Stainless steel cleaners remove fingerprints, smudges, and water spots, bringing appliances back to a clean shine.
While you can use almost any mild cleaner on your stainless steel, cleaners that contain a polish will add a protective coat and keep your appliances looking cleaner for longer.
Here are the eight best store-bought stainless steel cleaners plus two you can make yourself.
Best Stainless Steel Cleaners
- Best Overall: Weiman Stainless Steel Cleaner and Polish
- Best Budget-Friendly: CLR Spot Free Stainless Steel
- Best Stainless Steel Cleaning Wipes: Weiman Stainless Steel Cleaning Wipes
- Best Natural: Better Life Stainless Steel Polish
- Best Multipurpose: Mr. Clean Clean Freak Mist
- Best Kit: Therapy Stainless Steel Cleaner Kit
- Best for Black Stainless Steel: Dawn Dish Soap
- Best for Cookware: Bar Keeper’s Friend Cookware Cleanser
How to Clean Appliances with Stainless Steel Cleaner
When cleaning stainless steel, use a soft, lint-free cloth. Regular kitchen rags or paper towels can cause minor surface scratches.
To clean stainless steel, you need:
- Microfiber cloth
- Stainless steel cleaner
Spray the cleaner on, wipe with a soft cloth, and buff to a shine with a dry microfiber cloth.
Stainless Steel Cleaner Reviews
Here are the best stainless steel cleaners, broken down by category.
Best Overall: Weiman Stainless Steel Cleaner and Polish
It comes in an easy-to-use spray bottle. To use the cleaner, spray it on the appliances, wipe away dirt and smudges, and then buff it with a microfiber cloth. The cleaner dries streak-free.
You can use Weiman on regular and black stainless steel, but you shouldn’t use it on food surfaces or flatware.
Weiman Stainless Steel Cleaner has a 4.5 out of 5-star rating from over 4,000 customer reviews. Top reviews claim this cleaner is long-lasting, easy to use, and the best product for stainless steel. Some negative reviews warn against overspray as getting the cleaner on the floor can make it slippery.
- Easy to use
- Cleans and adds a protective topcoat
- Effective against fingerprints
- Overspray can cause a slippery floor
- Not safe for food surfaces
Best Budget-Friendly: CLR Spot Free Stainless Steel
If you need a cleaner that’s effective and easy on the budget, consider CLR Spot-Free Stainless Steel. It comes in an aerosol spray can and will clean and shine stainless steel.
To use CLR Spot-Free Stainless Steel, spray it on the exterior of your appliances and wipe it with a microfiber cloth. Apply a second time if needed. You can use it on appliances, range hoods, sinks, and cookware.
CLR Spot-Free Stainless Steel is rated 4.5 out of 5 stars from over 1,600 reviewers. Top reviews state the product is easy to use and effective in getting rid of water stains, streaks, and smudges. The main complaints say the cleaner is just average.
- Cleans fingerprints, streaks, and smudges
- Leaves a protective top coat
- Some users complain of streaks after cleaning
- Some criticisms of a defective nozzle
Best Stainless Steel Cleaning Wipes: Weiman Stainless Steel Cleaning Wipes
Weiman Stainless Steel Cleaning Wipes will be your best friend if you like to clean fast. These wipes are easy to use and remove cleaner build-up, watermarks, streaks, fingerprints, and smudges.
To use a Weiman Stainless Steel Cleaning Wipe, wipe your appliance in the direction of the grain. Then, buff the exterior with a soft, lint-free cloth until it shines. You can use these wipes on the surface of all stainless steel appliances, trash cans, grills, and black stainless steel.
The Weiman Stainless Steel Cleaning Wipes have a 4.5 out of 5-star rating from over 4,000 reviewers. Users love these wipes for how well they clean. While there aren’t many negative reviews, some users complain about the wipes drying too fast.
- Convenient wipes
- Cleans water build-up, streaks, smudges, and fingerprint
- Leaves a protective coat
- Safe for stainless steel and black stainless steel
- Must buff dry with a separate cloth
- Some complaints about the wipes drying out in the container
Best Natural: Better Life Stainless Steel Polish
If you prefer natural cleaners, you’ll like Better Life Stainless Steel Polish. It cleans, shines, and protects while leaving behind a fresh fragrance.
The Better Life Stainless Steel Polish comes in a spray bottle. To use it, spray your appliance and wipe it clean in the direction of the grain. Then, use a dry cloth to buff the cleaner to a shine.
The Better Life Cleaner is rated 4 out of 5 stars by over 1,100 users. It’s made of natural ingredients like water, vegetable oil, and coconut oil. Top reviewers state that it’s a great natural product, but there are many negative reviews about its milk-like texture.
- Made of natural ingredients
- Cleans and polishes
- Pleasant smell
- Milky texture
- It takes a lot of work to clean
- May leave streaks
Best Multipurpose: Mr. Clean Clean Freak Mist
Mr. Clean Clean Freak Mist is a multipurpose cleaner for countertops, appliances, and other hard non-porous surfaces. While it won’t polish your stainless steel, it does an excellent job removing dirt and water spots.
Clean Freak Mist comes in a continuous mist spray bottle. To use it on your stainless steel appliances, spray a mist and wipe it off with a soft microfiber cloth.
Clean Freak Mist is rated 4.5 out of 5 stars by over 1,100 reviewers. Top reviews claim this product has a great scent and works on many surfaces. Unfavorable reviews indicate problems with shipping or packaging – not with the product itself.
- Works on multiple surfaces
- Cleans stainless steel
- Great smell
- Doesn’t polish stainless steel
- Shipping-related complaints about damaged packaging
Best Kit: Therapy Stainless Steel Cleaner Kit
Purchasing a kit is an easy solution if you’re unsure what to buy. The Therapy Stainless Steel Cleaner Kit comes with a cleaning spray and cloth, removing the guesswork.
Therapy Stainless Steel cleaner has a natural coconut oil base and will clean and polish stainless steel appliances. To use the cleaner, spray it on the appliances and wipe it toward the grain. Buff if needed.
Therapy Stainless Steel Cleaner Kit has 4.5 out of 5 stars from over 17,000 reviewers. Many top reviewers state this product makes their appliances extra shiny. But, there are many negative reviews claiming that this cleaner spreads dirt rather than removing it.
- Natural stainless steel cleaner
- It comes in a kit
- Works on stainless steel and black stainless steel
- Complaints that this product does not clean, only polishes
- Several complaints of a faulty nozzle
Best for Black Stainless Steel: Dawn Dish Soap
Black stainless steel appliances have a smudge-proof coating. As a result, they don’t require polishing the way regular stainless steel does. Instead, the best way to clean them is with hot soapy water, using a product like Dawn dish soap.
To use Dawn dish soap on your black stainless steel, add a couple of drops to a bowl of warm water. Next, dip a microfiber cloth in the bowl, squeeze out excess moisture, and wipe the exterior of your black stainless steel appliances. Then, dry with a soft cloth.
Dawn Dish Soap has a five out of five-star rating on Amazon. It has many uses, from washing dishes to cleaning countertops to wiping down black stainless steel appliances.
- Gentle Ph neutral cleaner
- Great for many surfaces
- No cons – Dawn dish soap is safe and effectively cleans black stainless steel.
Best for Cookware: Bar Keeper’s Friend Cookware Cleanser
Cleaning stainless steel cookware is much different than cleaning stainless steel appliances. You need a cleaner like Bar Keeper’s Friend Cookware Cleanser that won’t leave behind a residue.
Bar Keeper’s Friend Cookware cleaner is a powder that will degrease, clean, and polish stainless steel bakeware, sinks, and more. To use it, wet the cookware, sprinkle the powder on it, scrub with a sponge, and rinse.
Bar Keeper’s Friend Cookware is rated 4.5 out of 5 stars from over 4,500 reviewers. There are many glowing reviews about how well this product removes stuck-on grease and makes cookware shine. Some negative reviews claim the product doesn’t work well on older pots and pans.
- Cookware safe
- Degreases, cleans, and polishes
- Easy to use
- It may not be effective on older pots and pans
- Requires a lot of elbow grease
The Best Homemade Stainless Steel Cleaners
Here are the two best recipes for stainless steel appliances if you prefer to make your cleaners.
Homemade Vinegar Stainless Steel Cleaner
You can use undiluted white distilled vinegar to remove dirt, cleaner build-up, and fingerprints from your stainless steel appliances.
Here’s what to do:
- Fill a spray bottle with white distilled vinegar
- Lightly spray your appliance’s exterior
- Wipe with a soft microfiber cloth, following the direction of the grain
- Dampen a microfiber cloth in water and wipe the appliance to remove the vinegar
- Dry with a fresh cloth
The downside is that vinegar won’t polish your stainless steel.
Homemade Stainless Steel Cleaner and Polish
Olive oil and vinegar are all you need to clean and polish.
- Fill an empty spray bottle with half white distilled vinegar and half olive oil
- Add 15-20 drops of your favorite citrus essential oil (optional)
- Shake to combine
- Spray your stainless steel and wipe in the direction of the grain
- Use a fresh microfiber cloth to buff your appliance’s exterior until shiny
Be sure to spot test this cleaner before using it.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)FAQ
How do you buff stainless steel?
Buffing stainless steel will help it achieve a shiny look. To buff, take a soft microfiber cloth and rub it on the stainless steel using small circular motions after using a stainless steel cleaner.
How do you clean stainless steel appliances with natural products?
Use vinegar and vegetable oil to naturally clean and polish stainless steel appliances. You can also use a store-bought cleaner like Better Life Stainless Steel Polish or Therapy Stainless Steel Cleaner.
Can I clean stainless steel with bleach?
Never clean stainless steel appliances with bleach. Bleach may corrode the exterior.
Can I clean my stainless steel with Windex?
Original Windex contains ammonia which can damage stainless steel. Don’t use any ammonia-based products on your stainless steel appliances.
Can I clean my stainless steel with Clorox wipes?
Clorox disinfecting wipes don’t contain bleach, so they’re safe for stainless steel. While they may leave your appliances streaky, they won’t cause damage.
While stainless steel looks nice, it’s a magnet for smudges, smears, and fingerprints. If your appliances have seen better days, try using a cleaner and polish combo to remove dirt and leave your appliance with a shiny, protective layer.
There are many products, but the most popular is Weiman Stainless Steel Spray and wipes. These cleaners are easy to use and leave stainless steel looking like new.