Stainless steel is a beautiful material, used for appliances, counter tops, and other areas in the home. Its metallic glow and industrial toughness make it ideal for kitchens, where it’s used to accent everything from fridges to kitchen sinks. Unfortunately, the trade off for this much-loved surface is a very visible tendency to pick up fingerprints, streaks, and smudges, which, left unchecked, can ruin shine and make even a clean surface appear dirty. There are a number of sprays and wipes on the market that are made especially for cleaning stainless steel, but some users find these unsuitable and opt for a more eco-friendly (and much less expensive) solution: olive oil.
Why Use Olive Oil?
There are a number of reasons why olive oil is a better choice for polishing stainless steel:
- No harsh chemicals. In households with children or pets, the use of chemical solvents on frequently-touched surfaces isn’t a good idea. Olive oil doesn’t harm the skin – in fact, it’s used in a number of beauty products – and it of course is harmless if ingested or tasted. This is a great way to put a busy parent’s mind at ease.
- Inexpensive. Many pantries already contain olive oil, eliminating the need for a trip to the store and additional expense. Very small bottles can be purchased inexpensively if there is none handy in the home, and there are virtually no other cleaning products that can also be pressed into service when cooking dinner.
- Safety. When it comes to polishing stainless steel appliances that frequently hold food, spraying toxic chemicals across the surface for the sake of a shine is dangerous – they could end up in the food being consumed. Because olive oil is already used in preparing food, there’s no danger in using it on these prep surfaces. The same can’t be said for sprays and wipes, which distribute chemicals that may become airborne when exposed to a hot stove surface or fridge distribution coil.
- Eco-Friendly. Olive oil is naturally derived, and breaks down easily. Chemicals and solvents in cleaners can pollute the groundwater once they’re disposed of and sometimes use propellants that damage the ozone or impact air quality in the immediate area.
How to Use Olive Oil to Polish Stainless Steel
When you’re ready to give your stainless appliances a healthy new glow, Apartment Therapy recommends using a soft cotton cloth to apply the olive oil. They also offer an excellent tip: storing your olive oil in refillable “ketchup” style squeeze bottles will allow you to dispense just the right amount during cooking or cleaning. Once you’ve taken about five minutes to firmly rub in the oil – use about a half teaspoon for every few feet of steel surface, add more if necessary – Real Simple magazine recommends a follow up with a dry paper towel to add a beautiful shine.
This method of polishing will keep fingerprints and smudges at bay for quite awhile, and will also bring out the inherent beauty in your stainless steel appliances – but don’t stop there! Use olive oil to protect serving bowls and other stainless pieces, though you should not use it on the exterior of pots to prevent a potential fire hazard. Once you see what olive oil can do in the kitchen, you’ll likely toss that spray cleanser once and for all!
The writer of this article, Nicole, has been writing about house cleaning. She recommends Able Electropolishing as a great polishing company.