Stainless steel is the new neutral in appliances. Once only found in industrial and commercial kitchens, now new homes and kitchen renovations feature stainless steel appliances. Their sleek, gleaming surfaces look so trendy and contemporary, you would never imagine there could be a downside to these shiny refrigerators, ovens, microwaves, dishwashers and more..
Since the time of the American Diner, stainless steel has been synonymous with food preparation, refrigeration and cooking. It has been commonplace in the food industry for years. Commercial kitchens, school cafeterias, and restaurants all had a sea of shining stainless steel appliances, and still do. Restauranteurs chose it because of its long life span, and the fact that it won't rust or stain. Not only that, scratches and nicks in stainless steel do not trap food and germs. These appliances can be cleaned and sanitized easily. No pigments or oils from food preparation can ruin stainless steel.
Now that stainless steel appliances are mainstream and every other kitchen includes these shining beauties, people notice something distressing. Every fingerprint and smear shows up. Unless surfaces are wiped off frequently, stainless steel appliances look dull and smudged. Appliance owners must keep a product like Windex® on hand, and try to keep up with prints and smears.
To improve stainless steel sales, appliance manufacturers added new models with one wonderful feature. The stainless steel has a coating that keeps smudges off. SilverMist, Satina, Titanium, CleanSteel--these are the names of new stainless look appliance finishes. Some look even better, smoother, and newer than the regular stainless appliances, and it is very difficult to smudge or fingerprint them, even if you really try.
Many manufacturers now make stainless steel appliances with a no-smudge coating. LG makes a Titanium refrigerator that is almost indistinguishable from regular stainless steel models. GE's CleanSteel is manufactured as part of a refrigerator and oven line. Satina Stainless Look refrigerators are made by Whirlpool, however the finish is not comparable to traditional stainless appliances.
You may think you're stuck cleaning your old stainless steel appliances off four or five times a day to get rid of smudges, smears and prints. But you'll be happy to know new products are available that apply a thin protective film to the steel to repel fingerprints. These include Cerama-Bryte®, a cleaner and protectant, Magic Steel® wipes, and Sheila Shine®. However, continued use of these products may change the color of the steel. The products also attract dust and pet hair, but that may still be preferable to the dirty smudgy look.
Stainless steel appliances have benefits not usually found in their almond, white and black counterparts. They do not discolor, and are in fact stainless. They're also rust proof, unless the finish wears off with the continual use of harsh cleansers. Scratches and nicks that occur in stainless steel are not obvious or deep, don't trap food particles and germs, and are easy to clean. Sleek and shiny stainless steel, the new neutral in appliances, has the contemporary industrial look so much in favor today.
- Photo Credit AjMadison, Electrolux kitchen
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