Tuesday, May 10, 2016

56 Quick Tip Tuesday: Cleaning Stainless Steel Appliances

Did you know there are multiple ways to clean stainless steel, and some work much better than others?  I actually was a bit surprised at how certain cleaning techniques can impact the final shine and finish of stainless appliances.  A few years ago we purchased a stainless steel fridge that sported "smudge proof technology", and although it would still smudge and get dirty, just about any type of cleaning method brought it right back to new with very little effort.  Initially, I didn't appreciate what a blessing that was or know any different because it was our very first stainless appliance.  Last year we moved that fridge to the garage and replaced it with a counter depth model in our updated kitchen.  The new model doesn't have that same technology, and is a bear to keep clean, and also to clean without creating new smudges and streaks.  Since purchasing the new fridge, I have tested out five different methods.  That's right, FIVE!  And not all were that great, while one worked beautifully after I had almost given up. Today I thought I would review each one here, so that you don't have to spend the time or money figuring out the best method.


First, I hired help to really be sure I was giving each product a true testing playground.  My youngest was given permission to dip his hands in juice and rub them all over the fridge between each product test.  How much fun do you think this was for a 9 year old? Permission to finger paint on the fridge with juice?  Heck yes!


He took his job very seriously!

After that, I pulled together my five different stainless steel cleaning products that I have been attempting to use over the past few months:

1 - Stainless Steel Spray Polish | 2 - Pledge Multi Surface Cleaner | 3 - Stainless Steel Cleaning Mitt | 4 - Glass Cleaning Rags | 5 - Weiman Stainless Steel Wipes

Let's dive right in.... 


STAINLESS STEEL SPRAY POLISH

This stainless steel spray couldn't be easier to use; lightly spray the surface of the fridge, let it sit for a minute or two, wipe down with a clean microfiber rag.


Cleanliness: Majority of the finger prints and juice streaks were removed, but not all came off easily and required a little elbow grease.

Streaks: Minimal streaking, this product offered the shiniest finish.  The final result was almost mirror-like.

Other Notes: I tend to avoid utilizing aerosol sprays whenever possible, so this instantly lost points there.  Also, the over-spray is ridiculous, the floor below always becomes so slippery that it is a hazard.  Not to mention, I am not sure what repeated spray would eventually do to the floor's finish.  I have tried to spray directly on the rag, but the results definitely do not compare with that application method.  Finally, the oily finish builds over time, making it harder to switch to other cleaning methods without scrubbing and removing layers of this spray first.


My Personal Rating: 3 out of 5


PLEDGE MULTI SURFACE SPRAY

This Pledge cleaner is also a spray the surface and wipe away with a soft microfiber rag application.  


Cleanliness: Majority of the finger prints were removed, surface was also cleaned with anti-bacterial properties (which is important during cold and flu season in such a high traffic area).

Streaks: The worst streaking of all of the methods I tried, even after a second try.

Other Notes: Again, loses points for being an aerosol product and for chemicals.  Over-spray didn't seem as dramatic as the previous stainless steel specific spray.


My Personal Rating: 2.5 out of 5


STAINLESS STEEL CLEANING MITT

This stainless specific cleaning mitt is intended to be paired with water.  Simply dampen one side of the mitt (by spraying the mitt or the fridge), wipe down the fridge then flip it over to polish and dry.


Cleanliness: Majority of the finger prints were removed.

Streaks: Streaking is inconsistent.  It really is finicky depending on the amount of water and how quickly you can buff it dry.  Some spots I had to go over a few times, and wasn't ever able to achieve a completely streak free fridge.

Other Notes:  I appreciate the fact that the mitt is inexpensive, reusable and doesn't require any chemicals.  If I had more patience, I would use it all of the time as my number one pick.  I also think if this is the only method used, it may be easier to remove streaks within the first cleaning (my previous cleaning methods may have been impacting my final results).


My Personal Rating: 4 out of 5

UPDATE: Since testing these products and writing the post, I went back to only using the mitt and after using it 3-4 more times, the streaking was reduced with each cleaning.  I really, really want to love this product.


GLASS CLEANING RAGS:

A sweet reader told me she used my glass cleaning method, to clean her stainless appliances.  WHAT?!  Of course, sometimes the most obvious solutions are right under my nose.  My glass rags paired with water leave a streak-free stunning finish on our glass and windows, so my fingers were crossed I would achieve the same results with our fridge.  I sprayed the water on the fridge, cleaned with a microfiber rags and followed up with the polishing rag.


Cleanliness: Majority of the finger prints were removed.

Streaks: As with the mitt, the streaking was inconsistent.  I felt like I had to clean the fridge in patches to be able to buff with the polishing rag before it was already dry.  I was never able to fully achieve a streak free finish.  In the end, I found the mitt to be easier to work with.

Other Notes:  I appreciate the fact that I can use products I already have for glass cleaning and this method doesn't require any chemicals.  


My Personal Rating: 3 out of 5


WEIMAN STAINLESS STEEL WIPES

These stainless steel wipes were about to be donated back to the store I purchased it from because I was instantly disappointed.  Why?  Because I didn't read the directions. #facepalm  Once again, y'all taught me something and let me know my frustration with the wipes was that I wasn't buffing the fridge after using them.  So, first, THANK YOU!  Second, to use simply wipe down the appliance with the wipe and follow up with a microfiber rag to buff dry.


Cleanliness: All of the finger prints were removed, the fridge was literally spotless.

Streaks: Absolutely NONE!  After wiping the fridge with the wipe, there were white streaks.  Don't stop at that step like you generally would when cleaning something with a wipe.  Buff those white streaks out with a soft microfiber rag and you will be grinning cheek to cheek!

Other Notes:  This product cleaned my appliances far better and easier than any other method.  Even though a two step process, it was crazy easy and quick.  I have to dock half a point because this method is not reusable.  However, once used, it also repels dust and dirt to reduce number of cleanings per week.


My Personal Rating: 4.5 out of 5


To recap:
  • Always read product application directions thoroughly
  • Always clean your stainless in the same direction as the metal grain
  • I have also tried a few regular all purpose cleaners with the same results as the Pledge Multi Surface cleaner
  • Smudge free technology is actually really awesome
  • You have to weigh out what is important to you when selecting your favorite cleaning products and methods - everything from chemicals to cost to time and waste are all important items to consider 

So what did I ultimately select?  I am going with the mitt for daily cleanings paired with an occasional polishing with the stainless steel specific wipes.  

I hope you all found this to be helpful and saves you a bit of trial and error.  Next time your darling little bambino grabs the fridge handles with hands full of jelly, you will know just what to do.  Happy cleaning polishing everyone!


* All products shared in this post were purchased by me for review purposes.  All opinions and the cute helper are also mine. *

56 comments:

  1. For me the best and cheapest product to clean my stainless steel fridge - Johnsons (but I am sure other brands will do the same) baby oil - it leaves a residual that prevents new finger prints for a couple of days

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    1. Your idea for using baby oil definitely worked! However, after the second day the residual light oil had accumulated dust and my cats's hair - so for me, it made more work. Thank you for sharing - it definitely was worth the try for me! :)

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    2. I agree! I use baby oil and it is amazing! Helps prevent new smudges and smells good!

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  2. One thing thats great about moving around so much to different rented, furnished properties, is that you know exactly what you *don't* want when you finally get your own place!

    Number one on my list is glass-top furniture. I couldn't say no to stainless steel or metallics, so thank you for such an informative post!

    Katie
    www.kathyathy.com

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  3. I am fortunate in that having no kids means our fridge doesn't get too horrendous. It claims to be finger print resistant so isn't fully smudge proof... I find a buff with a dry microfibre cloth gets 90% of marks off it, if anything has been splattered on it or the water from the dispenser has run down the front it sometimes needs a damp cloth first but we have had it a year and I have never had to resort to specific cleaning products!

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  4. What perfect timing you have! We just got our new stainless fridge and microwave last week. Our old one was a bear to clean and I had all but given up on it. I want to start this one out well from the very beginning and will give your method a try!I definitely like the no aerosol approach!

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  5. Yes! I always use those wipes and they work amazing! I dont polish up the the fridge too often (more for guests visiting) so they should last me a long time

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  6. I've been using the Weiman wipes for a couple years now and I never knew you had to follow up with a buffing!! Genius!! Thank you! :)

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  7. I'd like to chime in that the Weiman Stainless Cleaner also comes in a trigger spray format! I find the wipes dry out and the trigger spray can last us a very long time. Happy Cleaning!

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    1. Do you still buff after with the spray?

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  8. This is so helpful! I've been struggling with my stainless steel appliances too. I haven't tried the wipes and that may be my next stop. Thanks!

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  9. I found the Whirlpool Stainless Steel Cleaner & Polish 31462A (available on Amazon) also excellent on all my stainless, not just Whirlpool. It's similar to the one you recommended in that it needs to be buffed off. Apply with a rag and then polish off with microfiber cleaning cloths. For me it was streak free and no oily build up, but I didn't have 9 year olds finger painting on my appliances. A little goes a long way.

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  10. Thank you!!! We are getting our first stainless appliances next week, and I hadn't even considered yet how I was going to clean them.

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  11. Glad to hear their stainless wipes are better than thei glass cooktop cleaner. That stuff is awful.

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  12. We use a Norwex Enviro Cloth and Window Cloth on it and it works like a charm!

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  13. I use just plain vinegar followed by olive oil on mine and it looks GORGEOUS. Plus, I don't have to buy anything extra. I followed this tutorial: http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-clean-stainless-steel-appliances-with-vinegar-and-oil-cleaning-lessons-from-the-kitchn-205232

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  14. Just a pedantic note that water is a chemical. :D

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  15. Thanks for your review on all these methods, Jen! It's definitely a challenge to find a product/method that works. I came across a Pin not to long ago to clean stainless steal appliances with... cooking oil spray. Yup, that's right good ol' Pam spray. I tried it out with a microfiber cloth and it cleaned my fridge better than any product I have tried. Who knew?

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  16. Anyone have tips for getting stainless steel clean but not super shiny? I'm just not a fan of that look.

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  17. This is a post I can appreciate! Thank you for sharing. I love Weiman products, and I use the aerosol spray for my stainless appliances, I'll have to try the wipes!

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  18. Thank you so much for this post!! I've been trying vinegar with coffee filters and our stainless appliances are not getting clean... and we don't even have kids!! I'll definitely be looking into your mitt and wipes!

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  19. I've been using a magic eraser on my stainless dishwasher. I just dampen it, wipe, and buff with a soft cloth. No residue and no streaks.

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  20. In my experience, the BEST way to clean stainless steel appliances is good old regular PLEDGE. NOT the multi surface kind, but the kind you use to clean wood. Yep. It is a "chemical" and you do need to be careful about over spray on the wood floors (slippery!! - just hold your rag below where you are spraying to "catch" it) so I know it will lose points based on your criteria, but my fridge and dishwasher sparkle and I have one cleaner that cleans 2 surfaces so thats a win in my book! :)

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  21. The norwex enviro cloth and the purple glass cloth are amazing. They are also great on shower doors. Environmental friendly too.

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  22. I put a magnet on my fridge and it unknowingly got wet behind it. You guessed it...I have a rust spot on my NEW fridge. Any tips on getting that off? I've tried the wipes to no avail, but I did just recently get some Norwex cleaning rags--maybe I'll try them with it! :)

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    1. Oh no! Maybe a small amount of Bar Keeper's Friend? I would definitely try to test in a small, hidden area first.

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  23. We purchased the Zep stainless cleaner and I tossed it because of the horrible SMELL!! Do the stainless wipes have any odor to them?

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    1. The odor of the wipes is a mild "clean" smell, definitely not as strong as the spray. :)

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  24. We too have struggled with this. Just came across Hope's Perfect Stainless wipes, and they are AWESOME! Purchased at our local Bed, Bath & Beyond.

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  25. Olive oil on a micro fiber cloth works for us. I wonder if these products marketed as "SS cleaners" are just some form of oil.

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    1. Quite possibly, the oilier the product, the shinier the fridge became. :)

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  26. Thank you so much for this post. I didn't have a problem with our stainless steel until we got a new fridge last summer. I had yet to figure out how to get it streak-free. I am definitely going to try the wipes and a good micro fiber cloth!

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  27. I was out of my usual stainless steel spray and asked my husband to picked up some at the store for me. He came back with the same wipes you featured here. I was initially annoyed because he didn't get what I asked for, but then I tried the wipes. They are amazing and way better than the spray I was using. I'll be using these from now on.

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  28. I have used murphy's oil soap in the pump spray bottle and a microfiber cloth. I was as easy as your wipes sound without having to go back over it. I have tried the water with microfiber cloth and the pledge multi surface but neither worked as well. It's oily but not like cooking or olive oil.

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  29. I have used olive oil for years, on the fridge, the range hood, the oven, the BBQ - and love it! Wouldn't use anything else.

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  30. Vinegar! Spray on the fridge then wipe off with a rag in the direction of the, i guess grain, of the steel. Streak free and shinny.

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    1. VINEGAR! It does miracles on ALL stainless steel appliances, is cheap and natural! I've been using it for years!

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  31. It's so funny, Pledge Multi Surface works flawlessly on my fridge! But, I tried to help my mom clean her kitchen with it and her fridge was so streaky afterward. I wonder if I have a smudge proof fridge and just didn't know it!
    -Kristen
    www.pugsandpearls.com

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    1. It is funny! I've seen several people swear by vinegar and olive oil too, but those didn't work for me. It really must depend on the fridge!

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    2. Vinegar and olive oil worked with our last fridge, not this one either. :) Who knew stainless could be so different based on the manufacturer? #strange

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  32. You have made me so happy! For 16 months I have wiped our fridge to no avail. The directions say not to use any products on the smudge free finish. Today I bought the wipes at Target and I am grinning ear to ear! My heart is happy! It even tooK off the residue from the manufacturer sticker that elbow grease couldn't. Thank you!

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    1. That makes me giddy to hear, Lisa! ♥ YAY!

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  33. I have been dying to ask for months, are you ever going to do a final post/reveal on your kitchen?

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    1. Absolutely! We have a few final things to finish up (waiting on some final tweaks from our cabinet designer, the new downdraft is set to be released any day now, install a backsplash and toe kick and done!) I absolutely can't wait! Thanks for checking in. :)

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  34. Thanks for this review! I use the Weiman wipes and they work really well. Have tried a few other cleaners but they just don't compare. Thanks again!

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  35. Jen, I've been using Stainless Steel Magic Trigger and I absolutely love it. It has the positives of NOT being an aerosol can, you can use it with your cleaning towels and therefore better for the environment, relatively speaking. I saturate one rag with the product and wipe down the fridge. Then I go over it with with a soft dry rag and buff it.
    http://magicamerican.com/Products/Stainless-Steel-Surface-Cleaning/Magic-Stainless-Steel-Cleaner-Trigger-24-oz

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  36. Have you tried a GLEEN CLOTH? They are amazing! It's a strong fiber cloth (similar to a chamois) that only uses water, no cleaners. All you do is wet the cloth, wring it out and you're good to go! My favorite surfaces to clean with the Gleen Cloth are windows, stainless steel and granite countertops, though it's safe to use on many more surfaces. One caution....If you're cleaning an extra dirty or muddy surface (such as the exterior of windows) I would wipe the surface down with a different cloth first, as the Gleen Cloth is white and it gets stained. Give it a try...you won't be sorry!

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    1. It sounds magical! Thanks for the tip, I will have to look it up. :)

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  37. I read an article a while back that said that not all SS appliances are the same. What works for a Samsung fridge may not work as well on a GE, etc. So if you have multiple brands of SS appliances in the same kitchen, you might not get the same results on each appliance. For me, the streakless fridge is the most important one. Luckily, the article I read (maybe a Clean Mama article?) had tested several products on the same model Samsung fridge I have so I've been using the Weiman SS spray ever since. It works great on all our appliances but I do agree about the overspray. I just hold the rag under it when I spray and it's fine. I may give the Weiman wipes a try when I run out.

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  38. I used to work for a cleaning company that used Sheila Shine. We always cleaned the fridge, applied some Sheila Shine, then every time we came in and cleaned just dampened a microfiber cloth with water and a tiny bit of dish soap. We would wipe the finger prints off and buff with a dry microfiber rag. Took no time and came out looking polished. Usually only had to apply the polish every few months if at all. We also had to spray the polish in the sink with the water running (for the smell) because it does get crazy slippery. For another job we used with the Zep (which is nice) or WD-40 which also polishes.

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  39. Norwex cloths are SO good. Just water to make all of my stainless shine and no chemical residue.

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  40. I have heard the Norwex cloths are good but man, they are quite the investment. We are replacing our appliances as they break down and the first to go was the microwave, so I don't have a ton of space to clean, but I use the Method Stainless Steel spray directly on a reusable waffle weave microfiber rag (so the pile isnt so high and doesnt suck up all the cleaner) and then rub everything off. It seems to be a little bit of an inbetween of what you've tested. It isnt really streaky since its not waxy, and only requires a teeny bit of buffing. Plus Method is natural...and this cleaner smells like yummy apples!

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  41. I too have tried numerous products in the past to get those grease stains/streaks off the fridge. Now, I just use baking soda and a little water with paper towel for a first scrub. Then after wiping off the residuals (same paper towel but rinsed out of the powder), buff with a clean cloth until dry.

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  42. Thank you, thank you, thank you! It only took me ten minutes to clean my entire kitchen full of GE stainless steel appliances. I wiped everything down, and by the time I returned to where I started, quite a bit of the product had evaporated. A very quick buff was all my stainless needed to be shiny and kid-gunk free. Amazing! (Although I have to say, I will miss the upper arm workout I got when using vinegar and microfiber!)

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  43. Reading your cleaning 'roundy-round' made me have an "aha" moment. OK, it was more of a "slap to the forehead" moment, but it made me want to try something I never thought to use when I read about the 'water and cloth' way of cleaning. A few years ago, my husband brought home a couple 'Streak free cleaning cloths' that a vendor had given him. I put them in a drawer (I can't throw anything away, but that's another problem for another day). All you do is wet the cloth with water, wring out real good and wipe. YEARS of trying to have streak-free, shiny SS appliances was accomplished in minutes...literally. I did all 4 items in under 5 minutes. They are clean, streak free and shiny. I'm so glad I didn't throw the cloths away. Thank you for reminding me to 'try new things' because sometimes, just sometimes, they work. Hugs!!

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  44. Try 409 Stone and Steel. Incredible! You will never use anything else. As the name states, it will work for your granite and other tile as well.

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