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Cleaning Stainless Steel Cookware

Cleaning stainless steel cookware is pretty easy most of the time. Once in awhile, however you may find yourself faced with a pan that has stained or burned that may present a bit of a challenge. If pots boil over while on high heat, you'll find that your stainless steel becomes discolored. With a little care, your stainless steel cookware will look shiny and new for years to come.

For everyday cleaning, some people put their stainless steel cookware into the dishwasher. While this may work, most manufacturers actually recommend for stainless steel to be cleaned by hand in hot soapy water. If you do use your dishwasher, remove the pots and pans after the wash cycle and dry them by hand to prevent spotting. If you're washing by hand, be sure to dry them carefully before putting them away.

Tips to Clean White Residue

Stains can come from food being burned in the pan, from excessive heat or from mineral content in your tap water. If you have a high calcium content in your tap water, you may notice a chalky white residue forming on your cookware. This challenge in cleaning stainless steel cookware isn't too difficult.

To remove this residue, fill the pan with 1 part vinegar to 3 parts water. Boil the liquid and let it cool down to the touch. Wash the pan thoroughly with hot soapy water and dry it carefully.

Cleaning Burned Food in Stainless Steel Pans

If food has been burned in the pan, fill it up with warm soapy water so that it covers the burned areas. Let the soapy water sit for an hour. Put the pan back on the stove and boil the soapy water for about 10 to 15 minutes. Let the water cool down to a safe temperature and scrub at the stain with a nylon scouring pad.

Wash the pan out again with hot, soapy water and then rinse and dry the pan. Repeat the entire process as needed to remove stubborn stains.

If milk or something else especially sticky gets burned on the bottom of the pan, try sprinkling baking soda on the bottom and then adding some vinegar. Let it foam for awhile before adding some water. Simmer the mixture for about five minutes and then let it cool down. Scrub with a nylon scourer to remove the cooked on mess.

Another suggestion for burned on food is to pour Club soda into the warm pan. Let the bubbles loosen the burned on food. Or you could try a half a lemon. Using the cut side, rub the lemon on the pan. The acid in the lemon cuts through the grime. And finally, fill the pot with water and use a balled up piece of aluminum foil to scrub at the burned food.

For burned food on the exterior of the pan, try a soft cloth and baking soda. You could also use a cleanser like the Barkeeper's Friend. It is made not to scratch the surface. Rinse afterwards with vinegar to remove the cleanser residue.

Another tough problem when cleaning stainless steel cookware is that brown residue that sometimes forms in the bottom of the pan from cooking with oils. To remove brown residue, add some water and boil until the residue lifts from the pan. Alternatively, add a few tablespoons of baking soda with enough water to make a paste. Use a nylon scouring pad to scrub the residue away.

If you notice rust while cleaning stainless steel cookware, use an oxalic acid cleaner like Barkeeper's Friend. For fingerprints on the exterior of the pan, use a soft cloth and glass cleaner. Just spritz and wipe them away.

Never use abrasive cleansers or metal scouring pads on stainless steel. While they will remove stains and stuck-on food, they will scratch the cookware.

Do not use bleach or ammonia-based cleaners on your cookware.

Storing Stainless Steel Cookware

When storing your stainless steel cookware, do not stack them on each other or on other pots and pans, as that may scratch the surface. To polish the stainless steel, sprinkle baking soda on the wet surface and scrub with a synthetic scouring pad. Be sure to wear rubber gloves. After rinsing and drying the pan, it will look as shiny as if it were brand new.

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