There’s a lot to like about black stainless steel, but in order to be completely happy with your investment, you’ll need to brush up on how to clean black stainless steel. Here’s what you need to know to make sure it looks good for years to come.
If you haven’t see it in person, black stainless steel is a bit difficult to describe. First of all, it isn’t really black. Instead, it’s usually a charcoal gray shade that looks more matte and less reflective than traditional stainless steel — though it still has a luster that looks like the deep patina on old metal.
Black stainless steel appliances are made from the same durable metal as traditional stainless ones, but they have a topcoat of black oxide, which adds an additional layer of protection against corrosion. The exact color of the black oxide finish varies among manufacturers, though, so it’s a good idea to see the differences between Kitchen Aid’s deep black, Samsung’s charcoal and LG’s lighter gray finishes before choosing. Because the colors vary, appliances will blend with each other — and with smaller NewAir Black Stainless Steel Appliances sporting the new finish — but they may not match exactly.
How to Clean Black Stainless Steel
One major advantage of choosing black stainless steel appliances is that the coating resists fingerprints far better than classic stainless steel. Its darker color hides surface smudges more easily, too, meaning that you won’t need to wipe down handles and oft-handled parts of your appliances as frequently.
When you do have a spatter or spill, it’s a good idea to clean it up right away, as dried-on grime and other sticky or gritty stains are harder to remove.
How to clean black stainless steel, follow these easy steps:
Soak up wet spills with an absorbent cloth towel or napkin.
Use warm soapy water — no special stainless steel cleaners required — to gently wipe away any remaining residue with a soft cloth.
Buff dry with another soft cloth or microfiber towel to maintain the shine and avoid streaks.
Note: that you should never use steel wool, baking soda or other abrasive cleaners or tools on black stainless steel surfaces, as this can mar the finish or scratch away the decorative coating over time.
Maintaining Black Stainless Steel Appliances
Though you’re unlikely to notice a buildup of fingerprints and other marks from daily use, it’s still a good idea to regularly clean your black stainless to keep it looking its best. To do so, just follow the steps above once a month or so, whether you have a spill or not. The fact that you can’t see dirt as easily on black stainless is a double-edged sword: It’s great for daily living, but it can lull you into thinking your appliances are cleaner than they are! Add a quick wipe down with soap and water to your cleaning routine every few weeks to keep your appliances in like-new condition.
How Not to Clean Your Black Stainless Steel
Because the black finish is a coating that doesn’t penetrate through the metal of your appliances, it’s important not to damage that decorative and protective layer. Avoid the following cleaning products and tools to keep from accidentally killing your kitchen with kindness.
Cleaning Tools to Avoid With Black Stainless Steel
× Steel wool
× Scouring pads
× Paper towels
× Abrasive cloths
Cleaning Products to Avoid With Black Stainless Steel
× Powdered soaps or cleansers
× Baking soda
× Abrasive liquid soaps
× Window cleaner (even non-ammonia formulas)
× Vinegar, lemon and other acids
× Oven cleaner
× Flammable products
Black Stainless Steel Scratch Prevention and Repair
While the black oxide coating on black stainless steel has big advantages when it comes to style and smudge prevention, it can be scratched. When this happens, the silvery traditional stainless steel underneath will show through. Comparative product testing has shown that permanent scratches are possible on all brands of black stainless but that some fare better than others. (Samsung, in particular, gets good marks for durability.)
For most people, the best defense against scratches is a bit of prevention. Keep keys and jewelry out of the kitchen if you’re concerned about accidents, and teach kids good safety practices about carrying forks, knives and scissors point-down. Home improvement experts are confident that basic wear and tear from life with kids shouldn’t scratch black stainless steel, though a diamond ring certainly might.
And if you do scratch your black stainless steel? You may be able to contact the manufacturer for a matching finish and treat the scratch the way you would one on your car: touch up with a matching color and buff to blend the edges. While this will work on some metal, others with a polymer coating could be made worse by any additional friction, so be sure to check with the manufacturer before trying any DIY remedies.
Quick Fix: If your scratch is tiny, you might be able to get away with using a black or gray Sharpie to color over any silver showing through. Sometimes this is enough of a cover-up that the scratch won’t be noticed by people who aren’t looking for it. It’s best to try this technique in an inconspicuous spot first, though.
Learn More about NewAir’s Black Stainless Steel Appliances:
In two different sizes, each black stainless steel wine or beverage cooler makes the perfect complement to any home.