horizontal, wipe from left to right. If the lines are vertical, wipe in a downward direction.

Step 2: Remove any grime or deposits 

Dampen one of the clean microfiber cloths with some warm water and wipe in the direction of the grain to remove any visible stains or grime.

Step 3: Use desired cleaning method

If using soap and water, mix one teaspoon of dish soap and one quart of water in a bowl. Dip the dampened cloth or a clean, soft sponge in the mixture before wiping the stainless steel surface in the direction of the grain. 

If using a stainless steel spray cleaner, spray the cleaner in an 'S' motion and wipe clean with a dry, lint-free microfiber cloth in the direction of the grain.

Step 4: Make sure stainless steel surfaces are completely dry 

Wipe the stainless steel surface completely dry to remove any remaining streaks and add shine.

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Stainless Steel Cleaning FAQs

How do you remove fingerprints from stainless steel?

You can remove any fingerprints from your stainless steel appliances using warm water mixed with soap, a soft cloth and a little elbow grease. Following the instructions listed above will give you gleaming appliances in no time.

What should you not use to clean stainless steel?

Avoid any harsh chemicals like ammonia, citrus-based cleaners, vinegar or vinegar-based products, powder cleaners as well as paper towels, newspaper, rough-textured cloths or steel wool pads when cleaning your stainless steel appliances. Keep things simple by cleaning with warm water, mild soap and a soft microfiber cloth, especially when cleaning fingerprint resistant stainless steel.

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Does vinegar harm stainless steel?

While usually a great ally for most cleaning tasks, long-term exposure to vinegar may actually damage your stainless steel appliances. Avoid damage by using warm, soapy water or a stainless steel cleaner like Affresh® Stainless Steel Cleaner.

How do you clean black stainless steel appliances?

Like traditional stainless steel, you should clean black stainless appliances with warm, soapy water and a soft clean cloth. For heavy soils, you may use a brand-approved stainless steel cleaner. However, if your appliances have a fingerprint resistant coating, you should only use soap and water with a microfiber cloth.

Shop KitchenAid®Stainless Steel Appliances

Whether choosing fingerprint-resistant stainless steel that can help maintain your culinary workshop shiny or black stainless steel that can add an elevated look to your kitchen, KitchenAid® premium appliances offer a blend of style and functionality to help unleash your creativity. Find the perfect collection of appliances that complement your style of making in your preferred aesthetic.

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