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Use Olive Oil to Remove Streaks from Stainless Steel

I am both lucky and unlucky in the fact that I come from a long line of housekeepers. It comes in handy when I get an impossible stain and have about 12 people I can call to get a miracle hack to solve the problem: Douse it with peroxide! Just add some salt and ice! Put a little pickle juice on it! The situation is less fortunate when one of these women — mainly my mom — comes to my house and asks why there is a speck on the windowsill that she can see from 15 paces away. But overall, the perks outweigh the grievances, and I am now well-stocked with old-school tips on how to clean smarter and not harder.

One of my all-time favorite cleaning shortcuts is the one passed down from my grandmother on how to tackle stainless steel. The only way to go is to use olive oil, something I learned the hard way.

I was at my wit’s end for a long time with my stainless steel appliances. I’d wash them carefully each week with a vinegar spray, and then would try to buff out the streaks with a microfiber cloth. But there would always be lines. I tried everything: glass cleaner; a drop of dish soap on a microfiber cloth; distilled white vinegar buffed in the direction of the grain. And nothing.

I was about to buy stainless steel wipes and call it a day, when my grandma intervened before I added yet another expense to my shopping list. “Just use olive oil,” she said with a shrug.

She explained that once you wipe down your appliances, simply dribble some olive oil onto a cloth, and wipe it across the steel. All the streaks, smudges, and watermarks instantly disappear, with minimal buffing required. That’s because the oil leaves a protective film over the steel, protecting it from smudges. You’re left with a lovely sheen – and you won’t have to buy any extra cleaning products! It’s a win-win.

Have you always struggled with polishing your own stainless steel items? Try this tip and see if it solves your problem.

Marlen Komar


Marlen is a writer first, vintage hoarder second, and donut fiend third. If you have a passion for finding the best taco joints in Chicago or want to talk about Doris Day movies, then she thinks an afternoon coffee date is in order.

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