Quick Tip Tuesday: Cleaning Stainless Steel Appliances

Did you know there are multiple ways to clean stainless steel, and some work much better than others?  I actually was a bit surprised at how certain cleaning techniques can impact the final shine and finish of stainless appliances.  A few years ago we purchased a stainless steel fridge that sported “smudge proof technology”, and although it would still smudge and get dirty, just about any type of cleaning method brought it right back to new with very little effort.  Initially, I didn’t appreciate what a blessing that was or know any different because it was our very first stainless appliance.  Last year we moved that fridge to the garage and replaced it with a counter depth model in our updated kitchen.  The new model doesn’t have that same technology, and is a bear to keep clean, and also to clean without creating new smudges and streaks.  Since purchasing the new fridge, I have tested out five different methods.  That’s right, FIVE!  And not all were that great, while one worked beautifully after I had almost given up. Today I thought I would review each one here, so that you don’t have to spend the time or money figuring out the best method.

First, I hired help to really be sure I was giving each product a true testing playground.  My youngest was given permission to dip his hands in juice and rub them all over the fridge between each product test.  How much fun do you think this was for a 9 year old? Permission to finger paint on the fridge with juice?  Heck yes!
He took his job very seriously!
After that, I pulled together my five different stainless steel cleaning products that I have been attempting to use over the past few months:
1 – Stainless Steel Spray Polish | 2 – Pledge Multi Surface Cleaner | 3 – Stainless Steel Cleaning Mitt | 4 – Glass Cleaning Rags | 5 – Weiman Stainless Steel Wipes
Let’s dive right in…. 
STAINLESS STEEL SPRAY POLISH
This stainless steel spray couldn’t be easier to use; lightly spray the surface of the fridge, let it sit for a minute or two, wipe down with a clean microfiber rag.
Cleanliness: Majority of the finger prints and juice streaks were removed, but not all came off easily and required a little elbow grease.
Streaks: Minimal streaking, this product offered the shiniest finish.  The final result was almost mirror-like.
Other Notes: I tend to avoid utilizing aerosol sprays whenever possible, so this instantly lost points there.  Also, the over-spray is ridiculous, the floor below always becomes so slippery that it is a hazard.  Not to mention, I am not sure what repeated spray would eventually do to the floor’s finish.  I have tried to spray directly on the rag, but the results definitely do not compare with that application method.  Finally, the oily finish builds over time, making it harder to switch to other cleaning methods without scrubbing and removing layers of this spray first.
My Personal Rating: 3 out of 5
PLEDGE MULTI SURFACE SPRAY
This Pledge cleaner is also a spray the surface and wipe away with a soft microfiber rag application.  
Cleanliness: Majority of the finger prints were removed, surface was also cleaned with anti-bacterial properties (which is important during cold and flu season in such a high traffic area).
Streaks: The worst streaking of all of the methods I tried, even after a second try.
Other Notes: Again, loses points for being an aerosol product and for chemicals.  Over-spray didn’t seem as dramatic as the previous stainless steel specific spray.
My Personal Rating: 2.5 out of 5
STAINLESS STEEL CLEANING MITT
This stainless specific cleaning mitt is intended to be paired with water.  Simply dampen one side of the mitt (by spraying the mitt or the fridge), wipe down the fridge then flip it over to polish and dry.
Cleanliness: Majority of the finger prints were removed.
Streaks: Streaking is inconsistent.  It really is finicky depending on the amount of water and how quickly you can buff it dry.  Some spots I had to go over a few times, and wasn’t ever able to achieve a completely streak free fridge.
Other Notes:  I appreciate the fact that the mitt is inexpensive, reusable and doesn’t require any chemicals.  If I had more patience, I would use it all of the time as my number one pick.  I also think if this is the only method used, it may be easier to remove streaks within the first cleaning (my previous cleaning methods may have been impacting my final results).
My Personal Rating: 4 out of 5
UPDATE: Since testing these products and writing the post, I went back to only using the mitt and after using it 3-4 more times, the streaking was reduced with each cleaning.  I really, really want to love this product.
GLASS CLEANING RAGS:
A sweet reader told me she used my glass cleaning method, to clean her stainless appliances.  WHAT?!  Of course, sometimes the most obvious solutions are right under my nose.  My glass rags paired with water leave a streak-free stunning finish on our glass and windows, so my fingers were crossed I would achieve the same results with our fridge.  I sprayed the water on the fridge, cleaned with a microfiber rags and followed up with the polishing rag.
Cleanliness: Majority of the finger prints were removed.
Streaks: As with the mitt, the streaking was inconsistent.  I felt like I had to clean the fridge in patches to be able to buff with the polishing rag before it was already dry.  I was never able to fully achieve a streak free finish.  In the end, I found the mitt to be easier to work with.
Other Notes:  I appreciate the fact that I can use products I already have for glass cleaning and this method doesn’t require any chemicals.  
My Personal Rating: 3 out of 5
WEIMAN STAINLESS STEEL WIPES
These stainless steel wipes were about to be donated back to the store I purchased it from because I was instantly disappointed.  Why?  Because I didn’t read the directions. #facepalm  Once again, y’all taught me something and let me know my frustration with the wipes was that I wasn’t buffing the fridge after using them.  So, first, THANK YOU!  Second, to use simply wipe down the appliance with the wipe and follow up with a microfiber rag to buff dry.
Cleanliness: All of the finger prints were removed, the fridge was literally spotless.
Streaks: Absolutely NONE!  After wiping the fridge with the wipe, there were white streaks.  Don’t stop at that step like you generally would when cleaning something with a wipe.  Buff those white streaks out with a soft microfiber rag and you will be grinning cheek to cheek!
Other Notes:  This product cleaned my appliances far better and easier than any other method.  Even though a two step process, it was crazy easy and quick.  I have to dock half a point because this method is not reusable.  However, once used, it also repels dust and dirt to reduce number of cleanings per week.
My Personal Rating: 4.5 out of 5
To recap:
  • Always read product application directions thoroughly
  • Always clean your stainless in the same direction as the metal grain
  • I have also tried a few regular all purpose cleaners with the same results as the Pledge Multi Surface cleaner
  • Smudge free technology is actually really awesome
  • You have to weigh out what is important to you when selecting your favorite cleaning products and methods – everything from chemicals to cost to time and waste are all important items to consider 
So what did I ultimately select?  I am going with the mitt for daily cleanings paired with an occasional polishing with the stainless steel specific wipes.  
I hope you all found this to be helpful and saves you a bit of trial and error.  Next time your darling little bambino grabs the fridge handles with hands full of jelly, you will know just what to do.  Happy cleaning polishing everyone!
* All products shared in this post were purchased by me for review purposes.  All opinions and the cute helper are also mine. *

from IHeart Organizing http://www.iheartorganizing.com/2016/05/quick-tip-tuesday-cleaning-stainless.html

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