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Consumer Reports: How to keep stainless steel stainless

Posted at 8:19 AM, Dec 19, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-19 10:19:30-05

TUCSON, Ariz. - Why do they call it stainless when the minute you touch it, it gets covered in smudges and fingerprints? You clean and clean but guess what? The product used to get those "stains" off your beloved appliance might cause another blight...rust!

"One thing people don't know is that certain cleaners, especially those that contain bleach, is that it can actually strip away cadmium and other metals that are designed to protect stainless steel," says Consumer Reports Home Editor, Paul Hope.

Here are a few DOs and DON'Ts to keep your stainless...stainless.

"One thing you want to make sure to do is clean your appliances with a mild soap on a soft cloth and always dry them off when you're done," says Hope.

Don't use disinfectants, abrasives, or cleaners that contain bleach, alcohol, ammonia, or chlorides, all of which can harm stainless.

"Do make sure to check the label on any cleaning products you use in your kitchen," says Hope. "Certain things like grout cleaner containing muriatic acid-even the fumes can cause the finish on your stainless sleek to wear down prematurely."

Don't use steel wool or scrub pads. They can scratch the surface.

"Do wipe down your stainless steel appliances occasionally with a stainless cleaner," says Hope.

But don't use a dish rag because it can actually contain food oils and if there's acidic, they can wear away the protective finish.

"Do know what you're buying," says Hope. "Nonmagnetic stainless-steel appliances which contain nickel and that tends to be more rust-resistant."

CR says, if you do have rust on your appliances, you can use equal parts baking soda and water to gently rub and -- voilà -- your stainless is sparkly again.