What is the best way to clean my new stainless appliances?

hungryheartFebruary 27, 2011

I realize that I am about to join the world of fingerprints - Yikes!

In Bed Bath today - the manager wanted me to buy some super duper cleaner and microfiber cloths but I didn't purchase anything (well, not cleaning related, anyway) yet. Is it microfiber or chamois that I am supposed to use? And the cleaner?

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Alcohol-water mixture in a spray bottle w/ a few drops of lavender (or other) essential oil, and a microfiber. If you've used an oil-based product prior, scrub it off well first. I am so thrilled to have tried it out on my SS (and my granite)--I am liberated from the inability to spot-clean my SS. Yay!

    Bookmark   February 27, 2011 at 10:28PM
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I've used a sponge with dishwasher soapy water (dawn), then wipe with a microfiber cloth. I even just use some water and a microfiber for spot cleaning. Works great. In the This Old House magazine I saw the suggestion to use WD-40, then wipe off. They even showed a picture spraying it in the sink. Protects against fingerprints and water spots.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2011 at 12:33AM
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hi hungry..

I get microfiber cloths at the 99 cent store...Wipe with soapy water on a rag then dry with the micro cloth... I have never used any oils or WD 40...only Weimans SS cleaner on occassion.. which I get at the supermarket..


    Bookmark   February 28, 2011 at 1:44AM
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I tried the alcohol water mixture and it didn't work for me. Maybe the mixture was wrong? Did you use rubbing alcohol or denatured alcohol? Also... I didn't add the lavender oil. Maybe that was it. I was so disappointed cause I thought I had the perfect cleaning solution. I have been wiping with water and micorfiber and then a quick spray with glass plus. BUt... I'm searching for that perfect solution too!

Haven't tried the WD40 or I heard about pledge too. I'm kinda nervous to do that.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2011 at 7:44AM
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A few folks on here suggest mineral oil. After some failures with stainless cleaners I got my Mom to try it and it works. I think the big key to the mixture above is probably the lavender oil.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2011 at 8:12AM
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I buy microfiber cloths in the automotive aisle at the grocery. We use Method SS wipes currently or 3M spray.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2011 at 8:36AM
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Hungry and Remodel-- I use Pledge!! I had tried a hundred different things on my SS fridge and had started telling people that I was going to "trade it in for a black one" when I did my kitchen remodel since I was SO sick of it looking terrible. I cleaned it with pledge a couple of months ago for the first time and even with two kids, (and two nosey dogs) it looked great for a really long time.
I think the answer depends on the brand of the fridge and what material and finish the "stainless" actually is. They are actually really different, and thats why you'll find you get about 100 different suggestions here.

It may be trial and error until you find something that works, but for me, I'll stick w/pledge :) I was really amazed at how well it worked, and my fridge looked brand new!! (its about 6 years old.)
If you do try pledge, I've been told the brown can is the best choice, and be careful if you spray onto the fridge, as any of the overspray (and there will be some no matter how careful you are) will make your floor ridiculously slippery. Try spraying the cloth over the sink instead.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2011 at 8:53AM
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rococo... where do you find Method SS wipes or 3M spray. Is it a grocery store thing or HD/Lowes thing?

    Bookmark   February 28, 2011 at 8:53AM
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Weiman's SS cleaner polish and a microfiber towel works the best. Wipe in the grain direction of the SS.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2011 at 9:20AM
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I don't like any of that oily stuff because the minute the kids touch it, you can see the prints. And the overspray gets on the floor.

I use hot soapy water and a rag and then dry with a towel. Then I use white vinegar and a DRY towel (or microfiber cloth). I use vinegar for everything else, but I actually saw the idea for appliances on HGTV

    Bookmark   February 28, 2011 at 9:21AM
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Same spray formula as cat-mom, only I prefer cloth diapers for the wiping part of the process. I use it for the granite too.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2011 at 10:04AM
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I too use Weiman's SS cleaner polish and a microfiber.
The 2 parts water and 1 part alcohol with drops of lavender
oil work for my granite but I never tried it on my SS.
I think it would create issues for me.
Now Pledge is a possibility. I will have to try that.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2011 at 11:31AM
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Microfiber works so well. If you want to spend more $$, Norwex microfiber is even better, with its anti-bacterial silver in it.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2011 at 11:40AM
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I tried Pledge and it left streaks on the refrigerator. Once I got that cleaned off, I just use plain water on a paper towel or microfiber cloth. For the stovetop, I also found that cleaners were leaving it streaky, so I just clean it with liquid dish soap on a sponge, then a final rinse with vinegar.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2011 at 12:56PM
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Simple Green and microfiber cloths. Simple Green is economical (1 gallon bottle to refill spray bottle lasts about 6 months and costs $10) and its eco-friendly. When my daughter had bad asthma, this was the only cleaner I could use. Years later, it's still the only cleaner I use. Gentle and effective - okay I sound like a commerical, but this product will clean your stainless (and everything else)without a problem.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2011 at 1:19PM
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My sister and I were having this discussion the other day. She uses pledge, yellow can. Her ss appliances are about 7 yrs. old and look brand new. Mine were just installed 2 weeks ago. They look a mess. My KD said it would take several cleanings with the weimans ss cleaner before I could wipe them down easily. I have no clue if this is true or not. I wipe them down going with the grain every time I use them. Can't do the vinegar, I'm a nurse and homecare ruined vinegar for me forever. I'm going to switch to the Pledge. My DF has all black appliances. She has had them about a month and curses the smudges and fingerprints everyday. Remember how easy the white, or better yet, the almond appliances were to keep clean?

    Bookmark   February 28, 2011 at 1:40PM
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I don't have stainless steel - have black textured frige. I clean the frige with soap and water, sometimes 409, then polish with pledge. It seems to actually add a protectant to it, making it easier to wipe down. Use Windex on the smooth surafaced of range and DW.

Can you not use Windex on stanless appliances??? Just curious because I use Windex on my glass shower doors with stainless trim - the trim really shines from the Windex.


    Bookmark   February 28, 2011 at 1:51PM
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I have been using Zep window cleaner (Lowe's). I told a salesman at an appliance center this and he cautioned me. He had a client who used windex - which has water in it - and after 5 years, her stainless refrigerator had small rusted spots. He said anything with water could cause that.

Zep works better than the stainless cleaner I bought which leaves streaks no matter how much I polish.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2011 at 2:10PM
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I didn't think quality stainless would rust. I'm not about to spend the extra time or money buying special cleaners or mixing my own for the stainless. If I can't get it clean with water and/or soap then it stays the way it is. So far, the combo has worked against anything. And almost any micro will work although some are a little more aggressive than others. No need to spend huge amounts.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2011 at 2:28PM
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I had to scrub off all residue from my previous, oil-based cleaner (3M) with BKF and a blue scrub sponge before using the alcohol-water-lavender oil spray. I am having great success with that mixture on my SS.

I could never clean the fridge with the 3M (or other SS-specific cleaners) without ending up with streaks. Leaning or brushing against the surface left smudge marks. Water drips left lines running down the door below the dispenser, and were impossible to blot without leaving smears/smudges. Forget about spot cleaning.

Once I got the SS back to its original state, I could clean it with my spray mixture and a microfiber quite easily.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2011 at 9:40PM
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I've never had SS, but I'm going there. So is this the magical recipe? Please fill in the blanks.

_X__ drops of lavendar oil (how many?)
2 cups water
1 cup alcohol (rubbing or denatured?)

If this doesn't work, I'm drinking 3 cups of wine and I think it will look great.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2011 at 9:58PM
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Another fan of water, alcohol lavendar oil here. Works perfectly AFTER you get the oily 3M or other SS cleaner removed. No streaks

    Bookmark   February 28, 2011 at 10:03PM
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I used a realtor to sell the place with the stainless steel appliances in it.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2011 at 11:26PM
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Marcolo - you have the right idea to be sure! SS is not my favorite, and if I can find an uber energy efficient french door double freezer refrigerator in white, no more stainless for me.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2011 at 1:27AM
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marcolo--you gave me my first grin of the day! :-)

dretutz--I use anywhere from 30%-50% alcohol to water ratio, and between 12-20 drops of lavender oil. I really go by sense of smell (I like some alcohol smell, but too strong can be harsh, same with the lavender oil, enough to have scent, but not enough to knock ya out!). I also go by evaporation when sprayed/wiped (quickly enough to avoid streaking, but not instantaneous if that makes sense).

It's not an exact thing, and I'm always topping off the bottle, so just go by eye ("yeah, that looks like 1/3 or 1/2") and smell when refilling, and then tweak as needed 'til it "works" for me.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2011 at 8:07AM
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collins design

LOL @ missmuffet's alternate strategy!!!

OK, so cat_mom, how hard was it to remove the residue? I have some BKF, I think I will try that. The water streaks are really bumming me out. My stupid Bosch dishwasher is the WORST.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2011 at 8:10AM
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I ditto the PP who mentioned Norwex microfiber - they are the BEST. I HATED my SS appliances, absolutely hated them and all of those nasty fingerprints until Norwex came along. (And I'm not a salesperson or anything - I have nothing to gain from promoting them). What I love most is that you can clean it up with just water - no chemicals, no cleaners. Thanks to Norwex, I have made peace with the SS.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2011 at 9:09AM
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How did I miss missmuffet's alternate strategy??? Now I can have a midday grin and LOL!

stacyneil, it did take some time and elbow grease (+ the BKF, a blue scrub sponge, and bunch of wet and dry paper towels) but it was so worth it. It might have taken a few cleanings to get back to the bare metal in spots (had to go over a few missed smudgy areas that I noticed the next time I cleaned). Now I can literally just clean with a quick spritz (all over, or just an offending smudge or splatter) and a wipe with my microfiber cloth (he ones I'm using now cost $1 each at Christmas Tree Shop, and came in nice colors).

I even cleaned my friend's smudged and fingerprinted fridge after an evening out (luckily not too dressed up) using one of those tiny green and yellow scrub sponges and BKF, and then finished up with some quickly thrown together alcohol-water in a spray bottle, and a microfiber. My friend had tried a bunch of products on the fridge and thought the finish had been ruined, so she was thrilled.

I know YOU can do it--I've seen your DIY bathroom!!!

PS I often spray and wipe down my SS kitchen sink (either after or instead of a cleaning with BKF), and it helps that look nice, too.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2011 at 1:52PM
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Rachiele, LLC

A company called Bayes makes an EPA approved Stainless cleaner that is amazing. Use a micro fiber cloth and a few squirts. No fingerprinting and makes even old stainless look great.

Here is a link that might be useful: Bayes stainless cleaner

    Bookmark   March 3, 2011 at 2:56PM
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Well... I tried a bunch of strategies mentioned and so far the Weimans works best on my frig... hands down. I have not yet tried the one drachiele recommends; but I will.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2011 at 5:04PM
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I also have a Bosch dishwasher and oven - and it's the worse to clean -if anyone has had success keeping a Bosch clean please let me know how!!!! I have tried everything - once a drop of anything goes on it - that's it - it doesn't go away no matter how many things I spray on it. HELP!!

    Bookmark   March 3, 2011 at 5:47PM
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yvette123--I too have a Bosch range and DW and I love them. I find them incredibly easy to keep clean. I use a mail-order product made a company called Shaklee. The produce is Basic H2. You buy a concentrated bottle of it and then mix a few drops with water in a spray bottle and wipe with a paper towel. The bottle of concentrate has lasted me for years. It's eco-friendly and I use it all over the house. You can even put straight Basic H2 on your skin to help repel mosquitoes in the summertime! It costs a bit to join up with Shaklee, but I think it's worth it since I hardly have to buy cleaning products anymore since I made the initial investment. The other thing to keep in mind is that as SOON as water drips onto the dishwasher or stove, I wipe it up immediately. Don't let it sit there or it will stay around for a long time!

    Bookmark   April 21, 2011 at 5:31PM
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Those who use the alcohol/water mixture... is that rubbing alcohol?

    Bookmark   April 21, 2011 at 5:54PM
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I bought a Steam Cleaner awhile back, and it is fabulous at cleaning my stainless steel Subzero refer drawers, my cooktop and all my other appliances as well as counter tops and pretty much everything with no residue or chemicals....OH and it's great at cleaning windows. It was under $100.

Mine is like this at link..

Here is a link that might be useful: Wagner Steam Cleaner

    Bookmark   April 21, 2011 at 6:05PM
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And still you are all sold on ss appliances? Remember it is a kitchen, a work area and form follows function.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2011 at 8:44PM
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I used Windex on mine. I didn't read the manual to see if it recommended anything. The Windex worked fine - is there any reason NOT to use it?

    Bookmark   April 21, 2011 at 9:44PM
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I definitely have to try the water/alcohol/lavender ("greener"). But I absolutely swear by Lysol wipes and microfiber cloths. I discovered them during the winter cold and flu season last year and have used them ever since. The Lysol wipes cut through any grease (I use them on the cooktop, too). You don't have to go with the grain. Totally amazing.

I got a pack of 24 microfiber cloths at Home Depot a year and a half ago and I still have some I haven't used yet. And they were cheap...can't remember exactly, maybe $12?

BTW, the microfiber cloths work GREAT on iPhones and iPads.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2011 at 1:50AM
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New stainless steel is protected for a number of years by a chromium film that protects the metal from rusting, staining, and even tarnishing. But if you don�t keep up with the stains as you go along, the film can be compromised and actual repair after that is difficult.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2011 at 10:20PM
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Ok I just tried the water + alcohol + lavender oil combo today. It wasn't cheap. Bought a nice big empty spray bottle at Bed, Bath, and Beyond: $5. Bought the essential lav. oil at a natural market: $11.50 for 0.5 oz. Pack of 5 microfiber cloths: $4 at Home Goods. Had the alcohol already and obviously had the water. So all in all over $20 to make the spray. The oil was pricey, but will last a LONG time--15 drops barely made a dent in the level of the oil in the jar.

I used 2 cups water, 1 cup rubbing alcohol (70% isopropyl), and about 15 drops of lavender oil. It smells GREAT! :)

As for how well it works, well, it's definitely better than anything else I've tried, but I haven't tried much. It does leave a nice sheen. I used it on my granite counters as well and it really cleaned them up nicely. I have never used any oil based products on my appliances, so I didn't have any residue to get rid of. It's pretty good and I'll keep using it, as long as it keeps fingerprints at bay. Maybe it will work better over time as well. My mother is going to try Simple Green on her appliances and report back to me.

I will try vinegar next if I get tired of smelling lavender oil! ;-)

    Bookmark   April 29, 2011 at 10:35PM
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3 months ago, I bought a brand new SS french door fridge and it became stained with a handprint on day one. Just the natural body oils from a hand -- nothing actually on the hand like food or chemicals. It will not come off and I've tried everything. I see new stains adding on every few weeks. The methods listed in this thread help to clean regular dirt and grime but do absolutely nothing for the stains which have been acquired from regular use. I completely regret my choice to go SS.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2011 at 12:50AM
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I also like a product called "WOW". I mail ordered mine from Sam's I think. When I ran out of WOW, I used Weiman's and it works great on the refridge but not well on the DW....different SS obviously. I use Windex on the stove because it's shiny and I want there to be no streaks.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2011 at 1:18AM
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I used an empty spray bottle (Mrs. Meyer's Shower Cleaner--lavender scent of course!) to mix up mine. I try to get the alcohol on sale, but always try get the value size bottles on sale or not. Microfiber cloths were $.99 ea at HomeGoods (I always keep those around for cleaning since completing our kitchen).

The lavender oil is pricey, but I did find it at Fairway for $8 and change. I always keep that in my house (mix with water in another spray bottle to mist on my pillows at night before bed--supposed to help one relax/sleep). You can use other essential oils if you don't like the scent of lavender, BTW.

regina_phalange--try removing the stains first with some BKF on a blue/gentle scrub sponge. Rinse/wipe well with a wet sponge or paper towel, and then follow-up with the alcohol/spray. I did this on my friend's really smudged/handprinted fridge and it worked very well. Once you remove that layer of patina/body oils, regular use of the spray should keep future stains at bay. What's nice is the ability to spot clean, so see a smudge, spritz, wipe, and done without build-up/stains

Good luck!.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2011 at 10:55AM
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Cat_mom--good advice. I'm glad to know you can use other essential oils--in case you want to switch scents! :) I've been using the mixture a few days now and it is VERY nice to be able to spot clean. I notice that sometimes it leaves dark streaks though, even though they aren't very noticeable. Any way to prevent these? Should I add more of a particular ingredient?

Also, is it safe to use the mixture on granite and satin nickel hardware/faucets? I noticed above that someone uses it on their granite and I love using it on mine--really shines it up. Just hope it's safe. I've been using the same microfiber cloth to wipe the faucet and hardware after cleaning the appliances with the same cloth. Is that ok?

    Bookmark   May 1, 2011 at 9:43PM
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Not sure what the dark streaks are--Maybe you just need to give an extra buff dry with the microfiber cloth? You can try adding a little more or less of any of the ingredients and see if that helps. I don't use any exact measurements (esp since I top off the bottle at varying points/degrees of "emptiness"), so it's not like you would ruin your mixture.

Many people on GW had recommended using the alcohol-water spray specifically for granite, I just tried it out on my SS on a whim (I had a b**ch of a time cleaning it without streaks when using my previous SS cleaner).

I use the same cloth on my satin nickel handles, SS faucet, even on our cabs/wood furniture. Sometimes I'll do this when the cloth is dry, sometimes damp (from wiping down my counters or SS after spraying them). I haven't seen any issues from that, but it's always best to proceed with caution.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2011 at 11:10PM
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What is BKF?

    Bookmark   May 1, 2011 at 11:31PM
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Barkeepers Friend--a powdered cleanser that works well on SS.

FYI: it can etch granite/natural stone, so wipe up sloshes and drips when they occur, and try not to set anything with BKF "slurry" on it directly on your stone counters.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2011 at 11:37PM
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I finally tried the lavender oil/water/alcohol mixture and it worked like a charm - even on my Bosch appliances!

    Bookmark   May 21, 2011 at 10:00PM
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Just tried the water/alcohol/lavendar mixture on my new SS fridge -- worked beautifully! Thanks for the recipe!

    Bookmark   June 18, 2011 at 6:21PM
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I use stainless steel spray from Bed bath and Beyond. When I get a water mark that doesn't come off easily I use a bit of bar keepers friend and wipe with the grain. I love that stuff.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2011 at 7:04PM
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I use Turtle Wax on all my SS and brushed nickel faucets - wipe on, let dry, buff off. Fingerprints wipe off MUCH more easily with a damp rag. Read it somewhere, can't recall where, and it works!

    Bookmark   June 18, 2011 at 8:11PM
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Any chance Lavender Reed diffuser oil will work?? Saw this at Marshalls for $6. But wasn't sure if I should try it for the water/alcohol /lavender mix.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2011 at 7:40AM
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I have a new stainless steel cooktop with black writing on it. What's the best way to keep it clean without rubbing off the black markings/writing?

    Bookmark   June 20, 2011 at 11:47AM
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After reading the posts, I had already tried Sprayway, Stainless Steel Magic, Mr Clean Erasers(once), vinegar and water. But never Pledge. As I only had the orange Pledge I thought what the ****, I'll try it. I used the Micro Fiber towel ( Yes the ones from Costco for cars). It was wonderful and quick. My French Door frig, my dishwasher and range look great and all in five minutes.

I call my husband Shrek as he never thinks about using the handles, but now I have a quick fix. Thanks to those that suggested it.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2011 at 9:43PM
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My cleaning lady recommended I buy 3M Stainless Steel Cleaner & Polish (and she cleans a lot of houses where her clients supply their own cleaners... so she's used quite a range of products). It is pricey, but it works! I've only been able to find it at Smart & Final of all places. The close runner-up is Easy Off Professional SS Cleaner, also hard to find in stores, but Smart & Final carries it also.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2011 at 3:30AM
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I live in a condo building, and our elevator doors are stainless, its always spotless and shiny. So I asked the building superintendent on what product they used to keep the stainless clean. And he recommended me this product. It really does a great job it made our appliances look new again and it prevents fingerprints.

Here is a link that might be useful: Claire wipes.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2011 at 10:45PM
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I have been using Sheila Shine, another oil based product. I think I got it at a Home Depot. But you do have to be careful not to spray it around - you'll slip on the floor.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2011 at 1:52PM
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I wash them down w/soap and water and then I spray Old English furniture polish on and wipe off. My SS is about 6 years old and the Old English keeps them shining like new!

    Bookmark   July 30, 2011 at 2:27PM
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