The Best Ways to Polish Stainless Steel

Stainless Steel
Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is commonly used for cutlery, utensils and kitchen appliances. Stainless steel resists rusts and does not stain as much as other metals. Contrary to its name, stainless steel does stain and dull through daily use. Some of the best ways to polish stainless steel utilize products used in many households.

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Warm Water

Use warm water and a cloth to polish stainless steel. Sometimes the warm water is sufficient to remove any dullness or spots. Wipe the surface in the direction of the stainless steel grain. Follow up with a dry cloth to buff to a shine.

Baking Soda

To remove stubborn spots, water marks or finger prints, mix 1/2 cup of baking soda with a little water to make a paste. Use a clean, non-abrasive cloth and apply the paste to the area. Work the paste into the stainless steel using a circular motion, followed by a back-and-forth motion in the direction of the stainless steel's grain. Continue until the spot is gone, then use a clean cloth to wipe away.


Vinegar is another option for cutting through grease, spots and stains, even on stainless steel. Mix one part water with one part vinegar in a spray bottle and apply to the area. Use a clean cloth to work the vinegar spray into the stainless steel, wiping the surface until it is clean. For stubborn areas, use undiluted vinegar. Bring out the stainless steel shine by buffing with a clean, dry cloth.

Olive Oil and Lemon

Olive oil and lemon will help to clean and season the stainless steel. This mixture works well as a general metal polish. Mix together one part lemon to two parts olive oil. Use a clean cloth to apply the mixture to the stainless steel surface, working it into a clean shine, alternating between circular and with-the-grain strokes. This helps to remove any blemishes. Wipe away the excess, then buff to a final polish.

Dishwashing Liquid

While there are several stainless steel polishes on the market, undiluted dish soap works amazingly well to clean away blemishes on stainless steel appliances. Apply dish soap to a wet sponge or rag. Use circular motions to work it into the stainless steel, alternating with going in the direction of its grain. Once it appears that the problem area is gone, use a dry cloth to wipe away the excess dishwashing liquid and to bring out the stainless steel's brilliant shine.


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