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Over the years I’ve been asked several times if I have a homemade cleaner for stainless steel and I always answered “no” because for years I had no stainless steel appliances. But after we finally made a move to a condo a few months ago, I’m now the proud owner of stainless steel appliances I’m trying to keep clean. It didn’t take long for me to discover that stainless steel fridge doors with water dispensers have a way of always looking dirty because it’s so easy for water drips to happen, and a quick wipe with a towel just makes things streaky. However I think I’ve found a good DIY frugal solution to clean a stainless steel fridge naturally – coconut oil!
My Home Remedy for Cleaning Stainless Steel
The main issue when it comes to a clean stainless steel refrigerator door is how to accomplish that with no streaks. So many of my attempts to clean the water drips from my door ended up with my door looking like the photo below. If the light hit it just the right way it looked terrible!
I had heard in the past that baby oil could be a possible DIY cleaner for stainless steel, but when I also came across an idea that said coconut oil could work, I decided to give that a try. I almost always have coconut oil around the house and I liked that coconut oil is firm at most room temperatures so it’s easier to work with and not as messy as baby oil too. I usually buy my coconut oil at Aldi but you can easily buy coconut oil like this online too.
The first step for me to clean my stainless steel refrigerator water stains was to put a little bit of the coconut oil in a small bowl. I then took a piece of paper towel and mashed some of the coconut oil onto the paper towel.
Next I rubbed the coconut oil onto the stainless steel in the area I wanted to clean. At this point things are still looking kind of messy. But in the next step you’ll take care of that!
To clean the coconut oil off the refrigerator you’ll want to use some kind of a soft cloth. A microfiber cloth is a good choice for this portion of the cleaning. I was pleasantly surprised in this step to see that the stainless steel refrigerator was indeed looking clean and polished with no streaks!
I did find that it was easiest to work in small areas on the refrigerator at a time rather than doing everything all at once. So I continued on in this way, applying some coconut oil with a piece of paper towel, and then buffing it clean with my cloth, until all areas of my refrigerator door were cleaned to my satisfaction. They looked so much better and I didn’t need to buy any fancy store bought cleaner to get the job done either!
Another thing I noticed was that not only did the stainless steel doors look much cleaner, they also felt much cleaner. They felt so smooth and polished. Very nice indeed!
So now that my stainless steel fridge doors were looking so fabulously cleaned, suddenly it seemed much more obvious to me that the water drip tray in the door had some dirty spots on it too. So here’s your bonus idea for that!
Bonus: Cleaning the Refrigerator Water Drip Tray with Vinegar
The water dispensers in refrigerator doors have removable drip trays in them that help with catching some of the water spills (although many of the drips still manage to make it down the door anyway!)
But if left for too long, those water spills can leave white, mineralized spots on your drip tray and those need cleaning away too. But all it takes to get that job done is a little bit of white vinegar.
My frugal home remedy for getting this job done was to pull the drip tray out of the door, then I filled the indentations with white vinegar and let it soak for about an hour. Then I emptied out the vinegar, gave the tray a quick wash with soap and water, and it was looking just fine and dandy to insert back into the door again.
Save Money and Try Coconut Oil on your Stainless Steel!
So before you rush out to the store to buy a fancy cleaner for your stainless steel refrigerator doors, you might just want to walk over to your pantry and give a jar of coconut oil a try instead. It seems to both clean and polish, and will leave your doors looking great and feeling smooth with no streaks. And although I have not tried this on other things yet, I would suspect it can work just as well on sinks or stoves too. It can be a very simple way for you to make your own stainless steel cleaner!
How To Clean Stainless Steel with Coconut Oil
- Paper Toweling
- Soft Cloth or Microfiber Cloth
- Small amount of coconut oil
- Rub some coconut oil onto the stainless steel that you wish to clean using a piece of paper toweling.
- Then using a soft cloth or a microfiber cloth, wipe away the coconut oil and buff the stainless steel clean.
- I had very good success with this method, but if you have any concerns about trying this, start with a small inconspicuous section first to test it out.