From Ick to Slick: Cleaning Stainless Steel

Kitchenette Lorene

Kitchenette Lorene

This week, Kitchenette Lorene Stuart shares her tips and tricks for making stainless steel shine, and dishes on her own stove-keeping habits! Lorene is an amazing volunteer, voice and stage actor, with a commitment to community, cookery and common sense. Thanks, Lorene!

When my brother and his family came over to our house for Thanksgiving, he admired our stainless steel, glass topped stove. He marvelled at how clean our stove top was and asked for our secret. ”Well,” I said, “that is my husband’s secret.” (Greg always takes great pains to keep it spotless.)

However, I looked down at the oven door and was horrified to see what a mess IT was! My mother would NOT be impressed with my cleaning skills. “Keep the kitchen in apple pie order!” was her mantra. Stainless steel? Hardly!  It was disgusting!

A few years ago, I decided to use as many homemade cleaners as I could. I even made a great oven cleaner for our old stove. (This new one has the self-cleaning feature – pity it doesn’t work on the outside!) So, I set out to “scour” my books and the all-knowing Internet to find a solution.

Okay, here is the “before” picture of my oven door. Nice, huh?

Dirty Stainless Steel

I found a few pages on the internet that gave some similar ‘how – to’ steps. The following is a blend of those with my own substitution because I never seem to have everything they suggest so I improvise.

List of supplies for the job.

  • Two clean – lint free – cotton cloths
  • One clean dry lint free towel – dish towel works for me.
  • Regular store-bought dish detergent – NOT dishwasher solution. I used Palmolive (I haven’t tried the home made version yet but it is on my list)
  • Oil (This was the tricky one. Some said Baby oil. Some said Mineral oil. Some even suggested food grade oil.) I thought the Olive and Grapeseed oils I have might be too fine. So I opted to try some handmade bath oil. I love it because it is unscented so no allergy triggers for me! But I digress….

Instructions for the job at hand

Take a look at your stainless steel appliance. Did you notice that, just like wood, stainless steel also has a grain? Very important to always go with the grain – not across it.

Squirt a few drops on of dish detergent on a cloth and wet it. Squeeze out the excess water so the cloth is damp and ‘soapy’ but not drippy.  Rub the cloth – WITH THE GRAIN – on small areas at a time. I would go across one section, then wipe it with the non-soapy part of the cloth, then finish by drying with the dish towel. This seemed to result in fewer water marks.

Now, because I hadn’t done this since I bought the stove (ick), I needed a bit of elbow grease on parts of it, but overall, it was pretty easy.

Rinse the cloth out and repeat applying the detergent to one little corner of the cloth as you go.

When you have completed the door and drawer and they are completely dry, grab the other cloth. Add 2 – 3 drops of the oil of your choice (it really doesn’t take much) to the clean dry cloth. Start at the top and rub – WITH THE GRAIN – again and polish the steel till it starts to shine.

Here is the “after” picture. I might need to go over part of the door again (the light of the flash pointed out a couple of spots I missed –drat!). But still, there is a big difference!

Clean Stainless Steel Stove

AND, I didn’t have to leave my house to buy a separate cleaner!

I can’t wait to invite my family over for dinner again. Next time, ALL my appliances will shine!

How about you? Any tips for safely cleaning stainless steel?

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About Vicki

I’m a coach and consultant and in my spare time I like to cook and play house. I believe happy idleness is a purposeful pathway to a contented life. And I am happiest either in my pajamas or an apron – or both.


  1. Ok how does her husband keep the glass top part of the stove clean? I cannot get the circles off of the burner rings!

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