Stainless steel has long been a popular choice for home appliances and car parts for many reasons. It provides a beautiful shiny surface that is, for the most part, much more resistant to rust and corrosion than other alternatives such as chrome.
Whether it’s in your home or on your car, properly caring for the steel is essential to keeping up that bright, eye-catching look you want. Fingerprints and water spots will stick around with regular dirt and grime if you don’t properly clean the surface. Fortunately, there are methods of cleaning that are easy and can not only wipe away these spots, but help further prevent them, maintaining that shiny glow for even longer.
To clean your stainless steel, follow these simple steps:
How to keep stainless steel spotless
Step 1: Choose your cleaner. There are many options of cleaners to get your steel clean and mostly it depends on your personal preferences.
For basic cleaning of light dirt and grime, you can use a simple dish detergent. Fingerprints and oils are sometimes easier to clean with a glass cleaner.
Stainless steel cleaners like Weiman Stainless Steel or Simple Green Stainless Steel are specifically designed to clean those pesky stains and are a popular option.
Finally, many people choose to use at-home concoctions such as a vinegar mixture (diluted vinegar with water) or club soda. These can be quick and easy alternatives if you don’t feel like making an extra trip to the store.
Step 2: Clean the surface. It’s important to choose the right material to clean with since you don’t want to damage the surface. A soft microfiber cloth works best as it’s gentle enough to not scratch but durable enough to buff out stains.
You want to make sure you’re cleaning with the grain of your stainless steel for the best possible clean. Do a general wipe down and then use your selected cleaner.
Oftentimes, especially in the case with dirtier surfaces as you might find on wheels or bumpers, you’ll have to do more than one round with the water and cleaners. For example, it can sometimes be easier to clean with water first to get the top layer of dust and dirt off so you can see what you’re working with better. Then come back around with your tougher cleaner of choice.
Step 3: Dry the surface. It is extremely important to dry your stainless steel surfaces after cleaning them since they are particularly susceptible to water spots.
This can easily be done by running over the surface with a dry towel or cloth. Just like when cleaning the surface, it’s best to go in the general direction of the lines to keep up the best appearance.
Step 4: Polish the surface. Finally, it’s all clean and you want to make sure it stays that way as long as possible. Your vehicle is out on the dirty roads every day and you want to prevent added build up and fingerprints so you can keep that shine you just worked so hard for.
Certain waxes or polishes are particularly helpful on stainless steel surfaces to really bring out the shine and, more importantly, help fight off those dreaded spots.
You could try Turtle Wax, Bar Keepers Friend or Brasso Metal Polish to make it shine while even minimizing scratches.
Similar to cleaning and drying, move along the surface with the lines for the best shine when applying the polish.
These simple four steps can get your stainless steel surfaces looking good as new and provide the longest clean possible.
As with any cleaning products, always read the instructions prior to use and ensure you’re using them on appropriate surfaces while wearing the proper protective equipment such as gloves or a breathing mask if working in an enclosed space.