How to Clean Stainless Steel Backsplash

Stainless steel backsplashes are popular in modern kitchens thanks to their sleek, contemporary look and easy-to-clean durability. However, like any surface, stainless steel requires regular cleaning to keep it looking pristine and prevent buildup of dirt, grease, fingerprints, and water spots. With the right cleaning techniques and products, keeping your stainless steel backsplash looking like new doesn’t have to be a chore. This comprehensive guide will teach you how to clean stainless steel backsplash properly.

Why Keep Your Stainless Steel Backsplash Clean

Keeping your stainless steel backsplash clean not only maintains its aesthetic appeal but also serves some important functional purposes:

  • Prevents Corrosion: Allowing dirt, debris and minerals from water to accumulate can lead to corrosion and rust over time, damaging the backsplash. Proper cleaning prevents buildup and helps maintain the integrity of the stainless steel.
  • Sanitary Surface: A clean backsplash inhibits the growth of bacteria, mold and mildew. This is especially important behind a stove where food splatter and grease accumulate.
  • Easier Maintenance: More frequent light cleaning is easier than infrequent deep cleaning of heavy soil buildup. Letting messes linger makes them harder to remove.
  • Enhances Lighting: Grease, dirt and fingerprints diminish the reflective properties of stainless steel. A clean, smudge-free surface keeps your kitchen brighter.
  • Improves Appearance: Smudges, spots and spills make any kitchen look dingy. Routine cleaning restores your backsplash to its original pristine shine.

By making stainless steel backsplash cleaning a regular habit, you can enjoy an immaculate, hygienic and great-looking kitchen for years to come.

Cleaning Tools and Supplies

Having the right tools and cleaners on hand makes cleaning easier and more effective. Here are some recommended supplies for stainless steel backsplash cleaning:

Cleaning Tools

  • Microfiber Cloths: Microfiber’s gentle texture lifts and traps dirt without scratching. Dampen to clean and shine.
  • Soft-Bristled Brush: For working into textured areas to loosen cooked-on grime. Nylon or natural bristles are safest.
  • Spray Bottle: For applying cleaners and rinsing. Choose plastic over metal to prevent etching.
  • Squeegee: After rinsing, use a squeegee to whisk away remaining water to prevent water spots.
  • Steel Wool: Superfine 0000 grade steel wool safely scours off stubborn deposits.
  • Razor Blade: Useful for scraping off food splatter and decals. Cover edges with painters tape first.


  • Dish Soap: An economical mild cleaner safe for routine backsplash cleaning. Avoid highly fragranced varieties which can stain.
  • Glass Cleaner: Great for polishing stainless steel to a streak-free shine. Contains mild detergent and alcohol.
  • Stainless Steel Cleaner/Polish: Specialized products tailored for stainless can remove stubborn deposits and restore luster.
  • Baking Soda: A non-abrasive scrubbing powder that cuts grease, boosts cleaning power and won’t scratch.
  • White Vinegar: The acidic properties of vinegar help dissolve mineral deposits and water spots.
  • Rubbing Alcohol: Disinfects and quickly evaporates without streaking. Useful for sanitizing behind the stove.

Cleaning Techniques and Best Practices

Follow these techniques and habits for routinely cleaning and caring for your stainless steel backsplash:

Daily Quick Cleaning

  • Wipe up food splatters, grease, water spots and other messes as they occur with a damp microfiber cloth. This quick daily cleaning prevents buildup and staining.
  • Use a stainless steel polish daily on the most handled/dirtiest areas. This helps maintain luster and makes messes easier to wipe away.
  • If something boils over or spatters on the backsplash, scrape/wipe away while still warm – dried-on food is harder to remove later.

Weekly Maintenance Cleaning

  • Give the entire backsplash a thorough wiping down with an appropriate stainless steel cleaner and microfiber cloth.
  • Pay extra attention to greasy areas behind and around the stove and oven vent. Degrease thoroughly.
  • Check for hard water spots and mineral deposits. Treat these with vinegar or stainless steel cleaner.
  • Shine and buff your backsplash after cleaning for maximum luster. Go with the grain of the brushed finish.
  • A bathroom silicone spray protects stainless steel against fingerprints, water spots and food stains between cleanings.

Deep Cleaning as Needed

  • For stubborn cooked-on grease/food, let a degreasing cleaner soak for 5 minutes then scrub gently with a soft bristle brush.
  • Baking soda boosts cleaning power against tough gunk. Make a paste with water, apply and let sit 15-20 minutes before scrubbing.
  • Foamy oven cleaner can tackle burned-on grime. Test first and avoid metal cleanser pads which can scratch.
  • Try rubbing alcohol or lemon juice for hard water spots. Rub with a microfiber cloth or 0000 steel wool.
  • Go over the entire backsplash with a stainless steel polish or olive oil to renew the luster after heavy-duty cleaning.

Avoiding Damage During Cleaning

Certain cleaning mistakes can damage stainless steel. Keep these tips in mind:

  • Always scrub gently in the direction of the grain – harsh scrubbing can scratch the brushed finish.
  • Don’t use bleach or abrasive cleaners like Comet® or Soft Scrub® which can etch stainless steel.
  • Skip scouring powders/pads, steel brushes and wire sponges which can also scratch.
  • Make sure microfiber cloths have no hidden Velcro strips or staples that could scratch.
  • Immediately rinse and dry if cleaners are left too long. Prolonged contact can discolor or corrode stainless steel.
  • Don’t clean stainless steel while it’s hot – wait for the surface to cool first. Heat amplifies chemical reactions.

With the proper practices, you can keep your stainless steel backsplash spotless without worry of damage.

FAQs About Cleaning Stainless Steel Backsplashes

People who are new to stainless steel backsplashes often have some common questions about keeping them clean. Here are answers to some frequently asked questions:

Can I use glass cleaner on a stainless steel backsplash?

Yes, glass cleaner is usually safe for stainless steel and leaves a nice streak-free shine. Just check the ingredients to make sure it does not contain ammonia or bleach, which can damage stainless.

What is the best stainless steel backsplash cleaner?

Special stainless steel cleaning polish or spray cleaners are ideal because they are designed not to scratch or corrode stainless steel. Dish soap also works well for routine light cleaning.

How do you remove hard water stains from a stainless steel backsplash?

Hard water spots respond well to vinegar, lemon juice, CLR or Bar Keepers Friend cleanser. Let the acidic cleaner sit briefly before gently scrubbing with a microfiber cloth or 0000 steel wool.

What is the easiest way to clean a stainless steel backsplash?

The easiest method is to wipe down daily messes promptly with a damp microfiber cloth. This prevents buildup that requires scrubbing later. A silicone spray also makes cleaning easier.

How can I make stainless steel stay fingerprint-free?

Rubbing the surface with olive oil leaves an invisible protective layer that makes fingerprints less likely to stick and easier to wipe away. Using a stainless steel polish provides similar protection.

How do you deep clean a stainless steel backsplash?

For periodic deep cleaning, use a degreasing cleaner and nylon brush to scrub cooked-on grime, grease and food residue. Baking soda or oven cleaner can tackle really stubborn buildup.

Can stainless steel backsplash go behind a stove?

Yes, stainless steel is durable enough to withstand the heat, splatter and grime from a stove. Be sure to clean frequently and degrease thoroughly, especially around the vent hood.

Regular, thorough stainless steel backsplash cleaning using proper techniques and products will keep it looking bright, unstained and hygienic for years of daily use.

Preventing Damage and Stains

Once your stainless steel backsplash is clean, you’ll want to keep it that way. Here are some tips for preventing damage and stains between cleanings:

  • Use backsplash protectant spray to repel water spots, grease splatter and fingerprints. Apply after each cleaning.
  • Place a clean towel or sponge between hot pans and the backsplash when removing them from the stove or oven.
  • Avoid scraping or banging metal pots, pans or utensils against the stainless steel.
  • Ensure all cleaner residue is rinsed thoroughly – left behind it can corrode or etch the surface.
  • Remove any calcium or limescale deposits from your faucet – these minerals can stain when water evaporates.
  • Immediately wipe up food spills containing acids like tomato sauce or mustards – prolonged contact can discolor stainless steel.
  • Keep vegetable oils away from stainless steel as they can leave residue that leads to staining.
  • Use trivets and hot pads to protect your backsplash from burns and discoloration caused by hot items from the stove, oven or microwave.

With vigilance and proper care, your pristine stainless steel backsplash will stay looking brand new for many years of use.

Summary of Key Cleaning Tips

Here’s a quick recap of some important tips for effectively cleaning your stainless steel backsplash:

  • Wipe up spills and splatters immediately before they have a chance to dry and harden.
  • Use non-abrasive tools like microfiber cloths to avoid scratching the brushed finish.
  • Degrease thoroughly, especially around the stove, range hood and oven.
  • Apply stainless steel polish weekly to help maintain luster and repel marks.
  • Use cleaning products specifically formulated for stainless steel (like sprays and polishes).
  • Gently scrub in the direction of the grain to avoid swirl marks.
  • Rinse away all cleaning residue thoroughly.
  • Refresh shine and luster with olive oil or polish after heavy-duty cleaning.
  • Prevent water spots and streaks by immediately drying after wiping down or rinsing.
  • Protect against scratches, grease splatter and burns with towels, trivets and padding.

With the proper care, your stainless steel backsplash can stay looking bright and beautiful for years beyond its initial install.


A gleaming stainless steel backsplash lends any kitchen an appealing commercial-grade durability and style. While this popular backsplash material is designed to be low-maintenance, it does require regular cleaning and care to live up to its resilient reputation. Following the tips in this guide, any home cook can keep their stainless backsplash spotless between occasional deep cleanings. With the right gentle techniques and cleaning products, removing grime, grease, water spots and fingerprints becomes quick and easy. A little daily and weekly attention goes a long way in maintaining the reflective, corrosion-resistant and hygienic properties that make stainless steel an ideal backsplash surface behind stoves, around sinks and across kitchen walls. Show off a glistening, professional-looking stainless steel backsplash that family and guests will admire for years to come.