4 Natural Stainless Steel Appliance Cleansers

A stainless steel sink and oven in a white kitchen with flowers in a blue vase.
  • 0.5-1
  • Beginner
  • 10-20
What You'll Need
Liquid castile soap
Essential oils (optional)
What You'll Need
Liquid castile soap
Essential oils (optional)

My mother has instilled in me many lasting life lessons. Her most recent lesson: “If you don't like to clean, think twice about buying stainless steel appliances.” As I like the cold grey look of shiny metal, the reality of every nuance of touch lasting in the form of a greasy, sad fingerprint greatly swayed my mind about making such investments.

Long ago on my own website (a vegan/natural living blog), I was asked to research natural, earth-friendly appliance cleaners—only to find that the stainless steel look I like so much doesn’t necessarily come clean the way other styles do. This article offers four unique natural stainless steel appliance cleaners that can be made at home and actually do what they should, keeping your appliances fingerprint-free.

1. The Vinegar and Oil Trick

A pair of gloves cleaning a stove with a rag and spray bottle.

This first suggestion is one of the most common though it has an added step which many forget (and that happens to make a tasty salad topping). To wipe off prints from a stainless steel appliance, combine in a plastic spray bottle a mixture of half water and half white vinegar. After shaking the contents lightly, simply spray it on your subject and wipe off with a clean towel.

Now, remember that trick I told you most forget? A dab of olive oil on a microfiber cloth is the perfect conditioner to aid in shine and buff any residue missed from the spray above. Best of all, this recipe involves no harsh chemicals or long-lasting scents.

2. Baking Soda and Water

Baking soda and water with a spoon and glass cup.

Baking soda is a wonderful natural cleanser because of its exfoliating power, matched with only commercial and chemically-based brands. As anyone who has ever tried to get prints off of a steel appliance can attest, they are resilient and sometimes a little extra force is needed to put some shine back into the appliance's appearance after they're gone. Therefore, simply mix two tablespoons of baking soda in a jar and mix it with water until a paste is made (measurements will vary—this may take some trial and error). After rubbing the paste with fingers into the surface, simply wipe off the mixture with warm water and rinse until clean.

3. Club Soda and Salt

A cloth cleaning a stainless steel microwave.

Now, this one doesn’t necessarily fall into the “natural" category, but its inclusion works because of its gentle effectiveness in removing stains from an appliance. Club soda is a clear, water-like substance that has been scientifically altered (the carbon dioxide has been dissolved). For the purposes of cleaning an appliance, it has a great effect without involving the harsh chemicals of a typical store-bought cleanser.

For this DIY, simply mix the club soda with salt so that it forms a liquid-y paste. Though unusual, when wiped over fingerprints with a dry cloth, this concoction quickly removes unsightly stains.

4. Homemade Dish Soap

A yellow glove holding a sponge with bubbles.

Finally, a really wonderful solution to remove prints from stainless steel appliances is standard store-bought dish liquid soap, though it unfortunately isn’t the most pure route one can take. In the spirit of creating natural solutions, I thought to myself, “Why not just make our own natural dish liquid soap?” Therefore, after some trail and error, the following is a winning recipe to clean your dishes as well as your stainless steel appliances.

In a mason jar, mix ½ cup of liquid Castile soap with ½ cup of water. Using an eyedropper, put in 10-12 drops of essential oil in the mixture and mix. Shake well before use!