How To Clean Stainless Steel Naturally

Many homeowners want a dream kitchen, and that may include marble countertops, chic backsplashes, and specialized appliances in sleek stainless steel.

Sure, stainless steel has long been a hardworking hallmark of the kitchen—both in the home and in a professional setting—loved for its durability and hygienic properties.

Yet how easy is stainless steel to clean? In simple terms, easy.

But beware, many common household cleaners found at the hardware store, including glass cleaners, will stain and damage stainless steel appliances, stoves, and fridges. Anything with bleach is particularly worrisome. Even a small amount of bleach can oxidize steel. In fact, bleach is so effective when it comes to oxidation that it can actually make stainless steel rust.

That’s why it’s important to check the user manual. Manufacturers usually provide specific care instructions for their products. So read them to ensure your appliance doesn’t have any cleaning restrictions. Not all steel finishes are the same.

Also, before cleaning look closely at your appliance's surface. Believe it or not, stainless steel has a grain and you want to clean in the direction of the grain. If the grain is horizontal, do your best to start at the top of your appliance and work your way to the bottom. 

You’re likely aware that hard water can cause streaking and smudging, and that makes it a no-no when cleaning stainless steel. You’ll find that distilled or filtered water works better, but beware that any type of dirty water left to dry on stainless steel will create a dull finish and possibly leave permanent spots and stains.

That being said, a spray bottle containing equal parts of vinegar and water will cut through most oils from cooking and provide faster and better results than water alone. Just be sure to wipe everything down with a microfiber cloth.

If things are really dirty, you might be tempted to use a baking soda paste. But baking soda is a mildly abrasive cleaner and there is a chance it will cause tiny scratches when scouring stainless steel. If you do use baking soda, be sure to rub with the grain and rinse away the white residue.

Now if you’re looking to get your stainless steel really glowing again without the risk of scratching, and who isn't, Branch Basics is seriously amazing. Branch Basics is a leading maker of all-natural, non-toxic cleaners that are EWG verified. Their Starter Kit comes with their signature concentrate and a variety of empty bottles for cleaning everything. You simply mix the concentrate with water at different ratios in the refillable bottles. Both the Streak-Free and All-Purpose solution make stainless steel shine like never before.

Another amazing way to clean stainless steel naturally without degrading or discoloration is with a dry steam vapor system, if you happen to have one.

By far the biggest complaint from owners is that their stainless steel appliances show fingerprints. You will find that a steam vapor system and a natural horsehair bristle brush do wonders for removing stubborn fingerprints and smudges, especially when you wipe everything down with a microfiber towel. You can use a regular brush wrapped with a terry or microfiber towel if you don’t have a horsehair bristle brush available.  

It’s important to point out that cleaning with steam vapor is a double plus. It cleans stainless steel perfectly and disinfects at the same time. This is particularly important if someone in your family is suffering from the flu. If your steam vapor system is equipped with TANCS, an innovative technology proprietary to Advanced Vapor Technologies, developers of Ladybug steam vapor systems, you can sleep better knowing that using it to clean your home wards off colds, flu, and viruses.

TANCS-equipped steam vapor systems proudly display an EPA establishment number—which means rigorous testing had to be performed by accepted laboratories with the results submitted to the EPA. 

These groundbreaking devices can be used to clean and disinfect your entire home, not just your stainless steel kitchen appliances. Not to be confused with standard steam which leaves surfaces wet, steam vapor is very dry and when used correctly will leave sensitive surfaces like upholstery and hardwood flooring looking new again without damaging them.

Unlike other steel cleaning methods, regular tap water is recommended with steam vapor. That’s because TANCS uses the minerals not found in distilled or filtered water to destroy pathogens. But don't worry, a TANCS-equipped steam vapor system will not leave streaks or smudges, or cause boiler scaling, because TANCS scientifically changes the surface tension of the water to prevent these things from happening.

If you want to know more about TANCS, or if you just like high-quality motion graphics and animation, this short explainer video is definitely worth a watch.

On the professional side, businesses such as restaurants and supermarkets looking to disinfect food preparation surfaces like stovetops and hoods, countertops, and cutting boards can rest comfortably knowing that TANCS-equipped steam vapor systems are proven by science to disinfect in 7 seconds or less. That’s game-changing speed compared to many EPA registered chemical disinfectants that require a dwell time of up to 10 minutes or more. That's sure to impress health inspectors whose job is to ensure that everything meets all the established sanitation and safety rules.