DIY Stainless Steel Cleaners to Keep Appliances Fingerprint-Free

Try these affordable and environmentally-friendly ways to keep your stainless steel fridge fingerprint-free.

Published March 2, 2023
woman wiping down a stainless steel fridge

Everyone hates smears and fingerprints on the fridge, but you don't need expensive commercial cleaners to get your stainless sparkling. In fact, there are several DIY stainless steel cleaner recipes that work super well and cost a fraction of the expensive products. Homemade cleaners can also be less harmful to the environment - both in your home and in general. Try these simple methods for getting a streak-free finish on your stainless steel appliances.

DIY Stainless Cleaner With Dish Soap

A gentle dish soap, such as Dawn, makes a great starting point for a homemade cleaner. Adding a little oil to the process helps add shine and protect the finish too.

Things You'll Need

Grab a few simple tools and supplies to get started:

  • Distilled water
  • Small amount of dish soap
  • Three lint-free cloths
  • Baby oil
Helpful Hack

Use distilled water when cleaning stainless steel because hard water from the tap can actually cause spotting and streaks.


  1. Mix the distilled water and a little dish soap and use a lint-free cloth to wash the appliance. The dish soap helps remove any grease or sticky fingerprints.
  2. Rinse the cloth in the sink and use clear distilled water to rinse the soap off the appliance.
  3. Dry it with another lint-free cloth.
  4. Put a few drops of baby oil on the third cloth and use that to polish the surface. Go with the grain of the stainless steel to get the best results.

Club Soda Stainless Steel Cleaner

Another option to DIY clean stainless steel is club soda. Next time you're mixing up a mojito, pour a little club soda for the fridge (or the dishwasher).

Things You'll Need

You don't need much for this simple, environmentally friendly cleaner:

  • Club soda
  • Empty spray bottle
  • Lint-free cloth


  1. Fill the spray bottle with club soda.
  2. Spray the club soda on the stainless steel.
  3. Immediately wipe it away with the cloth, working in the same direction as the grain of the metal.

Homemade Stainless Steel Cleaner With Isopropyl Alcohol

wiping stainless steel cooktop

If you want to clean your stainless the DIY way and kill germs at the same time, you can't beat isopropyl alcohol. This is a good choice for flu and cold season of if you're worried about sanitizing high-touch surfaces like appliance handles. It also evaporates quickly, which means it doesn't leave streaks.

Things You'll Need

Grab a few simple ingredients and go to town on the smudges (and the germs too):

  • Distilled water
  • Isopropyl alcohol (70% solution)
  • Mineral oil or essential oil
  • Spray bottle
  • Two clean lint-free cloths


  1. Make a 50/50 mix of the isopropyl alcohol and the distilled water (half a cup of each is a good place to start). Put the mixture in the spray bottle.
  2. Spray the surface of the stainless steel appliance and wipe clean with a lint-free cloth.
  3. Add a few drops of mineral oil or essential oil to a second cloth and polish the stainless, working with the grain.

What About Vinegar as a Stainless Steel Appliance Cleaner?

Despite what you may read in some recipes, step away from the vinegar. Consumer Reports cautions against the vinegar method, revealing that vinegar can damage stainless steel. The acid can cause corrosion of the metal, especially with lower grade stainless used in some appliances. The same goes for other acidic methods, such as lemon juice or apple cider vinegar.

Need to Know

While we're at it, let's add a few other things to the list of what NOT to use on your stainless appliances:

  • Baking soda
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Steel wool
  • Bleach
  • Salt products

DIY Cleaning Methods Work

When it comes to stainless steel cleaner, DIY options can be a great alternative to commercial chemical products. Add these simple stainless cleaning methods into your normal kitchen cleaning routine to keep your appliances looking beautiful.

DIY Stainless Steel Cleaners to Keep Appliances Fingerprint-Free