How to clean stainless steel

Written by valerie o'riordan
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How to clean stainless steel
Much cutlery is made of stainless steel. (cutlery image by Andrzej Solnica from

Stainless steel is a very durable material, so keeping your cutlery and other homeware and appliances clean isn't difficult. Regular washing with warm water and your usual detergent should normally suffice, making sure you also dry carefully with a soft cloth. Sometimes, though, you'll encounter more difficult stains.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Add a tablespoon of baking soda to the bottom of a soiled stainless saucepan or Thermos flask. Add a cup of vinegar. Put the lid on the pot and shake the mixture around several times. Then empty the pot and rinse with cold water. This is useful for getting rid of coffee and tea stains. For tougher stains, try a commercial cream cleaner. But make sure not to use an abrasive sponge, as this will scratch your stainless steel.

  2. 2

    Rub your clean stainless steel hob or sink with some cotton wool soaked in baby oil. This prevents food sticking to the surface and stops the stainless steel from smudging. Another tip is to sprinkle the hob or sink with table salt or baking soda and then scrub the surface with the cut end of half a fresh lemon. Rinse with hot water.

  3. 3

    Scrub your stainless steel kettle or taps with lemon juice or vinegar to get rid of limescale build-up. Fill a spray-bottle (available in hardware stores and garden centres) with vinegar and use it on your taps like a regular cleanser. If the stain is more stubborn, soak a kitchen towel in vinegar and drape it over the taps; after letting it soak, take a cleaning brush and scrub the taps again.

  4. 4

    Polish your stainless steel with a paste made of baking soda and water and a soft cloth. Stainless steel can become dull and lacklustre over time. This treatment will help restore the shine.

Tips and warnings

  • Avoid cleansers containing chlorine; these will damage your stainless steel surface. Choose cleansers that contain ammonia instead.

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