Stainless kitchen appliances are beautiful in theory but I would have never picked them for myself. They were already in the house when we bought it and in pretty new/good condition so we haven’t had any reason to replace them. They are a serious pain to keep clean though! Every single little fingerprint shows.
There are lots of stainless cleaning supplies on the market that people say work well but as you know if you’ve been reading around here very long I really prefer to use natural methods for cleaning. And I’ve tried several different things but nothing ever got them really clean. I mean, I could get dried food and gunk off easily but as far as getting all the smudges and smears off…not happening.
I was really excited last year when I got some Norwex cloths thinking that this would be the perfect solution but sadly it wasn’t. After doing some researching it turns out that the Norwex envirocloth and polishing cloth are good for stainless but only if they are already pretty clean (more for maintenance). Apparently if your stainless has ever been cleaned with one of those commercial cleaners it leaves a film that you have to get off first and the envirocloth can’t get that off (ours has never been cleaned with anything like that since we’ve lived here but I’d guess it probably was by the previous owners).
I found some natural products that were supposed to be good for cleaning stainless but they were very expensive and I just couldn’t bring myself to spend that much when honestly, I have a toddler so as soon as I clean them they’re going to get a million fingerprints again, you know?
A few days ago I read something that said, “oh yeah you can totally get it off with an envirocloth, it just takes a lot of elbow grease” so I gave it one more try. Rubbed and rubbed and rubbed and…nothing. Was not helping a bit.
(I had to take a picture of my very eager helper using the oven mitt to help me “clean” the fridge.)(Norwex peeps, I am totally not hating on you! I promise I like my cloths and I use them for lots of stuff…including to clean my stainless later in this post, I’m just being honest that they didn’t work for this one particular thing!)
So after that I was like, forget it. I’m going to break down at some point and buy the expensive cleaner so I can get my stuff clean. Someday. Maybe.
But then I remembered that a friend of mine who is in my essential oils group had posted about a DIY cleaning scrub she had made and I figured I’d at least give it a try. I mixed up just a teeny tiny bit and rubbed a small circle on the fridge. Wiped it off with a damp rag and Oh.My.Stars.
Do you SEE that clean circle???
I still had some left in my bowl so I kept going. I only had enough to do about half of the fridge, plus we had a bunch of other stuff to do that day so that was all I got done but I kept going back over and over to look at it and I was so excited to show Michael when he got home!
In this picture the left side had not been cleaned yet but the right side was almost done. It’s so hard to take pictures of stainless but I think you can definitely see the difference!
So enough blabbing…you want me to tell you what I did, don’t you?
It’s really easy. And I don’t even have a recipe.
I made a paste of baking soda, Thieves cleaner, and water. I didn’t measure, I just put some baking soda in a bowl, added a good squirt of Thieves cleaner, and then added water and stirred until it was the consistency of something like cinnamon roll icing (that’s what it looks like lol!).
My friend Michelle, who is the one who had mentioned that she had made something like this and given me the idea, said that she used Thieves cleaner, baking soda, vinegar, and lemon essential oil. I didn’t know that when I mixed up mine and the baking soda and Thieves cleaner by themselves worked just great, but you could totally try vinegar and lemon oil too for some extra oomph.
What I did:
Step 1: Mix up your paste
Step 2: Using a damp cloth, rub the paste in a circular motion all over the appliance.
Step 3: Using a different damp cloth, wipe the paste off.
Step 4: Wipe the surface again with a damp Norwex envirocloth
Step 5: Wipe the surface with a dry Norwex polishing cloth
Once the appliance is dry, check to make sure all the streaks are gone. You might have to go back and do part of it a second time.
Here’s our fridge after I finished the whole thing.
It takes a little time and effort but it works like a charm! It’s not perfect (I mean really, the only perfect method would be to not have to clean it at all, amiright?) but it was definitely good enough for me!
– It works! I mean, that’s the main this right?
– It’s very inexpensive! Baking soda is cheap and Thieves cleaner is cheap too (it doesn’t seem cheap when you first buy it but it’s so concentrated that it lasts forever. I didn’t even realize how inexpensive it was until I saw this cool chart.)
– It’s messy! The paste falls off the appliance and makes a big baking soda mess on the floor. It’s pretty easy to sweep up though so that’s not too big of a deal
– It takes some time to do all those steps.
– The baking soda is abrasive so it can be a little hard on your hands and nails.
Overall I am just super, duper impressed. I have used baking soda and castile soap to clean things like our showers and toilets but it’s incredibly bubbly (because of the castile) so I never would have tried it on our stainless. The Thieves cleaner though is perfect and it doesn’t bubble up everywhere so it’s very easy to wipe off. I’m so glad I found this out!
In fact, like I mentioned earlier, I didn’t have time yesterday to do more than about half of the fridge so this morning I was crazy excited to finish up the fridge, dishwasher, oven, and microwave. It’s an odd feeling when cleaning is exciting! Ha! I even let Hudson play in his oatmeal in his high chair (that was another huge mess in and of itself) so I could get some of the cleaning done before he got down and started trying to “help” me.
Now the biggest problem is this…all the appliances are gorgeous and sparkly but the first time someone lays a finger on them they’re going to get a very obvious smudge. Like, is it super weird that I’d almost prefer the big smudge mess that they were previously because then it didn’t bother me when Hudson (or us for that matter) put his/our hands all over?
(Case in point: I was getting ready to take the “after” picture of the fridge and that little stinker walked up and put his hand right on it so I had to wipe it off before I could take the picture!)
I’m *hoping* that now that I’ve gotten it good and clean that a simple wipe with my Thieves cleaner or Norwex cloths will get the new smudges off and I won’t have to do the whole big scrubbing routine again anytime soon.
Or I could find that it’s a total hassle to keep clean and let it go back to the way it was…you never know! So if you come to visit me there is not telling what they’ll look like.
But for now…at least until nap time is over…they gleam!
Here are a few more before and afters:
Who is going to run and clean their stainless right away after reading this?