The sleek durability of stainless steel is a standard for today’s kitchens. While this hardworking finish is known for showing smudges and streaks, Maytag has some simple tips to help get the job done. Whether you’re working with a stainless steel refrigerator, dishwasher, stove or microwave, use this guide to keep your stainless steel appliances shiny.

Cleaning Stainless Steel Appliances: The Basics

White kitchen with stainless steel appliances

Store-bought stainless steel cleaners are optimal for cleaning your appliances, and should give them a nice polish as well. They usually just need to be sprayed onto the appliance then wiped with a soft cloth in the direction of the grain. If you don’t have a stainless steel cleaner on hand, use warm water mixed with a drop of dish soap.


Cleaning stainless steel frequently will help maintain the polish. Be careful not to use any of the following on your stainless steel appliances: products containing bleach, abrasive or grainy cleaners, glass cleaner, oven cleaner, ammonia or abrasive cloths or pads like steel wool. 

Hand wiping stainless steel microwave with a soft, blue cloth

How To Clean & Polish Stainless Steel Appliances, Step-By-Step

Always check your appliance’s Use and Care Guide before cleaning. If you’re using a store-bought product like affresh® stainless steel cleaning spray, make sure to read the instructions on the label before beginning. Follow the steps below or watch a video to keep your stainless looking like new.

Hand wiping stainless steel microwave with a soft, blue cloth
Cleaner being sprayed onto stainless steel refrigerator

Step 1: Apply cleaner directly to the surface 

If using a store-bought cleaner, you’ll probably need to shake it before spraying. Once it’s shook up, spray it directly onto the stainless steel surface in an S pattern. If you’re using water with a drop of dish soap, apply it to the surface with a soft cloth. 

Hand wiping cleaner off a stainless steel refrigerator

Step 2: Wipe in the direction of the grain

Look for striations in the stainless steel finish running vertically or horizontally. This is the grain. Using a soft, dry cloth, wipe the cleaner in the direction of the grain. If you’re using a dish soap solution, rinse it off with a soft, damp cloth. 

Hand buffing stainless steel with a white cloth

Step 3: Buff with a soft, dry cloth

Using a different soft, dry cloth, buff the surface in the direction of the grain until it shines. 


Stainless steel refrigerator

Regular cleaning is essential, but you may also want to know how to remove rust and discoloration from stainless steel. Cooking and heat can create yellow stains or areas of rust on your appliances, especially your stove. The affresh® stainless steel brightener clears rust, heat discoloration and yellowing from stainless steel while restoring your appliance's brightness and shine.


Recommended Stainless Steel Appliance Cleaners

Find the right tool for the job with affresh® stainless steel cleaners, the #1 recommended appliance cleaner brand by Maytag brand.1 You’ll never question your clean with a spray, mousse or brightener that delivers a like-new shine.


Woman loading groceries in a refrigerator

Most appliance brands today offer a finish that naturally resists smudges, like Maytag brand’s Fingerprint Resistant Stainless Steel. This seriously stealthy finish resists fingerprints, smears and streaks to keep your appliance looking as good on the outside as it works on the inside. And when major messes happen, it cleans up with a simple wipe. 


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1. affresh® brand products and the recommending brands’ products are all owned and distributed by Whirlpool Corporation.