7 tips for cleaning stainless steel

7 Tips for Cleaning Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is notoriously stainable, despite it’s name that claims otherwise. If you’re cleaning a stainless steel surface for a client, the last thing you want to do is tarnish the beautiful finish with improper treatment.


One important thing to consider: you have to try to AVOID using stainless steel cleaners. Sounds strange, right? The reason is many stainless steel cleaners also contain oils, silicones or other ingredients which can leave a dirt and microbe attracting film. While it may look great at first, within a few days your result can be tainted. This can be a problem in areas like kitchens or clinical areas with requirements for keeping areas microbe-free.

It’s pretty easy to clean stainless steel surfaces for the most part, so with a little bit of consideration, you can provide a quality result with minimal time and cleaner invested. Try these ideas first:

1) Fingerprints or light cleaning?

Use glass cleaner like C-GREEN. Many stainless steel surfaces only need a light duty cleaning due to hands touching them, not actual contaminants.

2) General cleaning?

Use wet cloth with an All Purpose Cleaner, like EZ-GREEN. Always start off on the safe side to avoid any possible damage by using a harsher cleaner. Stainless steel does resist many different types of contaminants, requiring only a gentle touch to lift junk off.

3) Greasy and baked on stuff?

Try baking soda mixed with a multipurpose cleaner like Oxy-Green to create a powerful cleaning paste. This provides a very fine abrasive that will not damage the finish, but will help scrub off the tough stuff.

4) After cleaning care

Rinse and Dry the stainless steel to remove any extra residues, and prevent oxidation or rusting at spots that may have been damaged prior to your cleaning.

5)Do NOT use bleach

If you need to disinfect the surfaces, use a non-chlorinated disinfectant such as a quat-based cleaner. Chlorinated cleaners and bleach will attack the protective chromium layer of the stainless steel finish, leaving it open to oxidation and rusting.

6) Never use abrasives or steel wool

Either of these harsh materials will degrade the protective finish, as well as scratch the polished finish leaving a rough and ugly finish. Refer to tip #3 for the better alternative.

7) Only use a stainless steel cleaner as a last resort

If you have to, you can try that can of stainless steel cleaner. Remember, if your stainless steel cleaner leaves a residue, it will be very apparent on areas like ovens where it will emit gases upon decomposition of the residue after it heats up.

Following these 7 tips will help ensure that your job comes out clean in a timely manner.

Need more janitorial tips and ideas? Check out our cleaning guides for more helpful information and techniques for professionals.