How to Clean Stainless Steel

Just about everyone’s kitchen has plenty of stainless steel to care for. Whether it is large appliances, cookware, sinks, utensils or small appliances, stainless steel is generally durable and easy to maintain. But it still needs to be cleaned. Following these simple methods will insure that your stainless steel items look their best.

What You Will Need

  • Soft wash cloth
  • Soft absorbent towel
  • Warm water
  • Small bucket
  • Mild grease-fighting dishwashing liquid (such as Dawn or Joy)
  • Rubbing (isoprophyl) alcohol (optional)
  • Baking Soda (optional)

Stainless Steel Cleaning Process


  1. The simplest and quickest way to clean stainless steel is to simply wet a wash cloth with warm water, and wipe down stainless steel items.
  2. Dry thoroughly with a soft towel.
  3. If grease stains remain, mix a few drops of dishwashing detergent with warm water in the bucket until suds form.
  4. Wet the wash cloth with the sudsy mixture and wipe the stainless steel item thoroughly.
  5. Rinse the area with clear water, and dry thoroughly with soft towel.
  6. If grease spot still remains, try wetting a small cloth with rubbing alcohol.
  7. Rub the grease spot thoroughly with the rubbing alcohol cloth.
  8. Rinse the area with clean water and dry thoroughly with a soft towel.
  9. For stubborn, burnt on stains, make a soft paste of baking soda and water (should be the consistency of toothpaste).
  10. Apply to the stain and let sit for 15 to 20 minutes.
  11. Scrub the area with a soft wash cloth dampened with sudsy water described in step 3 above.
  12. Rinse with clean water and dry thoroughly with a soft towel.

Additional Tips and Advice

  • To quickly clean fingerprints and smudges from stainless steel, spray with window cleaner (such as Windex™, or a mixture of 4 parts water and 1 part household ammonia) and wipe with a paper towel.
  • NEVER use abrasive cleansers, abrasive sponges or steel wool (such as Brillo®) on your stainless steel as it may scratch the finish.
  • If you have rust stains on your stainless steel, try cleaning it with an oxalic cleanser such as Barkeeper’s Friend.
  • NEVER use silver cleaners or polish on your stainless steel as they may leave a stain.
  • If you have water spots on your stainless steel sink, try rubbing them a soft cloth dampened with olive oil, then buff with a dry cloth. This should not only remove water spots, but make your stainless steel sink shine like new.
  • If you have water spots on your stainless steel utensils, try rubbing them with a little distilled white vinegar, rinsing them with warm water and drying them thoroughly with a soft towel.
  • Never leave stainless steel cookware on a high heat burner for an extended period of time as it may cause discoloration that cannot be removed. Similarly, never leave boiling water to evaporate completely in a stainless steel pot as it may cause permanent discoloration.



  1. Kunal says:

    Clean your stainless steel with carbonated water to render it sparkling.

  2. Tin says:

    Pour vinegar into pot or pan and wipe with a paper towel. It will look like new again.

  3. Angela says:

    I have found a great cleaner, very inexpensive to use, but does a wonderful job. It is called Bar Keepers Friend. It works a lot like the way Comet does, just pour it in the skillet, pan, sink, etc. and add just enough water to make a paste. No scrubbing necessary. Rinse well, dry and enjoy the results.

    I worked for Princess House, and they sell a lot of very expensive stainless steel products, and they recommend it to their customers. I’m sure you will be pleased with the results.

  4. Sheryl says:

    I use mineral oil to wipe it clean. It looks great and removes the fingerprints and spots.

  5. Jane says:

    I use WD-40 to make my appliances look like new. I think you will be surprised. Just spray it on the item or a soft cloth and wipe it away.

  6. Angela says:

    Use baking soda to clean stainless steel sinks; it removes coffee and tea stains and also water spots.

  7. Perry says:

    Working in the oil field, our lab had a stainless steel sink and to clean it, we use a wad of aluminum foil.

  8. Dutch says:

    Always clean in the direction of the grain of the stainless steel, otherwise scratches will appear.

  9. Donald says:

    Clean stainless steel sinks and dishwashers with OxiClean. For sinks, make a paste and spread it on sink surfaces. Let it stand for about 15 minutes, then rinse good. For a dishwasher (stainless or non-stainless), fill the soap dispensers with OxiClean. Add a couple of scoops to the bottom of dishwasher. Set it to rinse and hold. Let it stand for about 15 minutes, then complete the washing cycle. Run it without dishes through a complete cycle with your regular dishwasher soap.

  10. Sheann says:

    My stainless steel pen’s ink cartridge broke and ink has now stained my pen, some on the outside, a lot on the inside. Does anyone know how I can clean the inside of my pen?

  11. Justo says:

    Wonderful day to you.
    I am an amateur artist in stainless steel. I do objects from raw stainless, which means that I have to polish them from the very beginning. However, I can’t get that beautiful shine on my work. I need to find out how to get rid of the first coating on the steel so that I can get that shinning finished touch. Please advise.
    Thank you in advance.
    Justo .:

  12. Rebecca says:

    I used baking soda on the front of my dishwasher and it scratched it all up! Sad. ;(

  13. Doris says:

    I burned olive oil on the inside of my Kitchen Aid frying pan. It is stainless steel on the inside and not on the outside. How can I get the scorched mark off?

  14. Melanie says:

    This is the article that you need: How to Remove Scorch Marks from Stainless Steel.

  15. David says:

    We have stained our stainless steel kitchen sinks by spilling silver dip type cleaner into them. What can we do? Have tried CIP, but no good.

  16. Attention says:

    Never use mineral oils or special oils like WD-40 anywhere near your food.
    These oils are NOT food-grade. They are poisonous and even carcinogenic!
    Only use oils that you would otherwise put in your mouth – that is food oils like olive oil and other salad or cooking oils.

  17. Vivienne says:

    I have a couple of silver cleaner marks on my stainless steel basin and I cannot get rid of them.
    Can anyone suggest a way? I’d be most grateful.

  18. Jade says:

    I had a steel tie clip on my sweaty skin for a good amount of time without realizing it. Now there is a sweat mark on my boyfriend’s tie clip. Would this be the correct article to follow before I clean it and only make the stain worse?

  19. Gary says:

    On our stainless steel splash back, my wife uses any hair conditioner.
    Use a few drops on a damp cloth rubbed on in the direction of the grain and then wipe it off with a soft cloth, and do a final wipe with an old napkin or similar, always in the direction of the grain. Cheers.

  20. Michael says:

    Please settle this little dispute with a professional’s answer. Do you need to IMMEDIATELY need to dry your stainless steel knives?

  21. Melanie says:

    Most water contains minerals and other things that can leave a residue on stainless steel, which is often known as “water marks”. By drying it with a towel, you can remove the residue. So to properly clean stainless steel, yes, it should be dried immediately.

  22. Chandrasekhar says:

    I use a CO2 laser to cut 2 mm stainless steel sheets. However, it leaves slight burned marks on the edge (smoke stains) making the cut pieces unusable.
    Can anybody throw some light as to how these marks can be removed?

  23. Melanie says:

    This article might help: How to Remove Scorch Marks from Stainless Steel.

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