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How to Remove Calcium Deposits From Your Stainless Clad Cookware

Here's how to remove pesky calcium deposits from your Stainless Steel Cookware once and for all.

By Emily Borst
Jul 17, 2023
stack of stainless steel frying pans
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If you own Stainless Clad Cookware, you may be familiar with the sinking feeling when you pull out your clean pan and notice blooming white, chalky residue all over it. The good news is that this doesn’t mean something is wrong with your cookware or that you need to season it — it’s just a calcium deposit, or a hard water buildup stain.

If you’ve wondered if there’s any way to remove these unsightly marks from your pans, the answer is yes. Read on for more information on how to remove calcium deposits from your Stainless Steel Pans.

What Causes Calcium Deposits?

A person's hands using tongs to cook a piece of meat in a skillet over a gas stove.

Calcium deposits are also called scale, limescale, hard water stains, or mineral deposits. They’re caused by buildup from “hard” tap water that contains a high amount of calcium or mineral sulfates, which occurs when water flows through deposits of hard minerals like gypsum, chalk, or limestone.

While calcium deposits aren’t harmful to you or your cookware, a buildup over a long period of time can cause bacterial growth, so it’s best to act quickly when you notice them for the first time.

How to Remove Calcium Deposits

If elbow grease, soap and water, or our Stainless Steel Cleaner isn't getting the residue all the way off, here’s what we recommend. Follow along with our video, or read on for step-by-step instructions.

Water and Vinegar Solution

The easiest (and most common) way to remove calcium deposits from your cookware requires one ingredient you likely already have in your kitchen: distilled vinegar. Apple cider vinegar, rice vinegar, and other flavored vinegars contain sugar, which can burn into your pan.

1. Cover the deposits in your Stainless Steel pot or pan with distilled vinegar.

2. Put your Cookware on the stove and turn on the heat.

3. As the water is just starting to boil, turn off the burner to let the hot solution dissolve the deposits. (We recommend agitating the solution with a wooden utensil or implement every so often to encourage it to keep working).

4. Once the buildup has completely dissolved and the water has reached room temperature, carefully pour the solution out.

5. Rinse your Cookware with soap (optional), and cold water and dry immediately with a dish towel or soft cloth.

You can also soak your Cookware in the vinegar solution if you’re looking for a relatively easy way to clean off food residue and other stains.

How to Prevent Calcium Deposits on Stainless Steel

assorted stainless steel cookware stacked

If you’re looking to stop calcium deposits in their tracks before they get a chance to develop, there are a few key things you can do while cleaning your Cookware.

Clean Your Cookware Frequently

It should go without saying, but you should be cleaning your Stainless Clad Cookware after cooking with it. You can go the soap-and-water route or turn to a more thorough cleaner for bigger messes, like Bar Keeper's Friend or our own Stainless Steel Cleaner. Like all of our Cookware, we suggest hand-cleaning our Stainless Steel Cookware and not putting it in the dishwasher.

Dry Your Cookware Immediately

An important care step with your Stainless Steel Cookware is to dry it immediately after washing it. This helps prevent water staining and hard water buildup, and ensures your Cookware is clean and ready to go for your next meal.

Ready to Cook?

Having chalky white stains on your cookware isn't ideal, but removing them doesn't have to be a headache. With these tips you can keep your Stainless Clad pots and pans clean and stain-free for a lifetime—especially important when using high quality ones.

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