Keeping stainless steel appliances clean

LOS ANGELES Stainless steel appliances appear to be indestructible, but little fingers can leave them looking like a mess with smudges of food, sodas, and plain old fingerprints. But in a recent test of six different stainless steel cleaners, some do a good job.

Gabrielle Goodman says she chose stainless-steel appliances for her new kitchen because she really likes their modern, yet classic look. But she says she wishes they weren't so high maintenance.

"They're beautiful to look at, but in certain light you're going to see every little smudge and every little fingerprint," said Goodman. "It's always wiping and cleaning."

Consumer Reports, publisher of ShopSmart magazine, tested six stainless-steel cleaners that promise to clean, shine, and protect. Testers looked at a variety of cleaners, including wipes and some that spray.

When it comes to smudgy fingerprints, the tests showed all the cleaners do a good job removing them. But beware of claims to prevent fingerprints. None of the cleaners could do that.

Testers also put dollops of foods like peanut butter and raspberry jelly on stainless-steel samples. They also used condiments like ketchup and mustard. The stains sat for at least 24 hours. Then testers rinsed the samples, cleaned them following the manufacturers' instructions, and sized up how well the cleaners removed stains.

"Overall, all six cleaners were very effective, except when it came to mustard. They all seemed to leave some mustard stain behind on the surface," said Mark Connelly of Consumer Reports.

So be sure to wipe up any mustard spills quickly.

When testers assessed which cleaner delivered a streak-free, film-free shine, Consumer Reports found the Weiman Stainless Steel Cleaner & Polish stood out, making good on its promise that it "will not streak." It costs around $9 and is sold at stores like True Value, Ace, and Wal-Mart.

For more information:

Weiman Web site: Stainless Steel Cleaner & Polish

Weiman Web site: Stainless Steel Wipes


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