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A guide to caring for stainless steel

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Keep your stainless steel stain-free with these tips!

Stainless steel appliances have turned into a vital element in modern decor. But what really is stainless steel and what is the best way to care for it?

Despite its name, stainless steel is not actually completely stain-proof, especially under low-oxygen or poor circulation environments. However, it is chosen because it does not easily corrode, rust or stain when exposed to water like other steel does due to the amount of chromium present.

Scientists began manufacturing stainless steel in the early 20th century and today there are over 150 different grades of it, 15 of which are most commonly used.

It is important to keep your stainless steel clean as it will significantly extends the life and elegant appearance of your appliances. If not, your “stainless” beauties will contradict their names. Stainless steel is special because oxygen combines with chromium to form a film that protects the object from corrosion, however, any surface contamination by dirt or oil can trap corrosive agents and stop that process.

Microfiber cloths

For any of the methods listed below it is highly recommended to use microfiber cloths because even a mild scrubbing pad can scratch the surface. Microfiber cloths also work better than cotton because they leave less fibrous material on the surface of the steel.

Go with the grain

Even though the grain may not be apparent with just a glance, it is definitely there. So figure out which way your appliance’s grain runs and clean in that direction because even if you’re using a microfiber cloth, going against the grain could cause scratching.

Soft cloth and water

For routine cleaning, start simple and try water and a soft cloth, paper towel or a microfiber cleaning cloth. Just wipe it down and make sure to dry it completely to avoid water spots. When you’re wiping it dry, wipe in the direction of the polish lines. This is a great option for cosmetic issues and general cleaning.

Glass Cleaner

Martha Stewart swears by Windex for her stainless steel appliances. Glass cleaner is especially effective on those pesky fingerprints, one of the major complaints with stainless steel appliances. While not necessary, it’s recommended to spray the glass cleaner on the microfiber cloth or paper towel to avoid drips or waste. To remove the fingerprints just wipe, repeat and make sure you’re not leaving streaks,

Mild Detergent

Another easy and convenient way to keep your appliances shiny and stainless is giving it a wipe down with a cloth with hot water and a drop of mild dish detergent. You can rub the cloth until suds appear but make sure you rinse it off and then towel dry to prevent water spots.

Stainless steel cleaner

Of course there are cleaning products specifically made for stainless steel. While they aren’t necessary for basic cleaning, they are helpful if there is some staining or scratches. They are also fantastic at polishing the surfaces. As with the other methods, be sure to rinse and towel dry thoroughly.

 

By: Alyssa McMurty

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