How to Clean Stainless Steel Countertops

Two bakers cleaning a stainless steel countertop
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Stainless steel is a common countertop to see especially in a commercial kitchen. Because they are great with heat and super tough, stainless steel countertops are becoming popular even in residential kitchens. These metal countertops have a polished modern appearance, but they can be damaged and begin to look worn without proper consideration and care.

Stainless Steel Countertop Pros

Stainless steel countertops are usually easy to maintain. They can stand up to hot pans. Acidic and oil spills aren't a problem for stainless steel and will wipe away completely. Because stainless steel countertops are usually one piece, there are no seams to harbor food pieces or germs. As long as they are properly cleaned, there won't be any rust, corrosion, or other stains to deal with. If, however you leave spills and debris on countertops, you may end up with big problems that can be unsightly and difficult to remove.

Stainless Steel Countertop Cons

These countertops can be dented and scratched, although light scratches tend to become less noticeable over time, and seem just to be part of the surface of the stainless steel. Larger dents and scratches may be impossible to remove without professional help and cost.

Stainless steel smudges and shows fingerprints. If you have stainless steel countertops or stainless steel appliances, you may feel that you are always wiping away fingerprint marks. Water left to dry on the surface will cause temporary spotting. This can be wiped away with a little glass cleaner. To prevent water spots, just dry the stainless steel surface with a dry microfiber cloth or hand towel. 

Stainless Steel Countertop Cleaning

To clean stainless steel, just wash using water and a microfiber cleaning cloth. For tougher messes, add a few drops of dish soap. To clean and shine, you can use glass cleaner on stainless steel surfaces. Manufacturers also make dedicated stainless steel cleaners that you might be interested in. Be sure to rinse any cleaners completely from the surface. You should also buff dry to prevent any water spots from forming on the surface. While water spots are dangerous for stainless steel, they can also make the surface look less beautiful.

Stainless Steel Countertop Maintenance

For minor scratching, a nylon scouring pad can be used with the grain. Go slowly so that you don't alter the surface more than the surrounding area. Deep scratches will need the help of a professional. There isn't a need to seal your stainless steel countertops, so other than scratches you won't need to do much seasonal maintenance. If rust makes it way onto your stainless steel, that is another story. Follow your manufacturer's instructions, but a baking soda paste or a nonabrasive cleaner like Bar Keeper's Friend can remove the rust and restore your stainless steel. Be sure to keep up with regular cleaning to keep rust from coming back.