So you want to know how to clean stainless steel. Chances are pretty good that if you have recently eaten a meal with a knife, fork, or spoon, then you have also recently held stainless steel in your hands. Without a doubt, stainless steel has become the dominant material used for cutlery, and to a lesser extent, pots, pans, and other kitchen equipment and utensils. Learn everything you need to know about how to clean stainless steel. You have questions, we have answers!

  1. What is Stainless Steel?
  2. What are the Benefits of Stainless Steel?
  3. How to Clean Stainless Steel?
  4. How to Clean Stainless Steel Appliances?

#1 What is Stainless Steel?

To understand stainless steel, first we must understand steel. At its most basic, steel is an alloy (a mixture of a metal with either another metal or some other element) comprised mostly of iron and carbon (and occasionally smaller amounts of other elements). Traditional “carbon steel”, as it is referred, is not immune to rust, corrosion, or water stains, and although it is incredibly strong, the fact that it can rust and corrode make it less than ideal for many potential applications.

But how does stainless steel’s composition differ from carbon steel? The key difference is the addition of another element, called chromium, which has rustproof and corrosion-proof properties when included into the steel alloy. In order to be considered true stainless steel, the composition of the alloy must contain at least 10.5% chromium. Chromium also gives stainless steel its attractive vibrancy and shine; traditional carbon steel is grayer and more dull in appearance. 


#2 Benefits of Stainless Steel

With the invention of stainless steel in the late 1800’s and its proliferation into industrial and commercial markets in the early 1900’s, people now have a non-rusting option which has found almost limitless applications– in homes, at construction sites, in hospital operating rooms, and almost anywhere else you can imagine.

Stainless steel features several key benefits, making it such a useful alloy:

  • Resistance to corrosion and rust
  • Resistance to extreme temperatures
  • Easy and inexpensive to manufacture
  • Incredibly strong and durable
  • Pleasing to the eye
  • Easy to clean

How to Clean Stainless Steel

#3 How to Clean Stainless Steel

If you are thinking about investing in some stainless steel cutlery or pots & pans, you will be happy to know that your investment will be easy to clean, and if properly cared for, will last a lifetime.

The most basic method of cleaning stainless steel is simply washing your pieces under hot water and then wiping them dry with a cloth or towel. This method is surprisingly effective for removing the overwhelming majority of dust and dirt accumulation, but may not eliminate all bacteria. Make sure to dry off all excess water during the towel-dry process, as allowing water to sit on stainless steel for an extended period can cause slight water stains, which are a bit harder to remove.  

washing dishes

If you wish to kick your stainless steel cleaning up a notch, bring some basic dish soap to the party. You may apply a dab of soap directly to your steel pieces, or add a few drops into a sinkful of hot water and allow your steel to soak for a moment before washing it off under running water and then cloth drying it.

The final route you can go for cleaning your stainless steel is with the purchase of either a glass cleaner or dedicated stainless steel cleaner. These particular products contain chemicals which can give your steel the ultimate clean and shine; however, unlike soap and water, these chemicals are not only much more expensive, they are also toxic. If you decide to use a special cleaning product on your stainless steel, be sure to do an extra thorough job rinsing it under water and forcibly drying it prior to eating with it.

Stainless steel has been and will continue to be one of the most successful discoveries in metallurgy, and there is no doubt in our mind that if you decide to invest in stainless steel items for your kitchen, bathroom, and more, you will not be disappointed, as long as you remember to take the proper care of them. And, as we outlined above, taking proper care of your steel should not prove to be a challenge for anyone.

#4 How to Clean Stainless Steel Appliances


Editor’s Note: China is by far the world leader in steel production, producing roughly 800 million tons of steel per year. The #2 steel-producing nation on Earth is Japan, who manufacture roughly 1/7th as much steel as China.


Posted by Nick Cangemi