Stainless steel appliances look nice and modern, but they are a pain to keep clean. So far I've tried soap and water, diluted vinegar, and a damp cloth. None of these really seem to leave it spotless. What are some easy ways to remove fingerprints, water stains, and marks from stainless steel appliances?

  • 2
    They make a variety of cleaners specifically formulated for stainless steel. Please check your local home improvement or grocery store cleaning section for products. This is more of a conventional DIY/cleaning question and doesn't really need a solution thinking outside the box Commented Apr 20, 2015 at 14:08
  • There are commercial products for many, many things for which there are also Lifehacks. In this case, the commercial products don't cut it, and I don't want to pay for them; this is an intractable problem, which requires thinking outside the box. I would argue a good Lifehack could be the source of an invention (and eventual commercial product). I'll post on the meta, but if the scope of the site is too narrow, you can't hope to attract much traffic.
    – Minnow
    Commented Apr 20, 2015 at 16:15
  • 1
    Minnow, you can potentially create a lifehack about anything (e.g. "What is an interesting way to eat an apple?"), but we're not here to invent the most contrived way to do normal things, and there is nothing inherent in this question that would seem to need a "life hack." It's a simple DIY question. See DIY vs. Thinking Outside the Box. Commented Apr 20, 2015 at 16:21
  • 1
    I agree 'interesting ways to eat an apple' is not a Lifehack. Reading the most popular questions, many of the most popular questions don't really qualify for the scope of the manifesto. "Killing a fly without a flyswatter" and "Not hitting your fingers with a hammer" don't seem profound or fundamentally different than this question. I suppose the 4 other people who voted to close the question disagree. I think that there is more activity on this site in the "DIY" category than the way you've defined a 'Lifehack', such that you many consider another site; I find them interesting and useful.
    – Minnow
    Commented Apr 20, 2015 at 16:32
  • 'Best' way is objective.
    – kenorb
    Commented Mar 6, 2016 at 15:52

7 Answers 7


Oxalic acid, or cleaners with oxalic acid, such as Barkeepers Friend, are effective at removing stains from stainless steel. If the surface is lacquered brushed steel or brushed aluminum, though, they could damage the finish.

The cleaners themselves, though, may leave a bit of powdery abrasive residue that has to be removed.


Try using Coke. I stopped drinking it after I saw what it did when I left a coin and a bullet casing in it.



We find the white melamine sponges (sold as Magic Eraser, but there are generic types widely available) can work really well, but they warn against using it on the front of stainless-steel appliances without trying it in an inconspicuous area first.

Wipe in the direction of the brush finish, not in swirly motions.


Isopropyl alcohol AKA isopropanol is very good at removing greasy marks from surfaces. Last time I bought it, I got it from a large pharmacists. Clean with soap and water first and when dry put a dab of neat isopropanol on a paper towel and rub the areas you want to get clean. Methylated spirits would work similarly but probably not quite as well.


Since no one has brought it up, you can rub a paste of baking soda on stainless steel appliances/pots/utensils. It removes stains and revives the shine. Also rubbing banana peel helps the shine.


I've used WD-40 to buff up my SS appliances. not only does it clean things off well, but the appliance is resistant to fingerprints for a while, afterwards.


When I sold my previous apartment I was told to use cooking oils to clean stainless steel surfaces, i.e. canola oil, olive oil, or similar.

To my surprise this turned out really nice, and the oil is usually easily accessible. Have used this trick ever since. Just add a few drops to a cloth and wipe it clean.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.