How to Remove Hard Water Stains from Stainless Steel Dishwashers

Someone asked me how to remove hard water stains from a stainless steel dishwasher the other day and I wasn’t sure if I could figure out how to resolve that problem. Then it dawned on me…why not use our DIY Kitchen Sink Cleaner recipe?! It worked perfectly for the sink, so it should work perfectly for the dishwasher!

Now, I did modify the recipe a bit because I wanted to make a cleaning concoction thick enough to sit vertically on the dishwasher without slipping off. Even with a few tweaks, this cleaner worked perfectly! And of course, test this out on a small corner before doing your entire dishwasher… some finishes don’t work as well as others!

How to remove hard water stains from stainless steel dishwasher

How to Remove Water Stains from Your Stainless Steel Dishwasher

It’s pretty difficult to see what I’m fighting so here is a close-up shot:

Hard water stain on stainless steel dishwasher

See all those spots and water stains? It looks pretty bad when you’re standing right in front of it.

Now that you have an idea as to what I’m trying to get rid of, we can move on.

How to Make Your Stainless Steel Cleaner:

Here are the supplies you’ll need:

Once you’ve got those ready, mix 1/4 cup vinegar to 1/2 cup baking soda. Add a tablespoon of lemon juice and a tablespoon of olive oil. Stir all of your ingredients so they form a paste.

How to Clean Your Dishwasher

Once your paste is made, take a soft cloth and dip it into your mixture and rub it in small circles over your dishwasher rub with the grain of the stainless steel.

How to remove water stains from stainless steel dishwasher

Cover the Entire Surface:

Notice how we accidentally rubbed the stainless steel cleaner in circles instead of with the grain. This could cause small scratches (thanks Sara for letting us know). Make sure to rub with the grain!

How to clean stainless steel appliances with baking soda

Wipe it Off:

Once the mixture has been sitting on your dishwasher for about 5 to 10 minutes, it’s ready to wipe off. Simply dampen your towel and start wiping!

Removing hard water stains from stainless steel dishwasher

See how nice that gunk is coming off?! I love how simple this is!!!

Once the dishwasher has been wiped off, you can add a few drops of olive oil to a soft cloth and buff it right into the dishwasher surface to give it an even better shine!

The End Result:

Clean dishwasher after using stainless steel appliance cleaner

It might not be perfect but it certainly looks 99% better! I’m happy!!! I hope this post helps to make your cleaning journey a little easier!

More DIY Cleaning Supplies:

Find all our DIY cleaning tutorials here!

how to remove water stains from stainless steel dishwasher

How to Remove Hard Water Stains from Stainless Steel Dishwashers


  • 1/4 cup vinegar
  • 1/2 cup baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil


  1. Mix vinegar and baking soda.
  2. Add lemon juice and olive oil.
  3. Stir all of your ingredients so they form a paste.
  4. Take a soft cloth and dip it into your mixture and rub it in small circles over your dishwasher.
  5. Cover the entire surface.
  6. Let the mixture sit for about 5 to 10 minutes.
  7. Wipe off with a damp cloth.
  8. Once the dishwasher has been wiped off, you can add a few drops of olive oil to a soft cloth and buff it right into the dishwasher surface to give it an even better shine!


**Always test on a small area first to make sure this will work on your stainless steel dishwasher finish.

Types: Cleaning, Adult
Categories: Home, Inside The House


  • Darbi Nolen

    It was me me me,but it was my refridgerator,I also have a stainless steel Trash can,so I’m gonna try this trick,ty so much for the tip ! It grosses me out to see the constant spots cross your fingers and say a prayer for me.

    • Christina

      Hey, Darbi!!! I hope it works for you! I forgot it was the fridge you asked about! I tried last week’s cleaner on it so I couldn’t give an honest answer if I worked on that again. I knew I didn’t use the fridge for a reason! LOL, I just forgot what it was! I needed something that hadn’t been cleaned so I used the dishwasher instead. 🙂 I hope this works for you! Keeping my fingers crossed!

  • Tara

    I thought my refrigerator was ruined by nasty sweaty hand print stains from contractors working in my house when they had to move my fridge. NOTHING was getting those nasty stains out. I’m so grateful for this post and wonderful concoction. My fridge looks like new, thank you!

  • Ivory

    can you use another oil besides olive oil?

  • Elyse

    As a chef, the stainless steel prep tables in my restaurant not only have to be sanitary, but also look nice (after what they cost me). I’ve been using a product called “Sheila Shine” in the restaurant & the stainless appliances in my home as well. Well worth it. I wish my lipgloss was as shiny as my stainless!

  • Barb Greenfield

    I used it today on my dishwasher. We bought a home and it was nasty, but looks great now. ThNks for sharing.

  • Ellen

    Do you know how to get dings out of SS

  • CS

    This doesn’t scratch at all? Thought baking soda would…

  • MArty

    Best thing to use on Stainless Steel is Orange pledge, spray it on and wipe off either with a paper towel or soft cloth!!!! It has to be the ORANGE kind!!!

  • Melissa

    This is amazing. It looks like even the commercial stainless cleaner leaves residue. This solution even removed that build up. I have a picture if you will like to see the difference. Thanks for the tip.

    • Cathy

      Yes! We would love to see the pictures! This works so well!! You can send the picture to sheyanne {at} fabulesslyfrugal {dot} com! We can’t wait to see!

  • Yusra

    OMG this paste is a life saver or SS appliances saver should I say! Thanks so much for sharing! Much love!

  • Margot

    I use lemon oil – so maybe any oil will work?

  • Gina Dwyer

    Do you think this would work for a teal kettle?

  • Gina Dwyer

    Sorry – I see my spelling error – it’s a stainless steel tea kettle 🙂

  • Deb

    WD 40 is all it takes to clean stainless steel..

    • Cher

      Yes, WD40 really works. I learned that years ago from a lady who cleaned my house for years.
      On my SS sink I guess use baking soda with a quick we off oil and buff. I always but with a microfiber cloth.

  • Susan

    Has anyone tried this concoction on faux stainless?

    • Cathy Yoder

      I’d test it out on the bottom corner or an inconspicuous spot and see how it goes. I can’t imaging that it’d hurt faux stainless steel. Let us know if you try!

  • Kelley

    Thank you so much Becky! I also used it as a last ditch effort on my stained porcelain sink and it looks beautiful again!!!

  • Bonnie

    I’ve been all over Pinterest looking for something to work on my stainless appliances today.. I’ve tried several that did not work so I wanted to give out a KUDOS on this one! It worked perfectly! Thank you!

  • June

    I just use WD 40 on a paper towel, works great!

  • Marilyn

    Thank You!!! Works great on all stainless steel appliances in my kitchen, thanks for sharing.

  • Gael

    Tried it on fridge, dishwasher and oven door. It was messy and thouch I wiped it off with damp cloth as directed . . . had to wipe and refresh the cloth many times . . . still left a film.

  • Melanie

    Pledge or store brand furniture cleaner works great and is fast.

  • Donna

    I use Soft Scrub annd it works beautifully. The real challenge is what could be used to stop this sort of thing from marking them up in the fìrst place?

    • Jeannette

      RainX works great!! I use it on SS & outdoor windows! We have very hard water & after the windows are demineralized I put on RainX & they don’t get near as many water spots & are so much easier to clean the next time!

  • Ritass

    This worked beautifully,! Thank you so much.

  • Rosemarie

    Will this paste actually “remove” hard water stains or just temporarily mask it ? It appears anything oil-based will coat the surface to make it look clean. No matter how often I clean the outside of my dishwasher, the hardwater re-appears 🙁 Any idea on how to make stainless steel “hard water proof”?

  • Bobbi

    Thank you so much for the “water stain” recipe. I was about to spend $800 on a new dishwasher because I am remodeling the kitchen and the one I have is not that old. I can’t believe it…the water stains are gone!!!! Also buffed with olive oil.

  • Rocky

    I have three types of stainless appliance cleaners in my closet. I am not happy with any of them. So, I looked up on Pinterest for a new way to shine up my appliances. I had streaks, fingerprints and other marks (that I could not remove with the purchased products). I found your cleaning recipe for my appliances and made it. Oh my gosh! I’m so happy with the outcome. It’s messy, but oooooh sooooo worth it. Thank you

  • Cher

    I learned from my cleaning lady years ago: WD40 works wonders. Always buff with a micro fiber cloth.

  • Linda

    What kind of vinegar?

  • Esther Cameron

    Got the dishwasher door clean but still have two long vertical “water stains”? down the front. No idea
    how they got there.

  • Stephanie

    A norwex envirobac towel and window cloth will make the stainless spotless too. Although, I’m having a lot of trouble trying to get water stains off a stainless steel stove, so I will try this method next.

  • Fred Lothrop

    It works, Thanx

  • Ren

    FYI….WD40 works like a charm to clean and shine!

  • Kay

    Okay, I HAD to find this site again to post…this is nothing short of AMAZING! I believe we have an extremely similar dishwasher, yet is less than three years old. Regardless of cleaners, other DIY’s, Cleaning vinegar (which is stronger than your cooking vinegar) my dishwasher front was embarassing. I cannot believe how it turned out. I can’t wait to see what my family says when they see it. I’m pretty sure I won’t have to even ask!
    Because there are different grades of stainless, I put the paste on for 3 min. then wiped off to check results. Another 3 min. did the job for mine. I did wash it all down in the end with a bit of water and dishsoap, then dried and buffed. WOW!

  • Sara

    I have also used olive oil to shine my dishwasher. However, you are not supposed to rub stainless steel in circles. You are supposed to rub with the grain. Rubbing in circles does cause tiny scratches that over time will be noticeable. Just a thought.

  • Monica Watts

    I’d suggest trying a test spot on any appliance prior to applying it everywhere. This didn’t work so well for me . I applied it to both my refrigerator and my speed oven. It did a good job at removing grime, but had no effect on water marks on my refrigerator nor finger prints on the oven. I was panicked as I was rinsing it off as it would look beautiful, but when I went on to the next area a film would show up in the previous area. I rinsed everything down about 3 times and tried buffing it off and still the film. I rinsed it all down again and buffed it again. That time I thought it was looking better so I wiped it down with a small amount of olive oil and it looked better, but only for about 5 minutes, then the film again. I’m going to try washing it with soapy water and hope for the best. My appliances happen to be true stainless steel.

  • Nancy Campbell

    Old English with a microfiber cloth works wonders. Looks like new!

  • Sally

    This did not work for me!!! It left my dishwasher & fridge shiny but when the sun shines on it you can see every swirl mark. VERY DISAPPOINTED!Now I will have to try pledge again,even my norwex cloth doesn’t help,which usually it does.

  • Caroline

    This worked great on my 3 year old Bosch dishwasher. I had tried to keep it really clean and was careful with it but still had big water marks down the center. Had to rub the mixture in really good but now my dishwasher looks brand new. So happy! No chemicals and I had all the ingredients. Regarding polishing it with olive oil, if you have pets I don’t recommend it. They lick it and you have a mess again.

  • Pat

    Can the paste be used on the inside of my dishwasher for the mineral stains the water leaves?

  • Debbie

    How can I get scratch mark out of stainless steel

  • Cyn T

    Wow this really worked! First I tried the orange pledge like another person suggested but that did not work. It did clean and shine well but it did nothing for the water satins. Next I tried the mixture,, I used my hands to really work it in, mind you the mixture falls all over the floor,, but after a few minutes I wiped and buffed and my fridge looks Brand New!!

  • Janet

    I have tried everything to get the hard water stains from my fridge, including expensive stainless steel cleaner! This is the only thing that has worked! The only thing I’m unhappy about is that i didn’t take a before picture!

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