How to Clean Black Appliances

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A thorough cleaning can remove any dirt or fingerprints but may leave behind a streaky finish.
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Sleek and elegant, black appliances can accentuate your kitchen beautifully. Unfortunately, it sometimes seems as though these black beauties only look good for about five minutes at a time— they quickly become marred by fingerprints and don't hide stains or spills well at all. A thorough cleaning can remove any dirt or fingerprints but may leave behind a streaky finish. Once you learn a few tips and tricks, though, you'll be able to easily achieve a streak-free shine after every cleaning.

DIY Appliance Cleaner

You don't need a special kitchen appliance cleaner to get your kitchen spick and span. Make your own cleaner by combining equal parts water and vinegar in a spray bottle. Spray the appliance generously, and then wipe the cleaning solution away with a clean microfiber cloth. Remember to pay special attention to any handles and buttons on the appliance as these areas are the most likely to contain germs and bacteria.

To remove any cleaning solution residue, dampen another microfiber cloth in warm soapy water and wipe the appliance down again. When you're done, grab yet another microfiber cloth and dry the appliance using a circular motion. Get a new cloth if the one you're using gets too damp. Drying your appliance in a circular motion is the simple secret to buffing out any streaks for a perfect finish.

Black Stainless Steel

Black stainless steel can also be cleaned without streaks, but it requires a slightly different approach than black enamel appliances. The acid in vinegar can damage stainless steel surfaces, so don't use the same cleaning solution that you would for your other appliances, Instead, in this case, stick to warm soapy water for your black appliance cleaner. If you feel you need something a bit more potent, mix 2 tablespoons of baking soda into a quart of water.

When washing and drying black stainless steel, run your microfiber cloth across the appliance in the direction of the grain. This will help prevent scratches. The buffing action of a dry cloth will still eliminate streaks on stainless steel, even though you're not using the traditional circular motion.

Black Appliance Don'ts

To avoid scratches, never use abrasive cleansers or scouring pads on black appliances. Even paper towels and wadded up newspapers can scratch some surfaces, so never use anything other than microfiber cloths to clean. Avoid using bleach, as well. Bleach can damage the membrane buttons on many modern appliances, and leave them looking quite unsightly and hard to read.

Drying your appliance by hand rather than air drying will eliminate streaks and can prevent water spots from forming on your appliance. Extremely hard water, however, can still leave behind dull spots and mineral deposits. If you're struggling with hard water, try cleaning your black appliances with distilled water rather than water from the tap.

If a scratch does appear on one of your black appliances, don't attempt to fix it yourself. Automotive scratch repair kits and do-it-yourself scratch removal methods can make the problem worse and may void your warranty. If the scratch is minor, you can likely learn to live with it. If it bothers you, call in a professional to repair the damage.


Home is where the heart is, and Michelle frequently pens articles about ways to keep yours looking great and feeling cozy. Whether you want help organizing your closet, picking a paint color or finishing drywall, Michelle has you covered. If she's not puttering in the house, you'll find her in the garden playing in the dirt. Her garden articles provide tips and insight that anyone can use to turn a brown thumb green. You'll find her work on Modern Mom, The Nest and eHow as well as sprinkled throughout your other online home decor and improvement favorites.

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