Best Ways to Clean Stainless-Steel Pans

Stainless steel cookware is one of the most popular choices for professional and home cooks due to its versatility, durability, and attractive shiny look. However, without regular cleaning, your stainless-steel cookware will show unsightly burn marks and discoloration on the surface over time. Regular cleaning is necessary to maintain optimum performance and to keep your stainless-steel pan bright and shiny as the day you bought it.

1. Cleaning Before the First Use

Remove all labels and wash the pan using mild soap and hot water. Rinse with hot water and towel dry thoroughly.

2. Regular Cleaning

Clean the pan after each use to prevent food residue from building up.

Let your pan cool to room temperature before washing. Avoid immersing a hot pan in cold water because sudden temperature changes may cause the metal to warp. Wash the pan with warm soapy water using a sponge or soft pad. Do not use steel wool or abrasive cleaning pads as they can cause scratches on the surface. Rinse the cookware with hot water and dry immediately to prevent water spots.

Stainless-Steel Pan

3. How to Remove Stubborn Food Particles from Stainless Steel Pan

To remove dried-on food particles and prevent them from building up, fill the pan with hot water and a little dish soap and let it soak for 15 minutes. Scrub the pan with a scouring pad and rinse well with hot water.

To get rid of more stubborn food residues, fill the pan with a thin layer of water and sprinkle some Bar Keepers Friend Cookware Cleanser & Polish powder in it. Boil the mixture in the pan for 20 minutes, then let it cool. Scrub away loosened food residue using a soft, nylon pad. Rinse the pan thoroughly with hot water and dry it with a towel before putting it away.

4. Cleaning Burnt Stainless-Steel Pan

Burnt food and oil can create stubborn black and brown stains on your pan. It is important to remove burned-on food from the pan to ensure its best cooking performance.

Ordinary dish soap and scrubbing don’t work for stubborn burn marks. To clean the pan from burnt food, create a paste of water and Barkeeper’s Friend powder and spread it around the bottom. Leave the paste to work for a few minutes, then rub the pan with a non-abrasive pad. It requires a little elbow grease, but it will pay off. Bar Keepers Friend Cookware Cleanser & Polish Powder does not scratch the finish while efficiently removing burnt. Make sure to wear gloves as these cleaners can be harsh on your hands.

For hard-to-clean burnt-on food, pour a small amount of water into the pan and add a small amount of Barkeeper’s Friend powder. Boil the mixture over medium heat until food particles have been loosened. Let the pan cool down, then scrub away the residue with a non-abrasive scouring pad. Wash with warm soapy water, then rinse well and towel dry.

To prevent the food from sticking to the pan, avoid adding cold foods to a hot pan.

5. How to Remove Discoloration from Overheating

Overheating can cause rainbow-like discoloration in the bottom of a stainless-steel pan which is known as “heat tint”. This discoloration will affect neither the cooking performance nor the taste of food cooked in the pan.

However, if you want to remove this unsightly discoloration, you can do it by making a paste of the Bar Keepers Friend Cookware Cleanser & Polish Powder and water. Use a non-abrasive pad and scrub in a gentle circular motion until the discoloration is gone.

6. How to Eliminate Residue from Hard Water

If you live in a hard water area, you may notice a chalky white film on the inside surface of your stainless-steel pan. These calcium deposits can be removed with a mild solution of vinegar and water. Vinegar dissolves away hard water deposits without any scrubbing, bringing the shine back to your pan. Boil the mixture of 1 part vinegar and 3 parts water in the pan. Take the pan from the heat source and let it cool. Then wash and dry as normal.

7. How to Get Rid of Water Spots

White spots on your stainless-steel pan usually appear when you wash it in the dishwasher or let it air dry after hand washing.

To get them removed use a mild solution of vinegar and water. Another efficient method to get rid of water is to use a Bar Keepers Friend and a nylon pad to scrub them away. To prevent water spots from appearing, dry your pan immediately after washing using a kitchen towel.

8. Cleaning the Outside of a Stainless-Steel Pan

Small spills from food and oil can leave a residue, making the outside bottom and sides of the pan look blackened and ugly.

The best way to clean this scorched exterior surface and restore the glow to your pan is to use the Bar Keepers Friend Cookware Cleanser & Polish Powder. Sprinkle the powder over the wet surface and do some scrubbing until all of the stubborn dirt and grime have been removed, leaving the pan clean and polished. If the stains on the outside surface are old, you will need some elbow grease to make the outside of an abused pan spotless.

9. How to Avoid Pitting on Stainless Steel Pans

Undissolved salt can interact with the film of chromium oxide that protects the surface of stainless steel causing white spots at the bottom, affecting the appearance of stainless-steel pans. Pitting is an erosion developed on the surface of your pan that cannot be fixed.

However, you can prevent those small white pits at the bottom from forming. Add salt only after the food has started to cook. Also, do not let acidic or salty foods sit in the pan for prolonged periods. Finally, don’t leave a stainless-steel pan to soak for too long, because some salts in water can cause pitting corrosion on the stainless steel surface.

Dishwasher vs. Hand Washing

Most stainless-steel cookware is dishwasher safe, however regular cleaning in the dishwasher can have some unwanted effects. Harsh detergents and excessive humidity can compromise the shiny surface, while other utensils and cutlery can leave scratches on the stainless-still surface. To preserve the spotless shiny finish of your stainless-steel pan, hand washing is the way to go.

If your stainless-steel pan is marked as dishwasher safe, use the manufacturer’s recommended detergent and rinsing liquid. To prevent spotting, dry it with a towel immediately after the wash cycle.

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2 thoughts on “Best Ways to Clean Stainless-Steel Pans”

  1. I always love cleaning the stainless steel pots and pans with my hands. Bar Keepers Friend helps to produce very good results that are not possible with dishwashers. Just I think that.

  2. I recall being taught in my apprenticeship, stainless steel cookware must also be seasoned, much like carbon steel. Unless S/S is properly seasoned, food will stick to the surface. It certainly works for me.


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