Apart from their non-reactive surface that's wonderful for cooking, for many, one of the major appeals of stainless steel pans is their lovely silver-colored luster. Although it's tough and stain-resistant, stainless steel is not completely impervious to various forms of tarnish. Whether you left a sauce simmering for too long or accidentally burnt a fried egg, stainless steel can sometimes develop tough stains, scorch marks, stuck-on food bits, or a rainbow discoloration. However, with the right cleaning method and tools, you can remove stubborn food particles and make a burnt pan look new again (minimal elbow grease required).
Top Tips, Methods, and Tools for Cleaning Stainless Steel
Skip the Soda and Other "Too Good to Be True" Methods
Certain stainless steel cleaning methods are rumored to work like magic, and you know what doesn't exist? Magic. You've probably heard that soaking your pan with water and a dryer sheet and dish soap or applying a sprinkling of baking soda and boiling water and vinegar will remove scorch marks from stainless steel. While these concoctions might remove the top layer of crud, you'll need to scrub the rest off with a scouring pad, sweat, and tears. Both methods require more effort than they're worth.
If you always have a supply of lemons on-hand, then one of the simplest and most effective ways to clean your stainless steel pots and pans will be to boil lemons. This works best for a stainless saucepan or stockpot, rather than a shallower piece of cookware like a frying pan. Slice two or three lemons into quarters and put them in the pan. Then fill the pot with water and bring it to a boil and allow it to simmer until you see bits of burnt food particles float to the top. Then simply toss the water and the lemons and use a plastic scouring pad (not steel wool) to remove the rest of the scorch marks. You'll have sparkling pans and a house that smells like lemony heaven.
No Lemons? No Sweat!
If you lack lemons, then ball up a bit of aluminum foil. First, mix baking soda and water to create a paste. Scrub the pan and past with your ball of foil. Rinse with warm water and mild dish soap – and voilá! Clean pans!
Spot Clean Like a Dream
If you have a small pot of cream of tartar for cooking, you can use it to spot clean your stainless steel pots and pants. Simply dip a cloth in hot water, sprinkle a bit of cream of tartar onto the cloth, and scrub away scorch marks.
Use a Tried and True Stainless Steel Cleaner
While some household detergents are far too harsh to gently clean stainless steel without damaging it, there are some cleaners that are gentle but still tough enough to get the job done. One favorite is called Bar Keeper's Friend. This soft, liquid cleanser can be used to polish stainless steel pots, pans, and appliances, too. While it might not be tough enough to remove scorch marks, it will do a beautiful job of removing hard water stains and spots.
Keep Your Hands Soft and Your Pans Clean
Forgive us for being partial, but our favorite stainless steel cookware cleaner is our own, and if you give it a try, it just might become your favorite, too. Made In's Make It Like New Cleaner is designed specifically for cleaning and preserving stainless clad cookware. It's environmentally safe, cleans like you can't believe, and also has a low pH that's gentle on your skin!
Get a Set of Stainless Clad Cookware to Enjoy for Life
With professional-grade stainless clad cookware, a home chef can never go wrong. Now that you know how easy it is to clean stainless steel pots and pans, there should be nothing holding you back from investing in a set of your own.