How to Clean Rust Off Stainless Steel Appliances

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Aside from giving your kitchen a sleek, modern look, one of the many benefits of having stainless steel appliances is their ability to stay mostly “stainless.” If your appliances are showing any signs of rust, don’t fret! We have a few friendly cleaning solutions to help you remove the rust and keep your suite looking sweet.

First up, we have bad news and good news. The bad news: If your stainless steel appliances have rust spots, it’s most likely due to damage of the chromium oxide layer. This layer is what protects stainless steel from staining and rusting. The good news: The rust is only at surface level and can be cleaned off. Plus, this layer can repair itself with a little care!

So how did this special, protective layer get damaged in the first place? The usual suspects are any harsh cleaners that contain chlorides like fluorine, chlorine, bromine and iodine, as well as cleaners that contain alcohol or ammonia.

For everyday cleaning, your stainless steel appliances don’t require any heavy-duty products or solutions. When dealing with regular messes such as dust, dirt and fingerprints, all you need is a mild-soap-and-warm-water solution to do the trick.

Below are a few cleaning solution options that are mostly eco-friendly and can be made right at home with ingredients you already own. Remember, to avoid damaging, scratching or creating extra rust on your appliances, don’t use any steel wool or steel brushes!

Solutions to Help You Clean Off Rust

Baking Soda and Water: Combine equal parts baking soda and water, and use a soft rag or soft sponge to rub the rust off. Once the rust is cleaned off, rinse with clean water and a new soft rag.

Vinegar: Pour a generous amount of vinegar onto a soft rag or soft sponge, and the stain should lift instantly with a little elbow grease.

Lemon Juice and Baking Soda: Combine equal parts lemon juice and baking soda to create a paste and then scrub with a damp, soft sponge. For tougher rust or stains, leave the paste on for 15–30 minutes and then wipe clean with water.

Pre-Made Solutions: If you use a store-bought solution like Bar Keepers Friend®, use only the liquid cleanser.

For all solutions, be sure to rub in the direction of the metal grain lines to avoid any scratches or patterns. For added protection, once the solutions are rinsed off with clean water, apply a stainless steel cleaner.  

Have any tips of your own? Tell us in the comments below.

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