Stainless steel is a material used to make some of the furnishings and appliances in our homes. It's called stainless because of its resistance to stains, like rust. When purchased first hand, it normally has a nice, "clean" look, but shows up things like fingerprints, so needs it a lot of care to stay clean.
The addition of chromium to the steel makes it resistant to rust.
When cleaning stainless steel, follow the "grain" to avoid scratching and dulling the finish. Mild, non-scratching detergents on a soft cloth or rag are usually able to get stainless steel clean. While it shows fingerprints and other minor dirt easily, it is also relatively easy to wipe off those marks.
- About.com's chemistry section on Why is Stainless Steel Stainless?: What It Is and How It Works! By Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D.
- International Stainless Steel Forum (ISSF), has information articles including Introduction to Stainless Steel
- Wikipedia's article on stainless steel