Butler Emeritus Chris Allen is here to explain why you should use a pH-neutral cleaner on your stainless steel surfaces, and what you should do to avoid causing permanent damage. Happy cleaning!
With a lot of visitors walking through your kitchen, you might find yourself always wiping away fingerprints from stainless steel. That was precisely what I found in the Hampton Designer Showhouse kitchen - a lot of fingerprints! People have a subconscious love for anything shiny, and that's why your refrigerator or other stainless steel appliances will often not look their best. People touch them and leave behind fingerprints, which in turn attract grease and particles in the air. Worry not, however. Just as easy as it is to get dirty, stainless steel responds quickly to even the most basic cleaning. What you do need to be concerned about is cleaning your stainless steel with anything that could cause damage. Always clean these surfaces with a pH-neutral cleaner. Stainless steel is easily dulled by cleaners that are too alkaline, or that contain bleach. Doing so will not only keep your stainless steel looking good, but will prevent any potential damage to surfaces commonly found around stainless steel, such as marble or granite. Be sure not to use a brush or any type of cloth that could scratch the surface. Avoid scouring powders or any other cleaner that can scrape grooves into stainless steel. These grooves quickly fill with fats and oils from fingerprints and from being around the cooking process, and they can therefore act like a glue in binding together any dust or particulate matter floating around your kitchen. What started as a small cleaning task can suddenly become an impossible chore. Do no harm as you clean, and your job will be both satisfying and easy. Happy cleaning!