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How to Clean Stainless Steel Appliances in 5 Minutes Flat!

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Are you tired of staring at those gross spots on your refrigerator? Have you tried to clean your stainless steel oven with soaps, vinegar, and store-bought cleaners, all to no avail? Fear not, today I am showing you an easy way to clean your stainless steel appliances – this clever hack will get your stainless steel sparkling in less than five minutes!

How to Clean Stainless Steel Appliances in 5 Minutes, Flat!

Impossible you believe? Well, much like the Queen in Alice in Wonderland, I am here to make you believe in impossible things!

As the Queen herself said:

Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

Check out the before and after shot!

Before and after comparison of clean stainless steel fridge

This easy hack cleans all stainless steel appliances!

This tip will help you clean:

  • Stainless steel refrigerators
  • Stainless steel dishwashers
  • Stainless steel microwaves
  • And more!

Today, my lovely stainless steel refrigerator will be modeling for us (the oven and microwave wanted in on the sparkle action, but were unfortunately too clean).

First, let’s take a look at the before picture of my fridge.

See all those spots and gunk and that general glaze of grossness?

(I promise that isn’t all from us!)

In fact, most of those spots were inherited from previous users.

That’s because we are currently renting a teeny-tiny 1400 square foot townhome; the spotted stainless appliances included, complimentary, of course!

A dirty stainless steel fridge, ready to be cleaned

This post may contain affiliate links for your convenience. That means that if you make a purchase, I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Read more here.

Can vinegar and water clean stainless steel?

My go-to cleaner is usually a 50/50 spray bottle full of white vinegar and water.

I tried to clean the fridge gently with this vinegar and water spray, but those stubborn spots weren’t budging.

Color me unsurprised…luckily, I knew just what to do!

I learned this handy trick to clean stainless steel appliances when we were staging our Chicago condo for sale. I can’t remember if it was our realtor or a handy neighbor who suggested this hack, but whoever they are they have my eternal appreciation!

What you need to clean your stainless steel appliances:

That’s it! Now you are ready to start cleaning.

Cleaning supplies for stainless steel
The usual suspects.


Stage 1: Vinegar spray

I know that I said the vinegar spray is ineffective in cleaning the worst spots off the fridge, right? So why are we using it?

We want the vinegar spray to wipe off the run-of-the-mill dirt and oils that have accumulated so that we can get down to the real nitty-gritty of cleaning the fridge.

I always keep a spray bottle handy with a vinegar-water solution in my kitchen.

Remove any magnets or papers from your fridge and spray liberally with the vinegar-water mix. Wipe down with the white rag.

A spray bottle with vinegar-water solution inside

*Bonus wiping stainless steel pro-tip

All stainless steel refrigerator doors have a “grain” that runs through it, similar to wood grains.

Look closely at your stainless to see which direction the grain is running.

Make sure you ALWAYS wipe in the direction of the grain! You will reduce the likelihood of scratching and marks showing (try not to use highly abrasive sponges and rags).

See the grain on my fridge here for example — you can also observe scratches from prior owners running down against the grain.

Picture of stainless steel grain on fridge
Grain running left to right.

Stage 2: WD-40 Spray

If you have rugs or carpet underneath your fridge, remove or cover them; you want to protect the floor from drips!

WD-40 drips are TOUGH to get out of fabrics….ask me how I know. 😉

Once your floor is clear or protected, set your WD-40 can to the “spray” setting (not stream, spray). You want to spray the WD-40 quickly and fairly evenly over the surface of your fridge.

It will begin to drip immediately.

Take a dry side of your white rag and begin to wipe down the stainless steel doors.

Don’t forget to wipe with the grain of the steel! 

(I didn’t put in a picture of me wiping because I am sure you know how to do that. Wipe like the wind!)

Stage 3: The final wipe down 

If you are now singing Europe’s The Final Countdown in your head, don’t worry — I am too!

Take your white rag and refold it so that you have a dry side again.

Wipe one more time to remove any excess oiliness.

Stage 4: Rejoice!

Now behold the shining marvel that is your stainless steel!

Check out the result of my cleaning!

A stainless steel fridge that has just been cleaned

So fresh, so clean

Hopefully, your cleaning didn’t reveal any scratches on your fridge…unfortunately, mine did *le sigh*.

Here is a close-up.

Close up of a clean stainless steel door

I hope that you enjoyed my five-minute hack for cleaning your stainless steel appliances!

If you tried it out, let me know how it went in the comment section below. 🙂

Want more ways to clean your home? Check out the following posts:

👇 Get more cleaning tips and ideas on living minimally as a family! 👇

Pin it for Later!

Before and after cleaning stainless steel




  1. Awesome tip! Since my new stainless micro-wave just joined my wee appliances, I now have ALL stainless steel (EXCEPT for the fridge… still white!) I will def use this trick in the future… and let Nika know about it since she just bought a new stainless fridge! Thanks, Marissa!

  2. This is a perfect post on cleaning stainless steel appliances. I agree that, you can find many stubborn spots on your kitchen or stainless steel products. I will surely utilize your tips when I clean my kitchen. Visit: https://bit.ly/2x49KlP

  3. WD-40 is and amazing product. I use it all around the house and car as well. Additional tip: To give it a top shine, put a few drops of olive oil on a clean microfiber towel. Rub it on the surface for a few minutes. You will be amazed!

  4. Stainless steel is such a pain in the neck to keep clean. When I was in college I worked at a laundry mat, we used baby oil to shine it. But baby oil catches any bit of dust in the room and builds up so I never use it on my home appliances. I will try this, and thank you.

  5. I was more than frustrated trying to clean my stainless steel refrigerator, nothing worked. I saw your post and tried the vinegar water and WD40. My refrigerator is so clean and shiny I practically need sunglasses to look at it. Thank you!

  6. Great tip that I will definitely be using when I move into my new house that has SS appliances. To avoid overspray would it work to spray on rag then wipe?

  7. I have another suggestion that works like a charm….Orange Glo! It takes off all the stuff you can’t get off as you mentioned. It smells better than WD-40 also!

    1. Noted! Thanks for the tip, Marty – I know what you mean about the smell. WD-40 is definitely not as nice smelling as Organe Glo. 🙂

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