How to Clean Stainless Steel

how to clean stainless steel

The Spruce / Nusha Ashjaee

Project Overview
  • Total Time: 10 mins

Stainless steel is known for its ability to resist corrosion and rust, which is why it's a popular choice for kitchens and bathrooms. However, dirt, dust, and grime, can put stainless steel at risk for corrosion and rust. Luckily, it responds well to cleaning, as long as you follow certain rules.

The key to keeping stainless steel stainless clean is proper care and maintenance. In general, it's best to start with basic cleaning and work your way up as needed. With just a little effort, your appliance or countertop will shine on!

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Microfiber cloth
  • Towel


  • Warm Water


materials for cleaning stainless steel
The Spruce / Ana Cadena

How to Clean Stainless Steel With Warm Water

  1. Wipe Surfaces With a Microfiber Cloth Moistened With Warm Water

    Warm water and a cloth will be sufficient for most routine cleaning. This is the least risky option for stainless steel, and plain water really is your best cleaning option in most situations.

    wiping down stainless steel with a microfiber cloth
    The Spruce / Ana Cadena 
  2. Dry the Surfaces With a Towel or Cloth to Prevent Water Spots

    This is very important since minerals in water can leave marks on stainless steel.

    using paper towels on stainless steel fixtures
    The Spruce / Ana Cadena 
  3. Wipe in the Direction of the Metal Grain When Cleaning or Drying

    This will help prevent scratches and create a polished finish on the metal.

    wiping in the direction of the metal grain
    The Spruce / Ana Cadena  

Cleaning With Dish Soap

For cleaning that needs a little more power, a drop of mild dish detergent and warm water can do a great job. This combination will not damage your stainless steel and it's generally all you need to get the tougher dirt off.

What You'll Need


  • Dish soap
  • Warm water


  • Microfiber cloth
  • Towel

How to Clean Stainless Steel With Dish Soap

  1. Add a Few Drops of Dish Soap to a Sink Full of Warm Water

    Another option is to put a small drop of dish soap on a microfiber cloth, then add warm water to the cloth.

    adding dish soap to a microfiber cloth
    The Spruce / Ana Cadena  
  2. Wipe Everything Down

    Wipe down the stainless steel with the cloth, rubbing in the same direction as the grain in the metal.

    wiping down fixtures with dish soap solution
    The Spruce / Ana Cadena 
  3. Rinse

    Rinse the surface thoroughly after washing away the dirt. Rinsing will help prevent staining and spotting due to soap residue.

    rinsing stainless fixtures with water
    The Spruce / Ana Cadena 
  4. Towel-Dry

    Towel-dry the metal to prevent water spots.

    wiping fixtures with a dry cloth
    The Spruce / Ana Cadena  

Cleaning With Glass Cleaner or Ammonia

Fingerprints are one of the biggest complaints about stainless steel. You can take care of them by using glass cleaner or household ammonia.

What You'll Need


  • Glass cleaner or household ammonia
  • Spray bottle, if cleaner doesn't already come in one


  • Microfiber cloth

How to Clean Stainless Steel With Glass Cleaner or Ammonia

  1. Spray the Cleaner Onto a Microfiber Cloth

    You can spray directly on the stainless steel, but this can cause drips and may waste the cleaner.

    spraying glass cleaner onto a microfiber cloth
    The Spruce / Ana Cadena  
  2. Wipe the Area in a Circular Motion

    Wipe the area to remove fingerprints and stains. Repeat as needed.

    wiping fixtures with a cloth
    The Spruce / Ana Cadena  
  3. Rinse and Towel-Dry

    Rinse Thoroughly, Then Towel-Dry the Metal Finish

    towel drying fixtures
    The Spruce / Ana Cadena 

Using Stainless Steel Cleaner

If you have stains that are difficult to remove or scratches on the surface, a stainless steel cleaner may be a good option. Some of these cleaners remove stains and protect against scratches They can also be used to polish surfaces.

Read and follow the directions carefully, and be sure to test the cleaner in an inconspicuous spot first. When you're done, rinse the area thoroughly and towel dry.