How to Clean Stainless Steel Countertops

Stainless steel counter


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Stainless steel is a common countertop that you see especially in a commercial kitchen. They also hold up well to heat and are super tough. These countertops are popular in residential kitchens, too. These metal countertops have a polished modern appearance, but even they can get damaged and will start to look worn if not cared for properly. Take a look at some of the pros and cons of owning stainless steel countertops and how to clean and maintain those metallic surfaces.

Cleaning Stainless Steel Countertops

To clean stainless steel, 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 a glass cleaner on stainless steel surfaces. Manufacturers also make dedicated stainless steel cleaners. Be sure to rinse any cleaners completely from the surface and buff dry to prevent any water spots from forming on the surface.


Stainless steel countertops are usually easy to maintain. They can stand up to hot pans. Acid and oil spills are not 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 will not be any rust, corrosion, or other stains to deal with.


Water left to dry on the surface will cause water spots. Water spots can permanently mar stainless steel if not removed, and they also dull the shine, making the surface look less beautiful. To prevent water spots, dry the stainless steel surface with a dry microfiber cloth or hand towel. More problematic than water spots is pooling water, which can create rust if it is left to stand over time. 

Stainless steel surfaces are prone to scratches. Light scratches tend to become less noticeable over time, blending in with the surface of the stainless steel. But, abrasive debris left on countertops, like coarse salt, oysters, or sand from shellfish, can scratch surfaces when you try to wipe the residue away. Larger dents and scratches may be impossible to remove without professional help and extra expense.

Stainless steel smudges and shows fingerprints easily. A little glass cleaner should easily remove the fingerprints.

Maintaining Stainless Steel Countertops

For minor scratches, a nylon scouring pad can be used with the grain. Go slowly so that you do not alter the surface more than the surrounding area. Deep scratches will need the help of a professional. There is no need to seal your stainless steel countertops, so other than dealing with scratches, you will not need to do much seasonal maintenance.

If rust makes it way onto your stainless steel, then that will need special care. Follow the manufacturer's instructions, but in most cases, 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 at bay.