How do I remove floor wax from a stainless steel refrigerator?

Suzanne Stevens
by Suzanne Stevens

My son just bought a new home. The previous owner had waxed the hardwood floors and used a machine to remove the wax. The wax sprayed on the front of the refrigerator. How can we remove the stuck on wax without damaging the stainless steel?

  11 answers
  • Gk Gk on Jan 12, 2020

    You might be able to use a very small amount of mineral spirits on a soft rag. I would apply it to the rag first and I would wipe with the grain of the stainless steel (yes there is a grain to stainless steel--you have to look very carefully). I do not believe that mineral spirits would harm the stainless steel. You will want to clean the mineral spirit off with some warm soapy dishwater and dry the surface well with a soft towel.

  • Fiddledd224 Fiddledd224 on Jan 12, 2020

    Try using a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser, followed by a wiping down with Windex. If the wax is thick, scrape it off with a plastic credit card, NOT metal, which will scratch.

  • Sharon Sharon on Jan 12, 2020

    Ammonia is used to remove floor wax.

  • Dee Dee on Jan 12, 2020

    Do not use a Magic Eraser. It works like a very light sandpaper and will scratch the fridge. If it is thick get a plastic scraper from the auto store and try that first. There are some stainless cleaners that are quite greasy, try using them with the scraper.

    Here is some additional info on cleaning stainless

    • For Tough Stains and Discoloration. Tougher jobs require a more aggressive technique than run-of-the-mill cleanings, so it may be necessary to enlist the help of a commercial cleaner like 3M Stainless Steel Cleaner or Bar Keeper’s Friend.

    • Many commercial cleaners contain phosphates, synthetic detergents, and alkalis which are very effective on severe soils and tarnishes. When using these types of cleaners, make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions closely for best results.

    • For Extracting Grease and Oil. If you’ve got a big cleaning job to do and greases and oils are presenting a problem, then alkaline-based cleaners, also referred to as caustic cleaners, are your best options.

    • Alkaline and alkaline chlorinated cleaners are great for removing greases and oils because they contain wetting and chelating agents that allow tough residue to be “displaced” from the surface of the steel and then more easily extracted when combined with water.

    Part II: Maintaining the Finish

    Naturally, you’ll want to maintain the piece’s finish as best you can over time. For a brushed finish, this can typically be accomplished with simple household items like baking soda, flour, or vinegar. You can apply these products to any stainless steel piece to give it a quick yet effective polish, though it might take a little elbow grease to get the exact look you’re going for.

    Let’s have a brief look at each one:

    • Baking Soda. Since baking soda is non-toxic, inexpensive, and widely available, it makes a fantastic alternative to chemical metal polishers. For this method, mix baking soda with water to make a paste and apply it to the piece with a soft sponge.

    • Flour. While flour doesn’t produce the same results as professional grade materials, it does make buffing and polishing a less time-consuming process. Simply apply the flour to the piece with a soft cloth and then start buffing. Remember to rinse thoroughly after you’re done, as flour can easily get stuck in any crevices present in the piece.

    • Vinegar. Although vinegar’s acidic nature can corrode stainless steel, it works well when you dilute it with water. Apply distilled white vinegar with a soft cloth for best results.

    Part III: Things to Keep in Mind

    • Rinse, rinse, rinse. Always remember to rinse everything thoroughly after a cleaning. Leftover residue from cleaning solutions can damage a stainless steel finish, so it’s essential to make rinsing part of the routine.
    • Generally speaking, you should avoid chloride-containing cleaners like disinfectants and bleach. These can easily break down the passivity layer and cause pitting and rusting.
    • When caring for stainless steel, you’ll also want to avoid highly abrasive cleaners like steel wool or abrasive sponges. These leave particles in the surface of the steel that can rust over time.
    • Wearing gloves will help you avoid smudging the material with fingerprints and skin oils as well as protect you from any harsh chemicals used in the cleaning process.

    Hope this helps

  • Cynthia H Cynthia H on Jan 12, 2020

    When I have to clean wax off a surface I worry about scratching, first I use a small plastic scraper I keep just for this type of thing. Get as much off as you can, and then remove the rest with Goo Gone and a microfiber cloth. Just wipe any residue off with a clean microfiber cloth.

  • William William on Jan 13, 2020

    Ammonia removes wax. Use one cup of lemon scented ammonia to one gallon warm water. Wipe with a sponge in the direction of the grain. Then rinse with warm water and dry well.

  • Maura White Maura White on Jan 14, 2020

    I would try lemon essential oil and a microfiber cloth

  • Donald Eisenbarth Donald Eisenbarth on Jan 15, 2020

    Take it outside and use gasoline. Keep it away from any ignition source.

  • Ann Swan Ann Swan on Jun 14, 2020


  • Patty Patty on Jun 14, 2020

    Ammonia. Dilute with water. Elbow grease!

  • I've used Cerama Bryte to clean my stainless steel, not sure if it'll remove the wax but it's worth a try. It's been magic for me.