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No matter the style of a homeowner's kitchen, be it modern, traditional or farmhouse, stainless steel appliances can add a pop of shine and a touch of class. Proponents of stainless steel appliances note their easy maintenance, stylish look and durability. Plus, the neutral tone of stainless steel helps it blend in with just about any color palette. 

Stainless steel is lauded for its strength and resistance to corrosion and rust. These attributes make it a popular choice in kitchens, where moisture is an issue. Although they are certainly durable choices, stainless steel appliances require maintenance to keep them looking and performing at their best. Considering that stainless steel also costs more than other finish options, taking the time to learn proper care can help protect homeowners' investments.

  • Avoid chlorine bleach or other products containing chloride. Although stainless steel is highly resistant to corrosion, it is not completely impervious. Chlorine products can damage the surface of stainless steel appliances and stain them if the chlorine is left to sit.
  • Do not use metal scourers or coarse abrasives on the stainless steel because such products may scratch the steel. Steel wool pads can leave behind a residue of small metal particles that may eventually rust.
  • Baking soda mixed with a little dish soap can be used to remove some tough dirt and stains. Rinse well and towel dry to avoid streaking.
  • Clean and wipe the steel in the direction of the "grain." Usually this means working from the top of the appliance and moving down toward the floor.
  • Consult with the owner's manual before undertaking any maintenance or cleaning. The appliance may have a special coating over the stainless steel to help protect it, and it's best to know what you're dealing with before getting your hands dirty.
  • If you will be trying a cleaning product or scouring method, always test it first in an inconspicuous spot to see if it is effective or harmful.
  • Julien, a leader in commercial kitchen equipment, recommends applying cleansers with a soft cloth or sponge. Then wipe dry with a soft, clean cloth or allow to air dry.

Stainless steel remains a popular material in kitchens for sinks and appliances. With care, stainless steel can look like new for years to come.