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Fat Guy

Why I hate stainless-steel appliances

48 posts in this topic

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?


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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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.


Michaela, aka "Mjx"
Manager, eG Forums
mscioscia@egstaff.org

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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.

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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.


Chris Amirault

camirault@eGstaff.org

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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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.


"A cloud o' dust! Could be most anything. Even a whirling dervish.

That, gentlemen, is the whirlingest dervish of them all." - The Professionals by Richard Brooks

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

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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.

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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.


Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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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.


"I think it's a matter of principle that one should always try to avoid eating one's friends."--Doctor Dolittle

blog: The Institute for Impure Science

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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


Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana.

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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.


Who cares how time advances? I am drinking ale today. -- Edgar Allan Poe

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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.

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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.


"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

My blog:Books,Cooks,Gadgets&Gardening

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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.


"If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch ... you must first invent the universe." - Carl Sagan

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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.

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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....

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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 (log)

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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.)


Darienne

learn, learn, learn...

Cheers & Chocolates

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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

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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 :-)


"And don't forget music - music in the kitchen is an essential ingredient!"

- Thomas Keller

Diablo Kitchen, my food blog

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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.

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