For the most part, we’d figured out how to clean our home with natural items like baking soda, vinegar, hydrogen peroxide and essential oils.
Easy breezy, right?!
Except for one thing. Cleaning the stainless steel fridge was still a huge pain. We weren’t able to find anything that would clean without leaving streaks. I’d been using plain vinegar or water and just dealing with the streaks, but I knew there had to be a better way.
I did not want to use special “stainless steel cleaner” that is expensive and full of harmful chemicals, so I did some research. There are “safer” cleaners on the market, right?
Well, here’s one example of a stainless steel cleaner, labeled “non-toxic”:
Water (Aqua), Ethoxylated Chloromethane Quaternized (and) Gylcerine (and) Hexylene Glycol (and) Alkylated Benzene (and) Dimethicone (and) Isothiazolinone Chloride (and) Ethoxylated Tridecyl Alcohol (and) Sodium Citrate, Citric Acid
Does that look non-toxic to you?
While it may not be the worst list I’ve ever seen and may not have the side effects of many cleaners and household products on the shelf, it’s still not something I want in my home, on a surface I touch multiple times daily, while preparing food.
And let’s not forget about the environmental consequences of manufacturing these chemicals, the energy that goes into production, the packaging, shipping and costs associated with it sitting on a store shelf.
So, I decided to do what I’ve always done for cleaning solutions. Go to the kitchen cupboards and pantry.
I knew that anything water-based was out. Orange oil is in many stainless steel cleaners, but cleaning with an orange peel wasn’t exactly practical or easy and using pure essential oils isn’t completely inexpensive. So I thought more about that “oil” part and picked up a bottle of pure olive oil.
After rubbing a bit on a rag, and cleaning an inconspicuous place on the fridge, I knew this was the answer!
It left the stainless steel shiny and streak-free! No chemical smells, no special purchases, no extra bottles under the sink. Just a few teaspoons of something I regularly buy and a bit of elbow grease.
How cool is that??
I did find that there are two keys to making this work in the best way:
1. Take your time to really rub the oil into the steel.
This gets it into the little grooves and also removes fingerprints at the same time. I had the best results rubbing WITH the grain of the metal (in this case, vertically) and working in sections.
Explaining it actually takes more time than doing it…it’s about 2-3 minutes tops to do the whole fridge. Apply pretty even pressure, pressing fairly firmly and make sure you’re coating evenly.
2. Buff with a clean towel after using the oil.
Just rub over the surface again with a clean, dry towel to remove any excess oil. This ups the shine factor as a bonus!
That’s it! You’ll have shiny stainless steel on the cheap and without the use of any toxic chemicals in your home. It’s fast and simple to do. I’d bet the kids would even like to try it!
Final note: You do need to use pure olive oil, and not a blend. I hope you’re using pure olive oil in your kitchen anyway, since veggie oils are incredibly bad for your health. Even if you wanted to buy a cheap bottle just for cleaning, aim for pure olive oil!
Have you tried this before? How did it work for you? Leave a comment and let us know!