How to clean stainless steel cookware

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Picture this: You get done finely chopping some onion and before you move onto the next vegetable you decide to heat up a pan. You get the olive oil ready then go for a pan… down in the dreaded pan cabinet. Maybe this time the one you want will be on top and ready to go. Nope. On the bottom, so you dig. Same goes with the lid.

You see a commercial for these new stacking pans that have special grooves where they all fit together. You think that might actually work once, then it will all go to hell again. What happens if you need the one on the bottom every time? You have to lift the whole stack to get that one every… single… time?

I hope you saved your money and didn’t buy that. Horrible idea.

What I did spend money and time on was a hanging rack. After a week of deliberation with my wife, we ended up deciding where it should go once when I ordered it — we chose my suggestion. Hey, important decisions and all, and it’s rare being right when you are married. So I’m soaking it in.

Anyway, now I have all my pots and pans at my command whenever I need them, just hanging there, ready to be used. But, I slacked off keeping them pretty since they hid away in a drawer for so long. They were clean, just dingy.

So here are some tips I found to destain that tired, hazy stainless steel cookware.


Things you will need

Nylon scouring pad

Baking soda


Optional; Lemon, aluminum foil, Bar Keepers Friend cleanser


White residue

This was my main culprit. Our water is pretty hard and leaves that lovely white ring on almost everything. Growing up in Story I got used to it, and it wasn’t until later in life I realized not everyone has to deal with it. To remove this residue, fill the pan with one part vinegar to three 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. This should knock out the white stains and keep the neighbor away for a few hours at least. Not a super pleasant smell.


Cooked-on food

If food has been burned onto 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 again with hot soapy water and 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.


Food burned on the outside

Try a soft cloth and baking soda on the outside of the pan. You could also use a cleanser like the Bar Keepers Friend. It is made to not scratch the surface. Rinse afterward with vinegar to remove the cleanser residue.


Burned-on oils

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.

By |May. 16, 2018|

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