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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 (33)

  • 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.

  • 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!!!

  • 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.

  • 26 Apr, 2014

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

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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?

  • 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! :)

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 20 Oct, 2013

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

  • 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..

  • 15 Aug, 2013

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

  • 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!

  • 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!!!

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.


  • 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.

  • 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??

  • 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!!!

  • 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.

  • 13 Nov, 2009

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

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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?