How to Clean Grease Off Stainless Steel

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There are several ways to clean grease off of stainless steel.
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Stainless steel looks gorgeous in a modern kitchen so long as it stays clean. Fortunately, one of the main benefits of using this material is that it's easy to clean and sanitize. There's just one substance that can be rather stubborn: grease. To remove grease from stainless steel, you'll need to use a cleaner specifically designed to tackle oil while also taking care not to scratch the stainless steel with too much scrubbing.

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Best Cleaner for Grease on Stainless Steel

Greasy smudges from fingerprints or spilled food detract from the shiny surface of stainless steel sinks and appliances, but wiping it away as if it's a water-based spill will only spread the grease around. And if the grease is baked onto a stove top or pan, you may struggle to break apart the debris without damaging the stainless steel.

You'll need to use a cleaner designed to cut through the grease without causing abrasion. Start with some basic liquid dish soap. Get a cloth wet with warm water, add some liquid dish soap to its surface, rub the cloth together to form a lather and then wring out the water and soap over top of the baked-on grease stain. If the grease is on a vertical surface, mix the soapy concoction into a spray bottle and apply a generous amount directly to the stain.

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The key is to allow the hardened grease to lift off the surface so you can remove it gently instead of spreading it around. If you start enthusiastically scrubbing at burnt grease, you'll spread abrasive particles around and scratch the stainless steel. To clean a stainless steel pan with caked-on grease, let it soak in warm soapy water. Stainless steel resists corrosion, so it won't be damaged by prolonged contact with water like cast iron or aluminum cookware.

Cleaning Fingerprints and Mild Grease Splatters

If the grease hasn't been burnt on to the stainless steel, you can spray a glass cleaner on the surface and wipe it with a soft microfiber cloth. You may already have other suitable cleaners in your home as well. According to stainless steel manufacturer Medallion Entry, numerous types of solvents can be safely used to clean grease from stainless steel, including isopropyl alcohol and acetone. Apply a small amount to grease stains on surfaces that don't come in contact with food and wipe it away with a soft cloth.

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To restore shine to your stainless steel appliances, buff it with a dry microfiber cloth. You can also apply a small amount of baby oil on stainless steel before continuing with the buffing process.

How Not to Clean Stainless Steel

When cleaning stainless steel, avoid a few common mistakes to prevent unsightly damage. For example, don't attempt to clean or sanitize stainless steel with bleach as it will corrode the material. Likewise, take care to only use soft cloths. Abrasive sponges, dish rags soiled with food particles, powdered cleaners or steel wool will all scratch stainless steel, which can detract from its appearance.

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Brushed stainless steel also has a grain that you should follow when wiping it clean. If any scratches do occur, ensuring they align with the grain will make them less noticeable.

Finally, stainless steel is corrosion resistant, not corrosion proof. Failing to routinely clean your stainless steel appliances, sinks and cookware will lead to corrosion more quickly than if you perform routine maintenance. Take care of your stainless steel and it will make your kitchen look shiny and brand new for years to come.

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Cathy Habas enjoys distilling even the most complicated home improvement tasks into bite-sized pieces. She believes in empowering homeowners one article at a time.