Stainless steel is a sleek and durable option for kitchen appliances and fixtures, but it’s also prone to fingerprints, smudges, and water spots. Fortunately, it’s easy to keep these items shiny and spotless with the best stainless steel cleaners. They’re available in a range of applications and formulas — like wipes, sprays, and creams — all of which work a little differently to tackle specific jobs. Here are some things to consider as you decide which cleaner is best for you.
When it comes to the best cleaners for stainless steel, keep away from harsh formulations that may include ingredients like ammonia and bleach, and avoid using rough scrubbers like steel wool. Instead, it’s best to stick to products specifically designed for the job. To clean items that get a lot of wear and tear, like sink basins, stovetops, and everyday cookware, mildly abrasive cream formulas are a good choice, as they can help loosen and lift residue, soap scum, and mineral deposits. On the other hand, aerosol and spray cleaners will be your best bet if your goal is to remove smudges and add a mirror finish to surfaces like refrigerators, dishwashers, and trash cans. They are a bit gentler on these showpiece surfaces, easy to apply, and contain polishing agents that leave stainless steel shiny. Last, pre-wetted wipes are a convenient option for quick cleaning and touch-ups of any appliance or fixture.
When cleaning or polishing, a microfiber cloth will help you get a streak-free, lint-free finish, and you won’t risk damage while you scrub. If you’ve never cleaned your stainless steel before, a kit that includes a cleaner and a cloth is a great place to start. The six cleaners below will give your stainless steel a bit of sparkle, so it’ll be looking like new.
1. The Overall Best
Magic’s stainless steel cleaner and polish is a two-in-one formula that removes fingerprints, smudges, watermarks, and grease, leaving surfaces with a brilliant shine. Besides that, the formula uses “Stay Clean” technology — a transparent, protective coating that repels dirt, dust, and watermarks, so you’ll be able to go longer between cleanings. The aerosol spray makes application easy, and it gives appliances and fixtures a streak-free finish when used with a dry cloth. Reviewers have reported that this versatile pick works well on everything from refrigerators to grills to sinks, and the formula is also safe for use on aluminum and chrome.
Helpful review: “Best stainless steel cleaner I’ve ever used!!! I sprayed it and then used a microfiber cloth to wipe. Almost 9 days later and my appliances are still so shiny!!!”
2. The Best Cleaner For Stainless Steel Sinks
This sink cleaner and polish is designed to tackle hard water spots and residue, making it a perfect choice for stainless steel sinks. The cream formula is mildly abrasive to help loosen grime, and it leaves behind a water-repellent coating — this keeps streaks and spots from forming in the first place by preventing water pooling and promoting drainage. After you rinse it off with water and dry the area, your sink will be shiny and more resistant to spots and streaks.
Helpful review: “My stainless steel sink was difficult to restore to its original luster. It seemed to always have a film or water spots – it never looked clean. I ordered this product not expecting much but I was astonished by its effectiveness. […] My sink regained it’s shine and the water seems to roll off the surface like water off a duck’s back. It stays that way for several days! I use it every Sunday night and for the next week, after I wash dishes, I wipe it dry. The result is SHINE!”
3. The Best Stainless Steel Cleaning Wipes
These cleaning wipes are a convenient option for quick cleanups on stainless steel appliances, sinks, trash cans, and grills. The wipes’ sturdy construction holds up to scrubbing, and the dual cleaning and polishing formula leaves surfaces free of streaks and fingerprints. The wipes also leave behind a protective barrier that helps prevent future smearing and smudges. Following cleaning, a quick buff using a dry cloth gives stainless steel a mirror-like polish, and the tightly sealed container keeps wipes moist and ready for the next use.
Helpful review: “I’m sorry I didn’t find these sooner because they’re awesome! My appliances look like they’re brand new. These little clothes go a long way despite their size and thickness. Will definitely be purchasing again!”
4. The Best Stainless Steel Cleaner For Cookware
Stainless steel cookware can see a lot of wear and tear and, in turn, can be a challenge to clean. The Bar Keepers Friend cream formula contains abrasive particles that remove tarnish, stains, grease, mineral deposits, and rust, but it’s still safe for use on stainless steel that needs a slightly deeper cleaning than a spray formula or wipe can offer. And while you may be familiar with the brand’s powdered cleaner, this pre-mixed cream iteration is a bit less messy, making for a streamlined process. A wet cloth is required to remove residue after cleaning, and then you can use a dry cloth to restore surfaces to a shiny finish.
Helpful review: “Wow this stuff works. I used it on my stainless steel pot after I over cooked my steak. […] I had a big burn spot in my pan that was over half the bottom of the pan. But it got it all out. Great product.”
5. The Best Plant-Based Stainless Steel Cleaner
Therapy Clean’s natural stainless steel cleaner uses plant-based cleaning agents and emulsifiers like coconut and lavender essential oil to clean fingerprints, smudges, and spots from appliances, fixtures, and sinks. A thin coating remains on surfaces to repel future fingerprints and marks, and the 16-ounce spray bottle comes with a large reusable microfiber cloth, so you have everything you need to clean and polish your stainless steel straight away. It’s a USDA-certified biobased product, and Leaping Bunny-certified too. and if you’re concerned that the formulation will result in a less effective product, keep in mind that it’s earned an impressive 4.6-star rating on Amazon after more than 11,000 reviews.
Helpful review: “My husband and I just had to update all of our appliances and I love the convenience of stainless steel but was not looking forward to dealing with the constant fingerprints… since it normally NEVER looks good unless being cleaned constantly throughout the day…I have been able to even on our fridge go FIVE whole days before having to clean because it keeps the fingerprints down that well! Not just on the refrigerator either… my dishwasher, my stove top/oven, and my microwave! Not to mention the scent is DIVINE, leaves such a clean fragrance not chemically smelly at all. LOVE THIS STUFF!”
6. The Best Value: A $17 Stainless Steel Cleaning System
If you want the option of using a spray or a wipe to clean your stainless steel, this three-piece set from Weiman is a great option, and it’s perfect if you’re new to stainless steel, as you can figure out which method works best for you. The kit includes wipes, a pump sprayer, and a microfiber cloth. Use them together to safely remove grime, grease, fingerprints, and smudges, then use the towel to buff surfaces to a polished shine.
Helpful review: “After I apply this and wipe it (with the grain) of my stainless appliances, I then lightly buff with a clean microfiber cloth. The results are incredible. I no longer get daily fingerprints on my fridge. Instead, I only have to reapply about once every 3 weeks.”
Also Great: A Microfiber Cleaning Cloth
This microfiber cloth is specifically designed for cleaning stainless steel, with a slightly textured side for brushed stainless steel and a smooth, soft side for polished stainless steel. When wet, the cloth’s tiny fibers attract debris and food, and remove grime, fingerprints, and streaks without leaving lint or new streaks behind. Everyday smudges and messes can be wiped clean with water alone, and bigger jobs can be tackled with one of the above cleaning solutions. The machine-washable cloth is extra-large, measuring 12.5-by-12.5 inches, and it can stand up to 300 washes before needing to be replaced.
Helpful review: “We just had new appliances delivered last week and ‘thought’ we purchased no print but the fridge has been showing prints. I found this and took a chance. It’s amazing and I’m sooo happy with it. We are a busy family and I don’t have time to constantly polish the fridge. This was so easy and removed all prints and left a shine.”