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For a sleek, modern look, it’s hard to beat a stainless steel appliance—when it's clean. Fortunately, this surface is easy to clean with the right products. We rounded up the best stainless steel cleaners and rated them on effectiveness, convenience, and affordability, so you can choose the right one to make your surface shine.
Our top pick, Weiman Stainless Steel Cleaner & Polish, is an easy-to-use spray that wipes clean with common household sponges or lint-free cloths. It is also affordable and available in most supermarkets.
Here are the best stainless steel cleaners, from deep cleaners to eco-friendly options.
Best Overall: Weiman Stainless Steel Cleaner & Polish Trigger Spray
Cleans and polishes
Can be used on a variety of items
Creates protective finish
Small bottle capacity
This top-rated cleaner sprays easily to clean off everything on your stainless steel surfaces—from fingerprints on the refrigerator to stuck-on food in your sink. The Weiman Stainless Steel Cleaner is safe to use on kitchen appliances, such as dishwashers and ovens. You can also use it on smaller items, like silverware and cookware. The versatility of this Weiman cleaner sets it apart from other options on the market.
Using Weiman Stainless Steel Cleaner goes beyond just getting your items clean. It adds a protective coating to your appliances to keep fingerprints and dirt from finding their way back onto your shiny appliances. It is also effective against grease, a common kitchen culprit that not only looks dingy but can create other problems for your home. The finish is both protective and streak-free, so it will keep your items sparkling for a long time.
This is a budget-friendly option but doesn’t come in a large quantity. While a little bit goes a long way, if you know that you’ll be cleaning a lot of stainless steel items often, we recommend buying in bulk.
Best Budget: Pledge Stainless Steel Cleaner Spray
Easy to apply
Does not provide a protective barrier
This aerosol spray from Pledge is easy to use and budget-friendly, and on top of that, it's highly effective. It keeps fingerprints off of stainless steel surfaces, including appliances and grills. It leaves a shinier finish than some other cleaners. Rather than providing a protective barrier, this is a true cleaner that removes dirt, grime, and other buildup.
Some people think that the signature lemon Pledge scent is overpowering, while others embrace its familiarity in their home. Either way, it is quite strong and may not be great for those with chemical or scent sensitivities. Pledge uses chemical fragrances, which is important to note for those with allergies.
Best Eco-Friendly: Therapy Stainless Steel Cleaner and Polish Kit
Cleans and polishes
Bulk purchases available
Made with plant-based ingredients and essential oils, the Therapy Stainless Steel Cleaner Kit still packs a powerful cleaning punch. The scent and cleaning power come from coconut oil, which cleans and polishes. Lavender essential oil adds another natural scent to the formula.
For cleaning food preparation areas, the safe ingredient list is a major perk. This is a more expensive option than some others on our list, but you can buy it in larger quantities for better savings. Remember that with most spray cleaners, you will need a cloth to buff the surface. Therapy recommends a microfiber cloth for best results.
Best Polish: ZEP Stainless Steel Cleaner & Polish
Works on a variety of surfaces
Not ideal for cookware
Another aerosol spray, the Zep Stainless Steel Polish is easy to use without worrying about drips and streaky spots. Simply spray it on, buff it into the stainless steel surface (with the grain), and reveal a sparkling finish. It can also work for chrome and aluminum surfaces. This spray targets water spots, fingerprints and smudges, and discoloration. It can also protect against rust and corrosion.
This is an ideal spray for appliances, but it isn’t great for cookware. While the ingredients are safe, it’s important to buff all of the product off before using your cookware. And even though it's technically unscented, it has a chemical smell that some people find quite strong.
Best Wipes: Weiman Stainless Steel Cleaning Wipes
Cleans and polishes
Great for appliance handles
Expensive for amount
Creates more waste
Our top pick, the Weiman Stainless Steel Cleaner, also comes in wipes. These convenient wipes clean and polish, just like the spray. They also add a protective layer to keep future fingerprints and grease from accumulating. The wipe application method makes this cleaner easy to use on things like refrigerator handles, which is a common place in the kitchen that needs special attention.
Each container includes 30 wipes, making it convenient but not the best value. One wipe can carry you through cleaning multiple appliances if they aren't too dirty. For a better value, consider purchasing these in bulk. You can also purchase a combination kit that includes the wipes for convenience and the spray for long-term use.
Best for Grills: Goo Gone Grill and Grate Cleaner Spray
Strong cleaner and degreaser
Instructions include common grills it has been tested on
Not safe for aluminum or faux stainless steel
Grills often require heavy-duty cleaning, but you still want them to remain safe for food prep areas. The Goo Gone Grill and Grate Cleaner does just that. This spray destroys cooked-on food on the interior grates and built-up dirt from the grill’s exterior. This choice also has a degreaser, which is perfect for cleaning up food spills. It can be used on most standard grills, which Goo Gone goes into detail about in its instruction manual.
This isn’t safe for faux stainless steel or aluminum. It’s important to know what type of surface you need to clean. If you are in doubt, try a small section with this cleaner before using it on your entire grill surface.
Best for Cookware: Bar Keeper's Friend Superior Cookware Cleanser & Polish
Cleaner and degreaser
Works on stainless steel and glass
Safe for sinks
Hard to apply to appliances
Bar Keeper’s Friend is a favorite among home chefs and professionals alike. This convenient powder cleaner can be applied directly to stainless steel cookware and scrubbed away to reveal a sparkling clean finish. It includes a cleaner and degreaser, making it our top choice for cookware. Even if your items have been cleaned with regular dishwashing detergent, try Bar Keeper’s Friend cookware polish and see what clean really looks like.
This cleaner can be used on a variety of cookware, not just stainless steel. It is safe for glass cookware, grills, and sinks. It also tackles rust stains, lime deposits, and baked-on grease. You will need a sink and sponge or cloth to use this cleaner. It is the best option for cookware but is hard to apply to appliances and larger items.
Best for Cooktops: CLR Spotless Stainless Steel Streak-Free Cleaner
Easy to apply
Leaves protective barrier
This CLR spray cleaner is easy to use on stovetops and grills; plus, it’s safe for so many stainless steel surfaces that it is a one-stop option for all of your cleaning needs. It takes care of cooked-on food, grease, and other grime. To use, spray on the CLR formula, let it sit for a minute, and wipe any extra away.
The capacity is on the smaller side, especially considering the price. It does leave a protective barrier, which can be helpful in preventing future issues.
Our top pick is the Weiman Stainless Steel Cleaner & Polish. In addition to cleaning, this easy-to-use spray cleaner also polishes your items and creates a protective barrier on your appliances. Our budget choice, Pledge Stainless Steel Cleaner Spray, is a spray that provides a great clean at an affordable price. However, it does use chemical ingredients and fragrances that can be overpowering for some.
What to Look for in a Stainless Steel Cleaner
Stainless steel cleaners come in spray, wipe, and liquid forms. Your preferred application method will influence which type of stainless steel cleaner you choose. Sprays are the easiest to use, although you do need to purchase an extra cloth in order to use them. Wipes come with everything that you need, but they are the most expensive and often sold in the smallest quantities. Liquid is the hardest to apply but can be purchased in bulk. No matter which type you choose, many stainless steel cleaners can be used on other surfaces.
Consider how you plan to use a stainless steel cleaner and what types of items you want to clean. Are you mainly looking to wipe fingerprints off of your refrigerator, or is shiny cookware your top priority? Some stainless steel cleaners are specifically made for cookware. Others are more of an all-purpose cleaner and can be used on everything from appliances to grills to cookware.
Most cleaners use chemical ingredients in their cleaning formula, especially if they’re scented. While all products on our list are approved and monitored for ingredient safety by regulatory authorities, opting for an all-natural plant-based cleaner may be a better option for those with skin or scent sensitivities.
How do you clean stainless steel?
You can clean stainless steel using any all-purpose cleaning method and cleaner. The best options focus on keeping the finish streak-free and repelling dust. A lint-free cloth is best to pair with spray cleaners. Maryland-based cleaning expert Arryn Wilmington recommends using clean microfiber cloths for all of your cleaning needs. “You can use the same cloths for everything from cleaning glass to wiping down surfaces,” she said. “Just make sure to keep track of which cleaners you’ve used with them and wash them in hot water between uses.” For more tips, check out our guide on how to clean stainless steel.
Can you use stainless steel cleaner on black stainless steel?
Most stainless steel cleaners should not be used on stainless steel with a finish, including black stainless steel. If a cleaner states that it can be used on black stainless steel, test it in an inconspicuous place before applying to your entire appliance. The best method to clean black stainless steel is to use warm water and a microfiber cloth.
How do you remove stainless steel cleaner buildup?
Some stainless steel cleaners and polish can leave a residue behind. This is especially true of those products that provide a protective barrier to prevent future smudges and fingerprints. If this residue starts to build up, wipe down your stainless steel surface with diluted white vinegar. This cuts through the finish to remove any residue. Like with any cleaning process, test this in an inconspicuous area first.
Why Trust The Spruce?
This article was researched and written by Katie Begley, a freelance writer specializing in home and family products. Katie has been writing for The Spruce since 2019. A mother of three young children, Katie spends too much of her time cleaning spaces in her home. When compiling this list, she looked for products that were effective and easy to use, even for busy parents. She also interviewed Maryland-based cleaning expert Arryn Wilmington for tips and tricks on how to optimize your cleaning routine.