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Why I hate stainless-steel appliances


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#1 Fat Guy

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Posted 04 May 2011 - 04:28 AM

For many years my fantasy, like that of countless home cooks, has been to have a kitchen full of stainless-steel appliances. Now I do, and I'm miserable. Stainless sucks. It takes fingerprints and marks up if you look at it funny. I feel like all I do is clean it. And it's not magnetic. No place to affix a kitchen timer, no less photos of or art projects by our son.

Is there any good argument for stainless? And is there any way to care for it that won't ruin me?

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#2 Mjx

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Posted 04 May 2011 - 04:40 AM

Well, it's inert, but that doesn't matter so much if you're not talking about cookware. It ages pretty well, if you discount the fact that it gets mucked up pretty easily. If you can manage to, I recommend not thinking about it too much, as long as it's essentially clean (i.e. reasonably sanitary)

I've heard of several cleaning products that keep stainless looking nice, IFF you keep on top of it. I spiral into obsessive behaviour very easily, so I've taught myself to not think about finger marks and so on, and to accept the fact that the stainless surfaces in the kitchen often look as though an unsupervised three-year-old went amok in it.

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#3 HungryC

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Posted 04 May 2011 - 04:55 AM

I agree wholeheartedly....stainless sucks. I have a stainless sink, and it's a pain in the ass. Always looks terrible, unless you've just scrubbed, dried, & polished it. My next kitchen will have a porcelain sink and WHITE appliances with "no fingerprint" finishes.

#4 Chris Amirault

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Posted 04 May 2011 - 05:26 AM

No argument here. We keep a roll of tape atop the fridge for the kiddos' artworks.

I'll add another gripe: it seems to dent really easily, probably because the stainless steel veneer is not very thick. Within a week of delivery, our fridge got a dent that's been there for years.
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#5 JBailey

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Posted 04 May 2011 - 05:53 AM

There are multiple products for stainless cleaning (as well as other products for granite and marble) at well-stocked hardware stores, Bed, Bath and Beyond, sometimes Costco and places like Lowes and Home Depot, plus regular discount and department stores. Your alternative was buying enamelled appliances which evokes one look or stainless that gives a different impression. The stainless does not improve performance of your appliances. There are different grades of stainless steel, some magnetic. You have seen the numberous pots and pans that are made with magnetic qualities for induction use.

I imagine the reason stainless is used in restaurant applications is that it can be cleaned easily and stainless steel will pass government safety standards. They probably don't worry about fingerprints or pictures.
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#6 gfweb

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Posted 04 May 2011 - 05:57 AM

Agreed. But at least it is a timeless color. It will never go the way of mustard or avocado colored appliances.

#7 jmolinari

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Posted 04 May 2011 - 06:11 AM

just dont look at it too much or you'll put scratches in the brushed finish....
i agree..stainless is not a good surface, especially for stovetops.

Our fridge is "titanium" which looks like stainless but doesn't show fingerprints and is magnetic. I do realize it's not titanium.

#8 Marlene

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Posted 04 May 2011 - 06:26 AM

I must be the only one who loves my stainless. I just don't worry about it that much. I wipe them down and forget about it. Generally, they look pretty good but I don't spend a lot of time polishing them or anything.
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#9 Moopheus

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Posted 04 May 2011 - 07:22 AM

I imagine the reason stainless is used in restaurant applications is that it can be cleaned easily and stainless steel will pass government safety standards. They probably don't worry about fingerprints or pictures.


And part of the way it was sold to consumers was that it looked professional, starting with the high-end home versions of restaurant ovens. Then the look was applied to everything regardless of actual quality of the innards. Ever watch those house-buying shows on HGTV? Practically every time, they coo over the stainless like you'd be an idiot to want anything else. Oddly, it seems to me, stainless countertops, which might have more practical value, were largely displaced by solid surfaces. Personally, I would like to see more color choices returning to the appliance market. I realize that your choice could look dated after a while, but having everything be white, black, or steel is boring. At least a few makers seem to be moving in that direction.
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#10 Dianabanana

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Posted 04 May 2011 - 07:27 AM

Yes, I hate it and never would have gotten it except that the range I wanted only comes in stainless. I keep my kitchen towels draped over the handle, so that every time I wash my hands and go to dry them, little droplets of water hit the stainless, and every one makes a little spatter mark on it which can only be removed with Barkeeper's Friend.

#11 Shelby

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Posted 04 May 2011 - 07:47 AM

No argument here. We keep a roll of tape atop the fridge for the kiddos' artworks.

I'll add another gripe: it seems to dent really easily, probably because the stainless steel veneer is not very thick. Within a week of delivery, our fridge got a dent that's been there for years.



I have two dents in mine already and I have NO idea how it happened.

That being said, I still like how stainless looks. There are only two of us here, so I really don't notice a ton of fingerprints. I have a polish that you rub on with a paper towel that really shines everything up, but I only do that if I have to have a dinner here.

#12 Mark Muller

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Posted 04 May 2011 - 07:52 AM

Thankfully I have never had stainless appliances. When in the planning of a kitchen redo, we parted ways with an architect partly because she nearly insisted we either replace our brand new black refrigerator and stove with stainless ones, or at least put some stainless panels over them. We bought black appliances partly because in our existing kitchen the side of both the stove and refrigerator are exposed, and on most of the "affordable" stainless appliances, only the fronts are stainless - the sides are black.

#13 Pam R

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Posted 04 May 2011 - 08:03 AM

I love the look of stainless and just bought all stainless appliances -- but the ones I bought have a 'protective coating' of some sort. At the store I tried my best to get a fingerprint on it but nothing took. The magnet issue is annoying, but I think I'll just put some cork-board somewhere in the kitchen.

#14 ermintrude

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Posted 04 May 2011 - 08:29 AM

To avoid fingerprints clean your steel then spray lightly with WD 40 and wipe off with a cloth it will look better for much longer.

Nothing you can do about it being non magnetic
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#15 ScoopKW

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Posted 04 May 2011 - 08:31 AM

For stubborn stains, Powdered Brewery Wash was designed specifically for cleaning stainless. Works best as a soak/circulating cleaner, but is also effective when scrubbing, so long as the temperature is around 120f.

You can find it online or at any homebrewing store.
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#16 KitchenMom

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Posted 04 May 2011 - 08:33 AM

I love my stainless too. We've had it about 5 years, no dents and no scratches so far. After the first month, I stopped obsessing about fingerprints. I don't clean it obsessively, just wipe it down every few days (w/a mix of vinegar and water--my all-purpose surface cleaner of choice) and maybe once a month go over it with Bar Keeper's Friend or some other stainless cleaner. It looks fine to me most of the time, unless the kids have been particularly grubby. We just hang the kids' artwork elsewhere in the house.

#17 andiesenji

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Posted 04 May 2011 - 08:34 AM

I must be the only one who loves my stainless. I just don't worry about it that much. I wipe them down and forget about it. Generally, they look pretty good but I don't spend a lot of time polishing them or anything.



I love my stainless. Daily I use the wipes that are made for cleaning stainless with a follow up with a dry soft towel.
I have previously had black and it was a whole lot worse at attracting and holding fingerprints.
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#18 dougal

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Posted 04 May 2011 - 08:57 AM

I appreciate functional stainless steel.

I dislike its use as decorative trim to boost "added value" (and thus price).



Advanced corrosion has had me shopping for a replacement gas barbecue (garden grill). Lots of those are "stainless steel" - but sadly its principally used for trim rather than structurally or for the not-on-show firebox ... I don't want something that looks like a gleaming range out in the garden, but I'd like something that didn't require much maintenance to ensure durability.
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#19 runwestierun

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Posted 04 May 2011 - 09:02 AM

I dislike stainless for a reason I don't think has been mentioned here: it's gray. I live in Oregon, it rains constantly here. It's gray outside, why would I want it to be gray inside? My perception is that stainless is dreary.

#20 tirgoddess

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Posted 04 May 2011 - 09:10 AM

Love my stainless, it subtly reflects light and breaks up the white cabinetry. I buff it with olive oil as I do with my honed black granite counter tops. I have a stainless fridge, range, and microwave, my dishwasher is cabinet finished. Agree about the stainless sinks, didn't like the echo nor the dull finish over years of use, went with white enamel. My kitchen is sorta 1940's aesthetic, but the stainless gives it a "modern" touch....

#21 budrichard

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Posted 04 May 2011 - 09:13 AM

Our Viking and exhaust hood are stainless as well as the Franke Manor House sink and Kitchenaid Pro appliances and fridge, all the rest is John Boos end or edge grain real wood.
I know the Franke is made of commercial gauge stainless and has not a single dent in it and that's with using Falk copper pots and pans that will smash fingers if not careful. I suspect the Viking is also of a higher gauge stainless than most home ranges. It and its hood are simply brute's.
The stainless must be cleaned and polished periodically as well as the wood sanded and refinished. None of its looks like an advertisement for a magazine but its used for food prep and cooking, not to look at.
I marvel at how many individuals expect their kitchens to look like the day they first used them with no wear or upkeep. It just doesn't happen.-Dick

Edited by budrichard, 04 May 2011 - 09:14 AM.


#22 Darienne

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Posted 04 May 2011 - 10:27 AM

And part of the way it was sold to consumers was that it looked professional, starting with the high-end home versions of restaurant ovens. Then the look was applied to everything regardless of actual quality of the innards. Ever watch those house-buying shows on HGTV? Practically every time, they coo over the stainless like you'd be an idiot to want anything else. Oddly, it seems to me, stainless countertops, which might have more practical value, were largely displaced by solid surfaces. Personally, I would like to see more color choices returning to the appliance market. I realize that your choice could look dated after a while, but having everything be white, black, or steel is boring. At least a few makers seem to be moving in that direction.

Just caught up with this topic. We don't have stainless appliances but we do have stainless lidded garbage cans all over the house now...puppy with raccoon instincts...and I have to clean the smudges more often than I would choose.

As for white appliances being boring. White never dates. And it's very versatile. Our kitchen walls have always been white also. But that's where the white stops. I have added color accents which shine out in a white kitchen. You can change these whenever it hits you to do so. (Same with bathrooms.)
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#23 tim

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Posted 04 May 2011 - 11:19 AM

Stainless sucks. It takes fingerprints and marks up if you look at it funny. I feel like all I do is clean it.

Hi,

The answer is mineral oil spray. Stainless Steel Magic will take your spotted surface and make it look great for weeks. We have to clean about once every 60 days and it only takes seconds to do a touch up. We have been using the same aerosol can for 5 years.

Tim

#24 OliverB

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Posted 04 May 2011 - 01:48 PM

you could paint it with magnetic paint :laugh:

Aren't newer appliances coated with something that repels fingerprints? I'd be more worried about dents, they would bother me no end. I want stainless steel counters, but I think those are made of thicker steel and won't dent that easy. And they are work surfaces, so....

but yes, I see them as something that looks great but takes too much work to keep looking that way, like most stone counters. I will not ever install something I have to oil, finish, polish, or treat in any which way other than moist sponge and soapy water. There's a reason I don't own a fancy painted car, I went with silver so the dirt doesn't show as much :-)
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#25 chutney

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Posted 04 May 2011 - 02:04 PM

I have stainless steel at work and that's enough for me. What I don't like is the wrinkled surface they put home refrigerators now. I liked the smooth enamel and a quick wipe to clean.

#26 Wholemeal Crank

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Posted 04 May 2011 - 02:22 PM

I adored my stainless sinks. Stuff bounced rather than broke. Yes, scale could buildup and scratches happen, but it doesn't chip like porcelain or stain like it either. Can't wait to own one again. After a while the scratches fade into a relatively uniform used look that is fine with me.

Don't want a stainless fridge if it's not good with magnets. I like magnets.

#27 Fat Guy

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Posted 04 May 2011 - 03:10 PM

I don't think of a sink as an appliance, however I agree that for sinks stainless is the way to go because it gives. For refrigerators, microwaves and dishwashers there is no pragmatic advantage to stainless that I can think of. Ranges in stainless seem to make more sense but I can't put my finger on why.

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#28 Moopheus

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Posted 04 May 2011 - 03:16 PM

you could paint it with magnetic paint :laugh:


Or chalkboard paint. Heck, you could put the chalkboard paint over the magnetic paint and have both.

Oh no, this is giving me ideas. Don't think the wife will go for it, though.
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#29 FrogPrincesse

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Posted 04 May 2011 - 03:27 PM

I have a few stainless steel appliances (oven, warming drawer, dishwasher). I also have a large kitchen island with cabinets that have stainless steel doors.

I agree that there is some maintenance needed and I was a little surprised in the beginning, but now I just use barkeeper's friend once a week and I am good to go. Also we try to use the handles as much as we can on the cabinets to avoid fingerprints!

#30 pastameshugana

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Posted 04 May 2011 - 04:24 PM


you could paint it with magnetic paint :laugh:


Or chalkboard paint. Heck, you could put the chalkboard paint over the magnetic paint and have both.


We've got some 'boards' like this on playroom walls - works like a charm!

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