How to Clean Hard Water Stains on Stainless Steel Refrigerator

A kitchen can take on a sleek, modern look with stainless steel appliances. That look comes with a few downsides, one of which is regular maintenance. Stainless steel surfaces are notorious for showing the smallest dust particles, fingerprints, and water stains.

Skip a few days of wiping and you will have to put some extra elbow grease in to make it shine again. With the right knowledge, you will be able to get some excellent results without too much effort. Find out how to keep your stainless steel appliances in perfect condition.

Where to Start

Stainless steel appliances are generally straightforward to clean and maintain, but you have to do it often. You don't need any cleaning solutions or expensive chemicals, a wet microfiber cloth will do just fine.

The more stubborn stains will require a little extra effort. Even so, household ingredients like baking soda, vinegar, and rubbing alcohol are enough to do an excellent job.

Knowing what to use to get the best results is one thing, but knowing what to avoid is just as important. Sponges, abrasive cleaners, and other rough materials will scratch the flawless stainless steel finish, which you’ll want to avoid.

Rubbing oil over the surface works, but it's flammable so you should be very careful. Let's take a look at some mixes that will make your stainless steel refrigerator look like brand new.

Daily Cleaning

It's always a good idea to wipe down your stainless steel appliances once a day. You just need a wet microfiber cloth and all water spots, fingerprints, and other stains will come right off.

Wipe the surfaces with a dry cloth to remove any moisture to prevent the formation of new water spots. If you want to go an extra mile, get a polishing rag and make your appliances shine.

Dish soap will be more than helpful for the most stubborn grime and oily spots. But make sure that it doesn't have any chlorine in it because it could cause damage to the shiny finish. Dry the surface when you are done with the scrubbing, and that's it.

Now, if you have some extra tough stains or if you're a little behind with the regular maintenance, you will need a different approach.

How to Clean Hard Water Stains on Stainless Steel Refrigerator

White Vinegar and Olive Oil

Everyone has some white vinegar and olive oil in their kitchen arsenal. Surprisingly enough, the combination of the two is able to provide your appliances with a spotless, shiny stainless steel. Get some vinegar and spray it onto your fridge, dishwasher, and other appliances. You can also apply it to a microfiber cloth and wipe down the surfaces.

Wait a few minutes for the vinegar to loosen the stains and then wipe it down again. Keep doing that until the toughest stains are removed. Finally, pour some olive oil over a towel and polish the surfaces following the direction of the grain. Wipe down any excess oil and your appliances will shine like never before.

Vinegar and Baking Soda

Baking soda is very versatile as a cleaning solution for its ability to absorb everything around it. You can pair it with white vinegar to remove the hardest stains without breaking a sweat. Soak a rag or a cloth in some white vinegar and leave it to sit on the stain.

Add some baking soda after a few minutes and scrub the spot gently until it disappears. Then just wipe down the entire surface with a dry cloth and you're done.

Glass Cleaner

Fingerprints can drive some people mad, especially on the refrigerator where everyone touches the door. But any standard glass cleaner will be enough to help you remove fingerprints with just one swipe.

Spray some cleaner over the doors and wipe them down with a microfiber cloth in a circular motion. Use a dry towel to give it that shiny finish.


Not many people are aware that WD-40 does a great job of cleaning stainless steel. A few sprays on the surface in question and the toughest grime will come off without any resistance. You will also get a shiny finish at the same time.

The extra layer of WD-40 will also keep your refrigerator safe from fingerprints for some time. Just don't overdo it to prevent your fridge from looking like a Mr. Universe contestant.

Commercial Stainless Steel Cleaners

If your fridge or other stainless steel appliance has some scratching or deep staining, a commercial cleaner can help you access the damage. They may be a bit pricey, but they are designed to polish those scratches out and remove all stains entirely. One cleaning session will grant you weeks of shine.

A Swipe a Day Keeps the Smudges Away

Stainless steel appliances are very stylish, but they get dirty quickly. That's why you should get a microfiber cloth and keep it close by for a quick swipe every day. Doing that will minimize scratching, and your fridge will stay shiny and fingerprint-free on a daily basis.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 1 comments
Bonnie H Lukacs -

I moved into a condo with 4-year-old stainless steel appliances. The refrigerator has water drips which I cannot remove. We have hard water and they may be mineral deposits. How can I remove these ugly stains?


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