The look of stainless steel appliances is sleek and chic in any kitchen—but the fingerprint marks left behind on them are not ideal. And while many general household cleaners can remove dirt and grime from stainless steel dishwashers and sinks, they often leave behind unsightly streaks or worse, making previously shiny appliances dull and far from sparkling. That’s where good stainless steel cleaners come in. They’re specifically formulated to get rid of gunk (from hummus-coated fingers, for example) and also polish the surface for that good-as-new look.

To find the best stainless steel cleaners, we tested the effectiveness of several on a variety of stainless steel surfaces, from fridges to cookware to sinks—with special attention to eco-friendly products. Here are the top performers.

Our Favorites

Best Overall: Therapy Stainless Steel Cleaner Kit

Therapy Stainless Steel Cleaner Kit Domino
Shop

Type: Spray | Volume: 16 ounces | Best for: Sinks and appliances

What we like:

  • Smells delightful
  • Comes with a microfiber towel
  • Natural ingredients

Worth noting:

  • Not as powerful on cookware
  • Requires some elbow grease

Why we chose it: The lavender essential oils in this cleaner leave behind a delightful scent in addition to a streak-free shine.

The first thing we noticed while using this cleaner was its pleasant, subtle, totally nonchemical scent thanks to the natural essential oils in its ingredients. The solution does need to be shaken before use, but the spray spritzes in a thick, generous layer, so there’s no need to constantly squeeze the nozzle while cleaning. It also conveniently comes with a microfiber towel that makes cleaning surfaces easier (and more sustainable) compared to using paper towels. Pro tip: Leave the solution on for a few moments before wiping to cut down on the need for elbow grease.

The end result? A polished shine that revived both fridges and sinks to their former glory. The Therapy cleaner isn’t ideal for cleaning cookware, but the effectiveness of the plant-based, USDA-certified bio-based product—which includes coconut oil, making it safe to use around kids and pets—still lands it at the top of our list.

Best Value: Method Stainless Steel Clean and Polish

Method Stainless Steel Clean and Polish Domino
Shop

Type: Spray | Volume: 14 ounces | Best for: Appliances and sinks

What we like:

  • Inexpensive
  • Plant-based
  • Leaves surfaces looking polished

Worth noting:

  • Harder to find
  • Requires multiple wipes

Why we chose it: This plant-based cleaner is on the more affordable end and still gets the job done for a streak-free shine.

Method is more than just soap: In fact, the popular cleaning brand has a whole line of kitchen cleaners, including a stainless steel polish. The formula is both plant-based and cruelty-free, so you can feel good about using it near where you prepare food, and the packaging is almost entirely recyclable (aside from the nozzle). While the product did leave behind a streak-free shine, it took a bit more work to get there—but for the $5 price tag, the extra effort is worth it. Also, take note: This spray can be tricky to track down (at the time of publication, it’s only available via Target).

Best for Appliances: Haus Naturals Stainless Steel Cleaner Spray

HAUS Naturals Stainless Steel Cleaner Spray Domino
Shop

Type: Spray | Volume: 16 ounces | Best for: Sinks and appliances

What we like:

  • Natural ingredients
  • Comes with a microfiber towel
  • Leaves a good shine

Worth noting:

  • Leaves a film behind if not fully buffed
  • Dirty spots require extra scrubbing

Why we chose it: With an included microfiber towel, this cleaning kit makes it easy to buff away fingerprint marks and grime.

This cleaning kit has everything you need to make your stainless steel shine. Made with natural ingredients, the spray comes in an attractive amber bottle and cuts through grease, fingerprints, and dust left behind on metal (though we found that multiple spritzes were needed, as the spray is on the faint side). A pointer: Be sure to buff the surface with the included microfiber cloth to get rid of any lingering film and create a polished shine.

Plus, with every purchase made, the company plants one tree and works with charity partners to provide clean drinking water to those in need.

Best for Cookware: Made In Make It Like New Cleaner

Made In Make It Like New Cleaner Domino
Shop

Type: Powder | Volume: 12 ounces | Best for: Cookware

What we like:

  • Accessible packaging
  • Environmentally safe
  • Removes gas and grease stains

Worth noting:

  • Do not use on cooking surfaces
  • Can take multiple cleanings for deep stains

Why we chose it: Bring some shine back to the bottom of your stainless steel cookware with Made In’s unique formula.

Those brown rings left behind on your cookware from grease and cooking gas don’t stand a chance against Made In’s Make It Like New Cleaner. Simply apply the powdered formula to the bottom of a clean, wet pan and get to scrubbing with a sponge. The directions don’t specifically indicate how long to leave the solution on the pans, but we found that letting it soak in for several minutes before scrubbing made it more effective against stains. The lid of the pretty canister is easy to pop open with one hand, which makes it handy to shake out more powder while you’re mid-clean. 

Though it’s made of environmentally safe ingredients and has a pH lower than a lemon, the brand does not recommend using the cleaner on surfaces you cook on, just on the bottom of pots and pans. Also, if you don’t remove the residue properly, your pans will be left with unfortunate milky marks.

Best Reusable: Filo Stainless Steel Cleaner

Filo Stainless Steel Cleaner Domino
Shop

Type: Tablet | Volume: 17 ounces | Best for: Sinks and appliances

What we like:

  • Reusable bottle
  • Easy to assemble
  • Pretty packaging

Worth noting:

  • Takes a while to dissolve
  • Leaks a bit if not properly closed

Why we chose it: This eco-friendly, reusable option is completely refillable and comes in pretty packaging, too.

Looking for something a little more sustainable for your cleaning routine? Try the Filo Stainless Steel Cleaner, which comes in tablet form; just fill one of the brand’s glass spray bottles (or an empty one you have on hand) with warm water and pop it in. Keep in mind that the tablet takes a while to fully dissolve (close to 30 minutes in our tests), so toss in the tablet well before you plan to clean (or try using hot water if you’re in a hurry). The spray from the nozzle was a little weaker compared to some of the others on this list, but with a good layer of the solution on the stainless surface, it easily removed gunk without leaving behind any film. Once you run out, just order a few more tablets and you can get back to your cleaning game without dealing with recycling or ordering a new bottle.

How We Chose These Products

Before choosing which stainless steel cleaners to test, we looked into any questionable ingredients to avoid, like bleach, and stuck instead to more natural options. (These are the surfaces where you cook, after all.) From there, we looked at the brand reputation and general reception in order to pick the products. We put each of the cleaners to the test on a variety of stainless steel surfaces, including pots, refrigerator doors, and sinks, and then evaluated how effective the cleaning job was and how polished the surface looked afterward.

Our Shopping Checklist

Quality

When looking for a stainless steel cleaner, it’s important to choose one that’s not only effective at cleaning with minimal effort but also at creating a barrier against dust and fingerprints. That way you’ll find yourself cleaning less often—and using less of the cleaner in the process.

Ingredients

When it comes to stainless steel cleaners, natural ingredients—such as coconut oil and essential oils—are ideal because you’ll likely be preparing food in the areas you’re cleaning (like stainless steel appliances). This is especially good to note if you live with children or pets. You should also never use a cleaner containing bleach on stainless steel, as it can be corrosive to metals and strip away at your appliance or cookware.

Packaging

There are two main kinds of stainless steel cleaners—sprays and powders—and which is best depends on your needs. If sustainability is important to you in choosing a cleaning product, look for one that has either a refillable or recyclable option. You’ll also find tablet cleaners that can be dissolved in a reusable bottle.

Use 

The best way to clean stainless steel? Apply the product as directed, then wipe with a microfiber cloth to avoid scratches. When you’re cleaning stainless steel appliances and cookware, you’ll generally need two different cleaning products. The cleaners meant for appliances typically leave a film for a super-polished look, while the ones for cookware tend to target grease and gas marks.

Ask Domino

Q: So what cleaners should you not use on stainless steel?

Any bleach-based cleaner or glass cleaner that contains ammonia should be avoided on stainless steel, as they can corrode the metal. You’ll also want to stay away from harsh abrasives like steel wool, because it can scratch the surface, leaving imperfections.

Q: How do you polish stainless steel?

Most stainless steel cleaners contain some sort of “polish” that will leave your stainless steel looking as shiny as ever. But if you want a bit of extra oomph, you can buff the surface with an oil-based product like mineral oil for added polish.

Q: If I run out of cleaner, how can I make a stainless steel cleaner at home?

You can make a DIY stainless steel cleaner out of undiluted white vinegar, which cuts through grease and is nonabrasive. After spraying it on your desired surface, simply wipe it dry before spraying the same surface with water and wiping it down again. Voilà!

Q: I’ve heard a rumor that cola can clean stainless steel. Is that true? 

Cola has similar qualities to white vinegar. That’s because it’s carbonated, which allows it to dissolve metal oxides and break up rust on a variety of metals and alloys. While it can remove any calcium buildup, it won’t leave that polished look, and you’ll end up rewashing the surface to remove any sticky sugar.

The Last Word

Stainless steel cleaners do double duty, removing grime and restoring the look of the metal surface all at once. Therapy Stainless Steel Cleaner Kit is a great overall natural cleaner that brings out that polished look, but for cookware, we suggest a powdered cleaner like Made In’s Make It Like New Cleaner for easy scrubbing.

Domino’s editors independently curate every product on our site, because we’re just as obsessed with a great deal and an under-the-radar discovery as you are. Items you purchase may earn us an affiliate commission.