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Cleaning Stainless Steel Appliances

The Martha Stewart Show, April 2008

Stainless steel appliances are sleek, but they need to be cleaned often to show off their luster. The best product to use is good old-fashioned Windex. Windex gives your glass and mirrors a streak-free shine; it does the same for stainless steel appliances.

Just a few sprays is enough. To make sure there are no streaks, use plenty of paper towels. To help us make environmentally sound choices, Windex has been reformulated to be better for the environment.

Special Thanks
Special thanks to SC Johnson for supplying our viewer mail participant and our entire studio audience with some of their great products, including Windex.

Comments (56)

  • gcobb 15 Apr, 2015

    I use CLR Bath and Kitchen cleaner. Wiped with continued strokes from top to bottom then finished with a dry towel, still by doing strokes from top to bottom. It's a workout but gets all the stains and prints out.

  • pgoldbeck 4 Apr, 2015

    Has Anyone tried Windex on LG stainless steel appliances?

  • akw14580 31 Mar, 2015

    I must thank you all for the ideas! I had used PAM to shine our new ss appliances as someone had said it was the best to keep the shine - problem is that it collects dust and leaves a terrible residue. I just used EVOO and they came out awesome - no streaks, removed all of the water spots - followed it up with Windex as this website recommended and they look just as they did the first day!

  • tinalowe 30 Mar, 2015

    Help please, my stainless steel fridge door has been treated by a well meaning friend with a cleaner that
    made the brushed look of the door now partly shiny! I wouldn't mind if it was all over , but it is not and now the door
    always looks dirty . I find that very enjoying and I am wondering if anybody has a recipe how to get the door all shiny!

  • susanlovesrick 1 Mar, 2015

    Very confusing strand: oil or not? Windex or not? I decided to try a lemon on my cats' stainless steel Drinkwell water fountain; didn't want to use chemicals of course. Those were some heavy water stains and the lemon was like magic! OMG! I'm delighted! Thank you thank you thank you!

  • Celmarie 1 Mar, 2015

    If you have. Kitchen Aid stainless steel fridge...mine is two years old...none of the fixes mentioned in the blog. None. The water stains are or removable I have tried everything. The worst are the drips from the ice maker which I shut off. Save your money, in my opinion, live with the stains or save up for a new fridge that is not whirlpool brand. I have spent over 150 dollars and weeks of trying everything on the market except the barkeepers which I haven't found.

  • Reneekenn 13 Mar, 2015

    I too have tried everything and just tried dawn dish soap on a dry microfiber towel rub with grain then damp micro towel wipe off. OMG the forts time ever the door on the dishwasher ever look clean and streak free I was told to then wipe with pledge or mineral oil but honestly didn't need to !!!!

  • Brebee26 9 Feb, 2015

    Also use with microfiber towel

  • Brebee26 9 Feb, 2015

    Stainless steel cleaning solutions. Magic eraser followed by Rubbing alcohol then polish with steel Meister stainless.

  • clembke 18 Jan, 2015

    Oh did I have fun trying everything on this string. I have a stainless steel outdoor refridge and even though it was only a year old, it had build up & water stains... so I started el natural... vinegar, baking soda, lemon juice... I quickly switched to a handful of miracle products... Scrub off (winner for toilet bowl lines), lime out, bring it on, scum off. The only thing that really worked was.... BARKEEPERS FRIEND! Use wet amt on bumpy towel or wash cloth & listen you can hear when clean!

  • Timmy689 31 Dec, 2014

    I know this is about cleaning the ss, but just thought I would leave a side note that I found once I got it clean, using glasstop cleaner and Windex, I added a coat of once a year wax by Mothers. Once you have a good base coat, the marks come off much easier as they do not bond to the steel. When I rub my hand across the appliance and notice any sort of marks left behind or the surface no longer has that smooth waxed feeling, I clean and reapply wax. Keeps it clean!

  • dave99 31 Dec, 2014

    I have an expensive stainless steel stove with hard water marks on the steel. I tried all of the windex, white vinegar and every other thing without success and was actually at my wits end considering the price of the stove. What I found is that the cleaner for the glass stove top ie Weiman glass cook top cleaner actually is also the thing to best clean the stainless without harming it. Just put a drop on the mark and rub it fairly aggressively with a paper towel. I have not found any other option that works more effectively.

  • JenaTok 12 Mar, 2015

    Can you tell me exactly what wax you use? I think coating it would be a great solution. Thank you

  • Coo1 7 Dec, 2014

    To clean built on water residue on stainless steel appliances I used lemon juice and baking soda. All residue completely removed. Polish with window cleaner. Awesome.

  • blettau 9 Nov, 2014

    EVOO did the trick as a polish/cleaner. I do like the suggestion about food grade mineral oil (also called white mineral oil), because it does not go rancid.

  • kukla 12 Oct, 2014

    I used a wee bit of orange glow on a cloth and wiped in small circular motions and it seemed to get rid of the hard water lines that i had an issue with. otherwise use a micro fiber wet cloth does the job all the time. As for the comment about Stainless steel being a thing of the past? It depends on your kitchen and what looks good. For my kitchen it looks great, a pain to clean but it looks good

  • catcancook 28 Sep, 2014

    My Whirlpool fridge manual says use water & dish detergent but it didn't work. The manual says do NOT use windex. I tried olive oil, didn't work. Whirlpool said to use their product Affresh but it rusted my fridge doors. The fridge was a week old. Whirlpool would not replace the doors.

    I spoke to a stainless steel expert & not all SS on appliances are equal. Whirlpool uses cheap SS and others have had their's rust also. Paying $1450 is not a cheap fridge just cheap SS with no warranty.

  • dave99 31 Dec, 2014

    use weiman glass top cleaner ---still will work on the stainless where the stainless polishes will not--just dab and rub really well

  • labornvain 8 Sep, 2014

    Windex doesn't work. I don't know what's up here saying it does. Credibility is a valuable asset.

    Secondly, the stainless steel craze is over. It's ugly, depressing (who wants to live in a factory) and hard to clean.

    Also, stainless steel appliances, as compared to white ones, make your kitchen look darker and smaller. We just went back to all white appliances, and we were surprised by how much larger (and brighter) it was.

    Lastly, the white made for a lot more cheerful, happy kitchen.

  • Jonesygirl58 7 Sep, 2014

    I have a stainless steel trash can in an ugly state. So after reading all the comments i did an experiment. I figured i couldn't ruin it any further so why not?
    I got out Pledge, Murphy oil soap, and spray bottle of Orange Glo. I cleaned one side with each cleaner to see which did the best job. Orange Glo was my winner! I even went back over the other sides i cleaned with the other stuff and my trash can is indeed Glo - ing! And smells good too! ORANGE-GLO rocks!

  • Debbie Michelakis-Miller 2 Sep, 2014

    Interesting: EVVO worked for stove,dishwasher and freezer portion of refrig. Rerigerator portion did well with pledge but not EVVO. I am thrilled that I discover the EVVO tip!

  • carbkit 11 Aug, 2014

    Are all refrigerator fronts pure stainless steel or do some have clear-coat over the stainless steel to protect it? If so, should the clear-coat be cleaned with ammonia (Windex)?
    We have a Samsung model #RS25H5111SR.

  • KLR3 18 Nov, 2014

    Yes, Samsung uses a coating. Avoid abrasive or acidic cleaners. Unless your appliance is severely soiled, cleaning it with a mild dishwashing soap should do the trick. A little baby oil or mineral oil applied with a soft cloth can help eliminate any streaks or hard water spots; but with the coating, a little will go a long way. I would avoid EVOO or any vegetable oil; it will work initially but can go rancid.

  • yoyoarm 14 Jun, 2014

    HALLELUJAH! This worked a miracle on my 1 year old fridge. I read all the responses below and then took these steps after testing on a site that was not visible:
    1. Used a very wet paste of BARKEEPER'S FRIEND (I use this daily on my stainless cookware, keeps it like new) This got the old, greasy gunk off.
    2. Wiped with damp paper towel
    3. Wet a fresh paper towel with 409 Glass Cleaner, wiped, then wiped again with dry towel and …VOILA!
    I want to shout it from the rooftop…THIS WORKS!!!

  • clembke 18 Jan, 2015

    I added a comment about Barkeepers Friend after reading your experience. It was the ONLY thing that worked. THANKS!!!!

  • Seam 27 May, 2014

    Had to clean messy SS stove top exhaust attached to 12' ceiling. Hard to clean everyday, so lot of sticky stuff deposited from cooking. Tried some of advice given here. Windex left streaks even after thoroughly cleaning drying the surface. Finally, 3 very simple things worked nicely. FRESH microfiber cloth (Costco), dishwasher detergent gel and distilled water in spray bottle. Final coat of oil good for shine but bad long term - attracts dust - avoid. Just spray water and micro-wipe now&then.

  • JDMYosi 26 Apr, 2014

    And what about what seems like a black "rust" coming through to the surface of the SS surface? What are they?

  • lola72 1 Mar, 2014

    Oils and a lot of stainless polishes have solvents that cause build up. So Martha should've warned everyone that the first time you use windex you may have streaking until you remove all the residue left by previous oils and polishes or cleaners. Once you get past all the build up, windex will work great and not leave streaks, but it does take some time if you've been using oils and polishes. Those may make your appliances shine, but are not recommended for stainless. They will cause damage.

  • kdschwen 24 Feb, 2014

    Wow, thank you for the mineral oil tip. I already had a bottle for my cutting boards. First, I cleaned my ss appliances with kitchen cleaner. Then I used a wet clean cloth to remove any residue. I finished up with mineral oil. I just used a paper towel to apply it and then used another clean paper towel to remove any excess. My appliances look brand spanking new!

  • swimmermom621 10 Feb, 2014

    Never use Windex, it ruined our expensive fridge. I have tried everything and hate all the streaks. Finally tried mineral oil on a soft cloth today and all my stainless looks shiny and new. Easy and cheap.

  • rbc430 12 Jan, 2014

    I've read all the comments about how to clean stainless steel appliances -looking forward to trying the olive oil, can't hurt right?

  • Verdigras 9 Jan, 2014

    ...thinking I may not have been clear...
    I did not use the lemon skin on the stainless appliances...I mean I cut some of the skin from the
    edges of the lemon after halving as to leave more of the soft lemon to rub the appliance doors
    with! :)

  • Verdigras 9 Jan, 2014

    Not entirely happy with the Windex result...I cut a lemon in half and shaved some of the
    skin off the edge...and used that...followed by a little clean warm water and a dry paper towel.
    Pretty good!

  • Bill S 5 Jan, 2014

    Great advice. There is a new VOC free cleaner found on Their VOC free glass and surface cleaner leaves stoves, refrigerators, dishwashers and other stainless steel products streak free. I I always use a microfiber cloth with their glass and surface cleaner. A word of caution, be careful not to use strong cleaners on stainless steel, or you may permanently damage the surface. Never use sodium hypochlorite (bleach) on stainless steel, it will damage the surface.

  • peggymimi 13 Nov, 2013

    It actually works!! I cleaned my stainless steel fridge with a dish towel and extra virgin olive oil. Not only did it clean the recent dirt, fingerprints, etc., but it removed a stain that originally came with the fridge. And I used it to clean my dishwasher door. That needed a little pre-scrubbing with a Brillo pad but then, I applied the EVOO and it looks like new!

  • EZ Clean Diva 20 Oct, 2013

    I have used ENJO Marble Paste on lots of troubled stainless steel appliances. Results are quick and great!

  • Denise1 24 Sep, 2013

    This comment is for the person who purchased new appliances and the acid used to clean the floors spotted them. I spoke with Kitchen aid since this happened to me too! They suggested Stratch B Gone...I have yet to try, but wanted to share the info! good luck..

  • jcm 15 Aug, 2013

    I use WD-40 to clean my stainless steel or you can use baby too!

  • mrgreengenes 30 Jun, 2013

    The drug store sells pharmaceutical grade (abbreviated USP) mineral oil. This is the same stuff you should use to treat your wood cutting boards. Works the same as olive oil that others have suggested, except it won't oxidize (i.e. go rancid) like olive oil. Got great results. Apply a little to the tip of your finger on a soft cotton dish towel. The rub-off all that you can. You are left with a beautiful finish. BTW, the drug store stocks the mineral oil with the other laxatives. LOL!

  • Mings_Mom 30 Mar, 2013

    Sorry, Martha, but you missed the boat on this answer. The very BEST way to make stainless steel look brand new (even removes HARD water marks) is extra virgin olive oil. Who would have thought? But it works -- pour a little on a soft cloth and wipe. PERFECT!!!

  • Mings_Mom 30 Mar, 2013

    You missed it on this one, Martha ... the very BEST way to clean up your stainless steel -- including removing water stains -- is extra virgin olive oil. Put a dab on a soft cloth and wipe it on. Your stainless steel appliances will look amazing.

  • Joyce 2 Dec, 2012

    Maybe this will help stainless was a mess and I had given up. Well, after cleaning a bit of silver today, on a whim, I grabbed the stainless coffee grinder to see what would happen. Using the sponge provided with the Wright's Paste Silver Cleaner, I used a tiny bit of paste and the grinder looks like the day I bought it! OK! The dishwasher was next and I love it again! The fridge & range look great too. Takes a little work but the results are glorious.

  • Cundo 18 Oct, 2012

    My cleaning lady used acid to clean the kitchen floor. It splashed my stainless steel refrigerator door and the stove. How would I take the black spots off the surface? Please help!. It is a brand knew appliance.


  • cshboulder 18 Jun, 2012

    I use good old fashioned Murphy's oil soap on stainless steel appliances. I tried windex, vinegar and water, and a host of household cleaners. Nothing took away the streaks and drips better.

  • fridgehelp 25 Nov, 2010

    My grandson sprayed windex on my brand new stainless steel fridge and it left black streaks! I tried to remove them with soap and water, several s/s cleaners and polishes, as well as vinegar and olive oil. I even went back over it with windex and the dark streaks are still there. Help! Is my fridge ruined??

  • Mickhewitt 13 Oct, 2010

    I, too, purchased expensive stainless steel cleaners and polishes. It was a waste of money, especially since Windex does the job quickly, easily and so inexpensively. It did take a few cleanings to get all of the oily residue off but now I can clean my four S/S appliances in just a few minutes. Prior to my Windex experience, I spent hours and ended up with a streaky, oily job - thank you Martha Stewart!!!

  • WestVillager 21 May, 2010

    So many SS cleaners seem more like polishes. I've used Windex and Mrs. Meyer's window spray to remove fingerprints and other daily spots--nicely shines too. I found a Carbona product @ the drugstore (it's blue like Windex in a small spray bottle) that does a great job. They have a polish too, but I don't like the film they leave.

  • SherrieB14 13 Nov, 2009

    I scratched my stainless steel fridge with a scotch brite sponge. Any suggestions?

  • debbiekerygma 24 Mar, 2009

    I have a variety of stainless steel appliance cleaners. None of them worked. I was almost ready to buy new white appliances. Then I used Windex and it made all the difference. My appliances look streak-free and fantastic. I would definitely recommend this product.

  • nglamurosa 12 Nov, 2008

    i use the orange pledge the oil pledge its actually for furnitures for it makes the stainless steel look great remeber since its very oily use a cloth and spray it on your cloth spray as needed.try it u wont regret

  • jrobbies 19 Sep, 2008

    I watched the video and thought how great that would be to just use Windex!
    I tried it on my fridge and stove and they look worse :(
    I'm fed up with buying product after product!

  • PinkHeart 1 Sep, 2008

    I used Windex (with vinegar) to clean the door of the stainless-steel stove in my apartment, which I don't think had ever been cleaned. It's now shiny and streak-free.

  • Brana 26 Aug, 2008

    II also ordered Signature Polish after trying about 6 others. 877-3POLISH or It is easy to use. My SS appliances anc counter tops are shiny and streak free. It took a long time to find this product but I am so glad I did. I was almost wishing I didn't purchase SS.

  • Brana 26 Aug, 2008

    I have also tried several SS cleaners and I finally found one that works well. All my streaks are gone and my appliances look new again. It is called Signature Polish and it is very easy to use. Sub-Zero

  • mrsflynnstone 26 Jun, 2008

    I'm also dismayed. I used Windex on the glass door of my stainless range (b/c the label said safe for Stainless) and it left a streak on the SS. I've been using Stainless Steel Magic and have been pretty happy with it. The appliance store where I bought the SS fridge recommended it. The range store sells Twinkle, has anyone had better luck removing streaks or water marks with Twinkle? I'm going to give that a try. I've not had much luck with the SS wipes. They're OK in a pinch.

  • KimGrace 20 Jun, 2008

    My new Maytag fridge came with directions NOT to clean with window cleaner as it will remover the sealer and NOT to clean with paper towels as they will scratch. I didn't realize I was in for a fragile cleaning job when I picked this appliance. Any suggestions?