How to Clean Stainless Steel

Brushed stainless steel is undoubtedly a great finish to have in the kitchen - attractive, hygienic and purposeful - but it does tend to show up all those water-stains, grease and fingermarks that occur with everyday use. Cleaning a stainless steel cooker, fridge or other appliance can be a bit of a chore if you haven’t found the right technique, so here we take a look at a few solutions to help keep your appliances looking their best, with elbow grease firmly at the bottom of the list!

As range cooker specialist with a showroom full of shiny stainless steel cookers, we have tried a good few methods over the years, and concluded that a two-stage process is the most effective to give a streak-free finish with a natural sheen and invisible protective layer.

Stage one:

Use a good quality stainless steel cleaner (see below) on a clean micro-fibre cloth, then apply in the direction of the brushed texture to the whole panel, door, hob etc with a firm action to lift the grease out of the grain of the steel. Do this evenly over the whole surface. Trying to clean smaller areas will just lead to frustration and an uneven finish.

Stage two:

Use a second, clean micro-fibre cloth and firmly buff the whole panel in the direction of the grain, possibly even using a third cloth for a final, grease-free shine. Some products (e.g. Cif stainless steel cleaner) recommend rinsing the surface with clean water before this stage.

The cleaning products mentioned below will not only achieve a blemish-free shine, but will leave a thin protective layer to prevent finger-marking and make the next clean a little easier.

Entry Level

One of the best low-cost products, Cif stainless steel cleaner is available for £4 or so for 500ml from most supermarkets. Instructions suggest rinsing the surface with clean water between application and buffing.
Cif Stainless Steel Cleaner

Top Notch

Certainly the best we have found, the Ultimate40 product from the aptly named Stainless Steel Cleaner company is more expensive at around £15 for a 400ml aerosol, but a little of this stuff goes a very long way, so it is well worth the extra cost in our opinion. We were so impressed with this we now sell it under our own brand HERE. Brilliant stuff.
Bigblue Stainless Steel Cleaner

Very Stubborn Marks

We sometimes hear for people who are really struggling with stubborn finger-marks or other greasy stains on stainless steel. In a moment of inspiration one of our petrol-headed member of staff suggested using WD40 - a famously versatile cleaning fluid and light engineering lubricant - and to our delight this works a treat! Use the same technique as above and you will be amazed at the results. If you do not already have a can in the cupboard, WD40 is available from Halfords, Wilko and many supermarkets for £4 or so. You may like to follow up with one of the recommended cleaners to ensure a hygienic surface on food preparation areas.
WD40 Stainless Steel Cleaner


It is always best to go gently when it comes to control panel graphics, as these are often screen-printed on and prone to rubbing off over time, so take a little more care in these areas.

Not Recommended

Never use anything even mildly abrasive to clean stainless steel - even apparently mild products like Cif cream cleaner, or soft abrasive pads will permanently mark your lovely appliance and be a constant and conspicuous reminder of how not to clean it! Also, you will hear tales of the effectiveness of baby oil in cleaning stainless steel, but going down this route will only result in a sticky and dust/fur-covered appliance a short while later, as this type of oil really is not suitable. These tales date from a time before the excellent and purpose-made cleaners we have now, so don’t be fooled.

So, if the question “How can I clean my stainless steel cooker?” has been on you lips for a while, hopefully the above will provide a permanent solution, and your kitchen will once more be one you can be entirely proud of!