9 Best Stainless Steel Cleaner of 2020 – Complete Buying Guide

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    OUR TOP CHOICE

    OUR TOP CHOICE

    Key Features

    The best selling brand

    Large capacity bottle

    Perfect for a wide range of surfaces

    Protects Black Stainless Steel

    Has great fingerprint fighting power

    Leaves a streak-free shine


    Cleaning the sink

    Your stainless steel appliances are likely a central focus of your home’s kitchen. You bought them for their clean, classic look, and for their durable and long lasting finish. However, there is a problem with stainless steel. It shows fingerprints and smudges and can go from looking amazing to looking less than, in a matter of moments. 

    If you’re like us, there is nothing more frustrating than looking at your stainless steel appliance and seeing those fingerprints and smudges.

    You can of course wipe your appliances down with a damp cloth, and that will do a reasonable job. But if you really want to return the shine to your appliances, you’ll need a cleaner that is made specifically for your stainless steel appliances.

    It’s important to remember that the worst thing you can use on your stainless steel appliances is an abrasive cleaner. You should always use a soft cloth, and a gentle cleaner for best results. Abrasive cleaners will scratch the factory finish, and can result in unwanted rusting of your appliance. Some people will tell you that baking soda is a good option, however, we would recommend only using baking soda on your stainless steel cookware, or to remove rust spots from your appliance.

    If you are in need of a good, quality stainless steel cleaner, you’ve likely realized that there are a number of options to pick from. While each will do a decent job of shining up your stainless steel appliances, they are not all created equal. Finding the right one for your appliances, and your kitchen is important, and can take some work.

    We’ve found this same challenge when looking for a stainless steel cleaner, so we decided to put a number of the most popular stainless steel cleaners on the market to the test. We made a mess of our stainless steel appliances and put these popular options to the test. We also read the thoughts of other people who had used each product. From all of this work, we’ve come up with this list of the nine best stainless steel cleaners. We’ve also put together a buying guide that should help you decide which products out there are the best for you.

    Our pick for the best stainless steel cleaner is Weiman Stainless Steel Cleaner and Polish. We found that this cleaner was really simple to use and left our appliances with an amazing shine. We liked that it didn’t have an odd odor, and it didn’t feel too greasy. For the price it is a quality option for most stainless steel appliances.

    Our Best Choice: Weiman Stainless Steel Cleaner and Polish

    Weiman is the number one selling stainless steel polish. It has been around for as long as home appliances have come in stainless steel, and is known for delivering a beautiful result to your appliances.


    For the complete product list, please continue reading…


    Top 9 Stainless Steel Cleaners

    1. Best Overall – Weiman Stainless Steel Cleaner and Polish

    Pros:

     Easy to use spray bottle
     Leaves a protective layer of polish
     Great on fingerprints
     Price to value ratio is high

    Cons:

    Not the smell for everyone

    Specifications:

      • Type: Spray bottle
      • Ingredients: Propylene Glycol
      • Capacity: 22 ounces
      • Scent: Flower

    We like this product because it is so easy to use. Simply spray a bit of the cleaner on a soft cloth and wipe down your appliances. This cleaner leaves no greasy residue, but does provide added protection from fingerprints and smudges. This cleaner is also safe to use on black stainless steel, which isn’t the case for many stainless steel cleaners.

    This product is safe to use on most kitchen appliances. It is pH neutral, and has a pleasant, but not overpowering floral scent. We also appreciate that it is reasonably priced.


    2. Runner up – Hopes Perfect Stainless Steel Cleaner and Polish

    Pros:

     Easy to use spray bottle
     100% streak-free
     Great for all stainless steel surfaces
     Non-abrasive and non- greasy

    Cons:

    Not as easy to control spray

    Specifications:

      • Type: Spray Cream
      • Ingredients:
      • Capacity: 22 ounces
      • Scent: None

    Our runner up stainless steel cleaner is Hope’s Perfect Stainless, appliance polish. This is another easy to use product that really lives up to its reputation. This cleaner is free from harsh chemicals, which makes it nice to use in homes with pets and small children. We liked that this cleaner didn’t have a noticeable scent. 

    Hope’s stainless steel cleaner gave us one of the best, shiny results. And surprisingly, it wasn’t greasy. We didn’t feel like it did as well at protecting against fingerprints and smudges, but for a safer, scent free cleaning product it performed well.

    Our biggest complaint is that this product comes in a smaller quantity and is higher priced than other options.


    3. Best Budget – Affresh Stainless Steel Cleaning Spray

    Pros:

     Easily cleans fingerprints, smudges and other residue
     Versatile for a wide range of surfaces
     Restores a streak-free polished shine
     Specially formulated for minimal run-off

    Cons:

    It is flammable

    Specifications:

      • Type: Aerosol Spray
      • Ingredients: Isobutane
      • Capacity: 12 ounces
      • Scent: Fresh fruity

    If you want a great product to clean your stainless steel appliances, but don’t want to spend a ton either, then Affresh stainless steel cleaning spray is a great choice for you. It’s our pick for the best budget stainless steel cleaner.

    This stainless steel cleaner is isobutane based, so it is non-abrasive, and is pH balanced so it is safer than other cleaners. This aerosol formula is made to stick better to your appliances for minimal dripping. It did a good job of removing fingerprints and smudges. We do recommend that you pre-clean your appliance first to remove any stuck on food or sticky objects. This cleaner won’t remove stuck on materials.

    While you can use this cleaner on any stainless steel appliance, it is specifically recommended for Whirlpool and KitchenAid appliances. We did find the fruity/floral scent a bit much, but it wasn’t so overbearing that we didn’t want to use the cleaner.


    4. Best Cloth – Quickie Microfiber Cleaning Cloth

    Pros:

     Easy to use wet or dry
     Non-abrasive and removes allergens, dust, and smudges
     Suitable for a wide range of surfaces
     Reusable and machine washable

    Cons:

    Better with a cleaning agent

    Specifications:

      • Type: Cloth
      • Ingredients: Polyester and nylon
      • Capacity: 13-inch x 15-inch
      • Scent: None

    If you don’t want to use chemicals in your kitchen to keep your stainless steel appliances clean and free of smudges, then your answer is to invest in a microfiber cleaning cloth. Our pick is the microfiber cleaning cloth from Quickie. Quickie is known for making quality cleaning products such as mops and brooms, so we were pleased to see that their microfiber cleaning cloth worked so well.

    This cloth did a great job of getting our stainless steel nice and shiny. It easily removed fingerprints and smudges. If it is used wet, it can scrub away stuck on food and dirt, while also shining. We did find that this cloth did perform better if you used a cleaning product (try the Weiman Stainless Steel cleaner), otherwise, it does take a bit of elbow grease to really get a good shine.

    The Quickie microfiber cloth is reusable and can go into your washing machine.


    5. Best Multi-Purpose – BAR KEEPERS FRIEND Soft Cleanser Liquid

    Pros:

     Removes stains, rust and dirt 
     Very suitable for a wide range of surfaces
     Polishes and shines
     2 scrubbing cloths included

    Cons:

    Liquid is runny

    Specifications:

      • Type: Liquid
      • Ingredients: Oxalic Acid
      • Capacity: 13 ounce
      • Scent: Citrus

    Formulated to be used in food service applications the Bar Keepers Friend, multi-purpose cleaner is a great, non-abrasive cleaner that does more than just clean stainless steel.

    Bar Keepers Friend is a great cleaner for a variety of metals. Use this cleaner to shine up copper pans, or to bring new life to chrome on your car. The cleaner on its own is non-abrasive and won’t scratch delicate items. Bar Keepers Friend uses Oxalic Acid as a base, so we would recommend that you use gloves when you are working with this product.

    We did like that this product had a fresh citrus scent, that wasn’t too strong. The Bar Keepers Friend also comes with two non-scratch scouring pads, that will make quick work of removing stuck on crud, but won’t tear up your stainless steel appliances.


    6. Best Aerosol – MAGIC Stainless Steel Cleaner Aerosol

    Pros:

     Prevents dirt, dust, water, and fingerprints
     Very easy to use spray aerosol can
     Creates a transparent, protective coating
     Works great on Stainless Steel, Aluminum & Chrome

    Cons:

     Has a stronger odor 
     It is flammable

    Specifications:

      • Type: Aerosol
      • Ingredients: Petroleum distillates
      • Capacity: 17 ounce
      • Scent: Spring Air

    We do like a good foaming cleaner from time to time. For some reason they seem to do a better job of staying where you apply them. They also can be less messy to deal with. Our pick for the best aerosol stainless steel cleaner is from Magic

    This is another well-known stainless steel cleaner that has a reputation for working well. We were impressed that this cleaner also lived up to the hype and did a great job returning shine to our appliances.

    Our biggest complaint about this product comes from its ingredients. This product is made from a variety of undisclosed petroleum distillates. Honestly we’re not keen on the mystery, and it made us reach for the gloves. It also has a strong odor, which we didn’t love.

    The product works though, and didn’t seem to leave much of a greasy residue. It does seem to provide some protection against new smudges and fingerprints which was nice.


    7. Best Plant Based – Therapy Premium Stainless Steel Cleaner & Polish

    Pros:

     Easy to use spray bottle
     Non-toxic plant-based ingredients
     Great on a wide range of surfaces
     Comes with a microfiber cloth

    Cons:

    Polish doesn’t last as long
     Doesn’t clean as well

    Specifications:

      • Type: Spray
      • Ingredients: Coconut and lavender essential oil
      • Capacity: 16 ounce
      • Scent: Lavender

    To be honest, we were slightly skeptical that a plant based product would work well on our stainless steel appliances. Since so many of the products on the market are petroleum based, the Therapy stainless steel cleaner was a welcome surprise.

    This cleaner’s base is coconut oil, which has recently become a favorite, all-purpose oil. Coconut oil is surprisingly good at shining stainless steel, without leaving streaks or smears. The coconut oil also seems to provide a bit of “waterproofing” so to speak, so the Therapy product is a great option for using on outdoor appliances, like grills, that are exposed to the elements.

    The Therapy stainless steel cleaner has a fresh lavender scent, which was pleasant, and not overbearing. This product comes with its own micro-fiber cloth, or consider pairing it with the Quickie microfiber cloth we reviewed earlier.


    8. Best Value – Cameo Aluminum & Stainless Steel Cleaner

    Pros:

     Easily cuts through grime
     Very little goes along way
     Works great on Stainless Steel, Aluminum & Chrome
     No toxic chemicals

    Cons:

    Is mildly abrasive

    Specifications:

      • Type: Powder
      • Ingredients: Sulfamic acid and sodium silicofluoride
      • Capacity: 10 oz. (Pack of 2)
      • Scent: None

    Sometimes you need a little extra power to get tough messes cleaned up. The Cameo aluminum and stainless steel cleaner is a great product for tough messes, but is also a good all-purpose cleaner as well.

    This product is a powder, so you will need to use a damp cloth or sponge to apply. We found that the Cameo aluminum and stainless steel cleaner was great for stainless steel items other than appliances. It worked great to clean up our stainless steel cookware that had gone from shiny silver to black. It also worked nicely to shine up our stainless steel sink.

    It is slightly abrasive, so we don’t think that this is a great product for your kitchen appliances.


    9. Best Spray – Sprayway Stainless Steel Cleaner and Polish

    Pros:

     Easy use spray can
     Very versatile on all stainless steel
     Cleans, polishes and leaves no greasy film 
     Contains no acid or abrasives

    Cons:

    It is flammable
     Not good for low ventilation areas

    Specifications:

      • Type: Spray can
      • Main Ingredient: Petroleum
      • Capacity: 15 ounce
      • Scent: None

    We talk a lot about stainless steel appliances, however your home has other stainless steel features that need some extra love from time to time. Sprayaway stainless steel cleaner is made to bring new life to stainless steel fixtures and trim. However, it can also be used on your stainless steel appliances.

    This product was easy to use, and we liked the spray application. It was convenient to spray the cleaner directly on fixtures and appliances, without a foamy mess. Sprayaway stainless steel cleaner left an amazing shine, without the greasy film or streaks.

    This cleaner is flammable, and has a bit of an odor. We would recommend making sure that the area is well ventilated when using this cleaner.


    Final Verdict

    Weiman

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    When it comes to stainless steel cleaners, our pick for the best is  Weiman Stainless Steel Cleaner and Polish. This cleaner was easy to use, and worked really well on even tough jobs. It had a light fresh scent, and was affordable. It was a great product for most kitchens, and appliances.

    If you’re tired of looking at the fingerprints and smudges on your stainless steel appliances, you don’t have to call an expert or work really hard to return them to the same beautiful look they had when they were new. Stainless steel cleaners will take your stainless steel appliances from OK looking to beautiful, in no time at all.


    How to Choose the Best Stainless Steel Cleaner

    So, the question now becomes, how do you choose the best stainless steel cleaner? We’ve put together this handy buying guide to help you narrow down the best options for your kitchen. 

    These are the same factors that we considered when making our list of the nine best stainless steel cleaners, so we think that they will guide you in the right direction, when it comes to finding the right stainless steel cleaner.

    Type

    We found that there were three basic options when it comes to the types of stainless steel cleaners. Each is helpful in its own way, but each also can have challenges.

    • Creams/Gels – These are kind of the same, so we’ve put them together. We found that these options weren’t the easiest to work with, but they were the most affordable, for the quantity that you get. Cream and gel stainless steel cleaners are wiped on your appliances using a soft cloth. They can be messy, and we found that it took us a few tries to get the right quantity for the job.
    • Wipes – By far, the most convenient of the options, but also more expensive than others. Stainless steel cleaning wipes, are much like other cleaning wipes. They come in a canister or pack, and are coated in the cleaner. Simply pull out a wipe and go to work. Our complaints with these is that they don’t stand up well to tougher jobs, and honestly they aren’t the most waste free options.
    • Oils – You can also find stainless steel cleaner in oil form. This oil is usually the base of the creams or the cleaner in the wipes. Oil can be messy, but does a really good job. It is also an affordable option, and doesn’t require that you throw out a bunch of wipes.

    There are other options when it comes to the type of cleaners. For instance we did find that white vinegar is a great option, but it isn’t specific for cleaning stainless steel.

    Ingredients

    To be frank, we found it difficult to find the specific ingredients in many of the non plant based cleaners. We searched the internet for SDS sheets and information on the ingredients in many of the popular stainless steel cleaning products and could find very little information. In general we can tell you that most are made with a mixture of petroleum based products and mineral oils. 

    If you are not excited about using these sorts of products in your home, you’ll want to consider plant based products. These work the same as the non-plant based products, but they use ingredients that you may feel safer having in your home. These products will use a plant based oils, and other products like vinegar or baking soda as their base. Just make sure that you don’t use a highly abrasive cleaner for your stainless steel.

    Scent

    For the most part, stainless steel cleaners don’t have a ton of scent. Most that we tested had a light floral scent. Plant based cleaners seemed to have more options that were unscented than the non-plant based options. 

    We did find that some products that aren’t stainless steel cleaners specifically, but do work well on stainless steel, tend to have stronger odors. White vinegar for example is a great all-purpose cleaner, but it has a strong odor that can be offensive to some people.

    Ease of Use 

    The last factor that we considered is how easy the product is to use. When it came down to it, none of the stainless steel cleaners that are the most popular are difficult to use. For the most part they ask you to apply the cleaner to your appliance like stainless steel bbq grill and bbq grill with the help of grill brush, a soft cloth and buff. 

    You may have to wipe the cleaner off with separate cloth after, but all in all these products are simple to use, and don’t generally require mixing or added effort. The easiest to use were the wipes. All you have to do with the wipes, is remove a cloth from the container and wipe down your appliances. We liked that convenience, but didn’t love the waste.