How To Clean Stainless Steel Pans
- Place half an inch of water in the stained pan.
- Add a cup of household vinegar and bring solution to a boil.
- Turn off the heat, add 3 tablespoons of baking soda and allow solution to foam.
- When the solution is slightly cooled (hot, but not so hot as to burn your hands) scour the pan with a sponge.
Cleaning stainless steel is not a problem–seriously. We’re here to dispel those worries and show you how to take care of your collection of stainless steel pans so that they’ll give you years and years of use and partner with your mad cooking skills to produce fabulous, memorable meals. Dalstrong offers two cookware series of professional-quality stainless steel and aluminum pans, and these cleaning tips apply to all three, and your lonely and forgotten pans languishing in that hard-to-reach cabinet.
- Different Methods To Clean Your Stainless Steel Pans
- How To Polish And Restore Your Stainless Steel Pans
- Frequently Asked Questions
- More Cookware Guides
1. Different Methods To Clean Stainless Steel Pans
Cleaning stainless steel is not only possible – but the job costs almost nothing, and everything you need is probably already in your kitchen: household white vinegar, dish soap, baking soda, one or two limes, fine or coarse table salt, and olive oil or mineral oil. Baby oil works well, too. Here are a few well-regarded and effective techniques; the choice is yours.
Quick tips to remember as you roll up your sleeves: a little elbow grease works wonders, and never use an abrasive sponge such as steel wool, Brillo® pads, or copper pads, as these will permanently damage the finish on stainless steel cookware and appliances.
Cleaning Scorched On Stains
Dealing with burnt stainless steel is a certainly a chore but this is a tried and tested solution. Make a paste of baking soda and water (the consistency of toothpaste works well). Use a sponge to cover the stain with the baking soda paste, and let the solution sit on the scorched areas for 15 or 20 minutes. This will remove any burnt food. Afterwards, rinse the solution off and clean any stubborn areas with a sponge. Be patient, you may need to repeat the process.
Clean Your Pan With Vinegar
Place half an inch of water in a stained pan, add a cup of household vinegar, and bring the solution to a boil. Turn off the heat, add 3 TBLS of baking soda, and the allow solution to foam. When the solution is slightly cooled (hot, but not so hot as to burn your hands) scour the pan with a sponge. You can also allow the pan to soak in the solution for 15 or 20 minutes before scouring.
How The Chefs Clean Pans
A paste made with water and cream of tartar is reportedly a chef-favored method for cleaning stainless steel cookware. Combine 1/4 to 1/2 cup of cream of tartar with enough water to make a paste, and sponge the paste onto the offending stains. Allow the paste to work on the stains for at least a few hours, or better yet, overnight. Scour the area with a non abrasive sponge. Clean the pan with warm water and dry thoroughly to avoid water spots. A benefit of the cream of tartar cleaning method is that it leaves stainless steel pans beautifully shiny.
How To Clean Cooked On Stains From Your Pan
For cooked-on stains try lime and salt to clean stainless steel pans. The acidity of the lime breaks down food particles, and the gentle and harmless abrasiveness of the salt cleans the pan. Add a generous 1/4 cup of salt to the pan, and add the juice of one lime. Allow the mixture to work for 10 or 15 minutes, and then scrub the pan with a non-abrasive sponge.
You Can Clean Your Pan With Dish Soap
Dawn Ultra Platinum Dishwashing Liquid is a surprise hero for this stainless steel cleaning method (This writer tried it, and agrees!): Fill a sink or basin with steaming hot water and a generous 1/4 cup of dish soap. Submerge the pan overnight. In the morning, scour the pan with a non-abrasive sponge and then rinse clean.
A few additional commercial cleaners are known to be effective for cleaning and shining stainless steel cookware:
Bar keeper’s Friend® contains oxalic acid, which aids in removing rust from stainless steel pans
Windex® glass cleaner with a soft cloth removes smudges and fingerprints from the outside of stainless steel
A dryer sheet immersed for an hour in soapy water in the bottom of a scorched pan will restore a stainless steel pan to its former shine and cleanliness.
Tomato sauce, while not a cleaner, is a high-acid food that when cooked in a previously overheated stainless steel pan, will restore the pan’s sheen. Overheating a stainless steel pan often causes a tell tale rainbow hue that for many people, signals a ruined pan. Don’t believe it! The acidic tomato removes the rainbow discoloration in a stainless steel pot or pan.
Likewise, a chalky white spot on stainless steel is generally just the harmless result of too much calcium in the water supply. Remedy the spots by boiling a ratio of three parts water to one part vinegar in the offending pan. Remove pan from the heat. Once the solution is cool, dump it out and wash and clean the pan as usual, and then dry thoroughly.
Now that you’re an expert on the “care and feeding” of your beloved clean stainless steel pan, finish the task by keeping them buffed to a high sheen between uses.
2. How To Polish And Restore Your Stainless Steel Pans
We’ll offer two options here, a DIY hack, and a commercial cleaner.
Once again, the supplies you’ll need are likely already in your possession: dish soap, olive oil, mineral oil, or baby oil, paper towels, and a couple of micro fiber cloths. These items will help polish your stainless steel cookware and remove any pesky water spots.
- Soak and wring out a micro fiber cloth under warm water and then squirt a little dish soap into the cloth. Wipe the pans in the direction of the grain of the stainless steel (Look closely–it’s there.)
- Rinse the soap out of the cloth, and then wipe the pans clean with the same cloth.
- Pour about 1/2 TBLS of your chosen oil into the second micro fiber cloth, and once again, wipe the oil onto the pans in the direction of the grain.
- Wipe the pans down with one or two paper towels.
Pro Tip: Use this inexpensive DIY cleaning hack on your stainless steel appliances, too.Brillo® Cameo Aluminum and Stainless Steel Cleaner is a great commercial option if you’ve got better ways to spend your time than meticulously buffing your stainless steel pans. But hey, if you love meticulously creating a spotless kitchen with gleaming pans and razor-sharp knives and dishtowels bleached to a blinding white, we won’t tell.
3. Frequently Asked Questions
The big moment is here: your new stainless pans have arrived. Together with your knives, your favorite seasoned cutting board, the perfect hot sauce or Irish Stew recipe and maybe a favorite playlist cued up, you’re ready to cook.
First things first–clean your new pans with liquid dish soap and hot water and (always) dry them thoroughly to remove water spots. As you buff those pans to a glossy sheen you may be wondering how to clean stainless steel pans after cooking? Or if you can ruin a stainless pan? Are there good or bad stainless steel cleaners? Yikes. Come to think of it, you have a few older stainless steel pans in the cabinet that could use some love…where to find answers?
Can you ruin a stainless steel pan?
No, not really, though you’ll need to employ a little elbow grease for the toughest stains.
Can you remove stains from stainless steel?
Yes. Make a paste of baking soda and water (the consistency of toothpaste works well). Use a sponge to cover the stains with the baking soda paste, and let the solution sit on the scorched areas for 15 or 20 minutes.
Does vinegar damage stainless steel?
Emphatically, no. Household vinegar is a fantastic stainless steel cleaner.
What natural cleaners are there for stainless steel?
In addition to vinegar, baking soda works wonders, as does salt and lemon juice.
Is there a cleaner that should not be used on stainless steel?
Yes. For this job, steer clear of abrasive cleaners and scrubbers, like steel wool and copper brushes, both of which will permanently damage a stainless steel finish. Ditto silver polish.
How do you make stainless steel look new again, and what polishes stainless steel?
Clean pan with dish soap and go with the grain and then pour about 1/2 TBLS of your chosen oil into the second micro fiber cloth, and once again, wipe the oil onto the pans in the direction of the grain.
You can also check in with our Expert Knife Finder Quiz and get specific recommendations based on your needs.
Written by Jennifer DeBell
Jenny believes there’s nothing better after a long day of writing than coring apples for a mile-high pie.