It’s time for another blog post from your favourite domestic cleaning company, helping you resolve your least favourite domestic cleaning problems. Today we’re tackling the cleaning of stainless steel.
What makes stainless steel so great for home appliances is often its downfall when keeping up appearances day-to-day. It’s shiny, and it’s very durable - perfect for modern life. One major gripe is fingerprint marks.
As you may or may not be aware, stainless steels are metal alloys. Thus grease and oil from our skin doesn’t have anything to absorb into, leaving it mercilessly on the surface for Mrs Jones from next door to see when she comes round for one of her neighbourly investigations under the pretence of afternoon tea.
If you haven’t purchased yourself a microfibre cloth, it could well be time to do so. You can read about how they work here. When cleaning stainless steel, wipe in the direction of the grain, which will more than likely be vertical or horizontal.
Let’s get down to basics, shall we? Water isn’t given enough credit. It’s actually an extremely good solvent, hence why literally every living (and extinct) organism needs it to survive. Try and get the marks off with plain water first, and if that doesn’t work it’s time to turn the cleaning dial up a notch to water + washing up liquid.
You won’t need too much washing up liquid, just add a dollop to your damp cloth (too much reportedly damages the chromium layer). After you’ve cleaned something with water, ensure you dry it with an additional dry cloth so that the minerals in the water don’t leave any of those dreaded water marks.
Using glass cleaner or household ammonia is extremely good at cutting through oils. If you’re using ammonia it’s really hard to emphasise enough how you shouldn’t mix it with any other cleaners, especially bleach. Mixing them releases chloramine gas which, when breathed in, react with the fluid present in your lungs to liberate ammonia, hydrochloric acid, and oxygen free radicals. Even without a degree in chemistry, we’re sure you can appreciate that none of these chemicals are conducive to healthy respiratory tract functioning. Chemical pneumonia will set in if a high enough concentration is inhaled which can very easily be fatal.
The same steps for water apply for glass cleaner and ammonia too. Put a small amount on your cloth and rub it in. It’s always best to dry with a towel for these too as remove as much of the chemicals as possible.
Another method for cleaning stainless steel that we’ve come across on our travels includes using vinegar and oil. We’ll probably write a specific post about the facts or fiction of vinegar at some point by the way, so stay tuned.
Remember, grain direction is everything in stainless steel buffing. Find yourself an empty and clean spray bottle, add the vinegar and attack those nasty little stains (vinegar is polar, and grease is non-polar - so they don't mix very well. When chemicals don't mix well it usually means the solvent won't dissolve the thing to be dissolved. In this case, the vinegar may not remove the grease very well). Wipe in the correct direction and that should do the trick.
So, you’ve removed the stains but that isn’t enough. Do you think Mrs Jones is going to be content with that? Highly unlikely! Time to make it shine. Olive oil (we’ve also come across baby oil) is touted as doing the trick. Use it sparingly as people have said that too much oil can lead to stickiness. Go in the direction of the grain, small amounts at a time and that should make it look as good as new.
If you found this useful then give it a like and a share - spread the word! We’ve written other great blog posts including the fascinating world of dust, why bleach is a terrible cleaner, and what mould is and how to deal with it. We’ve put a lot of effort into them and we’d love it if you’d take a peek!