How to Get Stains and Discoloration Off a Stainless Steel Cooktop

Stainless steel is a popular option when it comes to bathrooms and kitchens because of its ability to resist rust and corrosion. If you have stainless steel, though, you already know that it can become susceptible to even the smallest of stains, even though it's touted as "stainless." Whether you're removing dirt, grime or just pesky fingerprints, it's beyond easy to clean up the stains on stainless steel, even if you're cleaning stainless steel cooktops.

Macro closeup of modern luxury gas stove top with tiled backsplash
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Stainless steel appliances are very durable and easy to clean, but you do have to clean them often.

Cleaning Stainless Steel Appliances

Stainless steel appliances are very durable and easy to clean, but you do have to clean them often. If you want to keep your stainless steel stainless, you need to make sure that you're upkeeping the maintenance and care. The simpler the cleaning product, the better. You don't want harsh chemicals in a stainless steel cleaner messing with the steel over time.

Before You Clean

Before you even attempt cleaning stainless steel appliances, you have to know what direction the grain is going in. Just like wood, steel has a grain, so you need to look at the faint grooves or marks on the surface of the appliance. If you can't figure out the direction of the grain, that's okay — you won't ruin the steel. But if you wipe vertical to the grain, more cleaning residue will get into the tiny crevices. You want to clean with the grain for the best shine.

Dish Soap and Oil

When cleaning stainless steel, you're going to want to use non-abrasive cleaning rags that won't leave lint. If you don't have cleaning rags, you can use paper towels, but they're more likely to leave lint behind. You can use plain dish soap, baby oil or mineral oil to clean stainless steel because each product cleans off excess oil and makes the polishing process more manageable.

Put a small amount of dish soap on a rag and moisten the cloth with a little bit of water. Not to the point where the rag is soaked, but enough to dampen the cloth. When you are finished cleaning, make sure to dry any water streaks with a clean towel.

White Vinegar and Olive Oil

If you have white vinegar in your cabinet, this will be a reliable cleaner. Add a bit of white vinegar on a microfiber cloth or spray the vinegar directly on your surface. Let it sit for a bit, and then wipe the stainless steel clean. Afterward, dab a clean towel in olive oil and polish the freshly-cleaned surface.

If any excess olive oil remains, wipe it with a clean cloth. This combination works well because the white vinegar will get rid of the grime while the olive oil adds a subtle shine.

Glass Cleaner For Fingerprints

Although stainless steel is coveted, it shows fingerprints very well. If you have an issue with fingerprints always showing up on your stainless steel, you can use any standard glass cleaner to get rid of the pesky smudges. All you have to do is spray a bit of glass cleaner like Windex onto a microfiber cloth and apply it evenly in a circular motion.

Don't spray the glass cleaner directly onto the appliance because this will cause drip marks or splatter residue. You don't want this because it will produce double the cleanup.


Allanah Dykes

Allanah Dykes is a freelance writer and her work has been featured on Elite Daily, Levo League, Popsugar, Complex, Gurl, The Kitchn, HelloGiggles, Revelist, and Food 52.