Stainless steel is a beautiful material for appliances. They can really make a kitchen pop. Their sleek lines and shiny surfaces just beg for attention. Once they arrive in your kitchen, however, they lose their magazine-like sheen and take on every single fingerprint, dust fragment, and miscellaneous smudge that ever thought of entering your home. Keeping them looking good means taking a lot of time to remove fingerprints.
There is a great deal of advice available on how to remove fingerprints. You can use glass cleaner to remove fingerprints. Also try wetting a chamois or a super soft cloth with warm water, any excess water squeezed out, and just rub with the grain. Then there is this technique; mild soap to clean first to remove fingerprints, dirt, and oil, follow up with a little furniture polish to create a thin layer of wax. This keeps your appliance fingerprint free for about a week. You could also follow up with a clean cloth and apply a very little olive oil for shine and even more fingerprint protection. There are several manufacturers of stainless steel cleaners that are very good at removing fingerprints.
Be aware that some products and techniques may cause your stainless steel to darken or dull over time. Commercial stainless steel cleaners are particularly bad about this as they leave an oily build up each time you use them. Oil will attract dirt and dust which can cause discoloration. If you choose to use any method with oil or wax remember to wash with mild soap and warm water each week before reapplying another oil or wax treatment.
You do want to be careful about what you use to remove fingerprints from stainless steel appliances. Never use bleach, or chloride based cleaners or anything with muric acid. These cleaners can cause your shiny beauties to rust. If you do find a few rust spots on your appliances, do not despair. Try using a little baking soda. Gently scrub with the grain and it should come out. If not, or for severe stains, use a heavy duty rust fighter called oxalic acid. It comes in a powder and you’ll want to read the manufacturer’s instructions for use in case you need gloves or other equipment.
Stainless steel manufacturers are also aware of their fingerprint problems. To help with this, they may put texture on the surface to keep prints from sticking. Some will even use an epoxy seal. An epoxy seal can yellow and peel with age so be sure that you’re careful to follow the manufacturer’s directions for the care of your seal. Removing fingerprints is part of life when you bring a stainless steel appliance home, but it’s not an impossible task.