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  • Lauren Smith

How to Clean Stainless Steel Appliances

Stainless steel fridges, dishwashers and ovens arrive at your house with a pristine gleam that feels like it will stand the test of time. But you know better: Eventually the appliances will lose their luster thanks to grubby fingers, water drips and messy accidents. Depending on what you have on-hand, you can use any of these three methods to eliminate smudges.

1. Speciality cleaner

In our tests in the Good Housekeeping Institute, the Magic Stainless Steel Magic Cleaner ($20 for a 2-pack, came out on top, quickly cleaning oily messes and even making new fingerprints less visible. If you prefer your cleaner in wipe form, Good Housekeeping Seal holder Weiman Stainless Steel Wipes ($4, make cleaning up quick and easy.

2. Dish soap

Start by mixing a solution of 1 teaspoon dish detergent and 1 quart hot tap water (wear glovesto protect your hands from the heat). Using a microfiber cloth, rub the detergent solution onto the marks in small sections (it will take a little elbow grease), going with the grain. Rinse with clean hot water only, and dry immediately with a clean cloth.

3. Mineral oil

"In a pinch, mineral oil can be used to erase fingerprints," says Carolyn Forte, director of the Good Housekeeping Institute Cleaning Lab. "After cleaning, apply a very light coating and buff well. You want to avoid any buildup that will make the appliance tacky and attract more dirt." But whatever you do, don't use any food-based oil (like vegetable oil or olive oil) as a shortcut for this trick. "Olive or other oils can turn rancid," says Forte.

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