How to Prevent Pitting in Stainless Steel Cookware

Learn how to avoid damaging your Stainless Steel Cookware.

By Izzy Johnson
Feb 14, 2022
stock pot on stove
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Stainless Steel is a versatile and well-loved material, and the main component of our Stainless Clad Cookware. It’s extremely durable but you may notice that the surface of the Frying Pan or especially your trusty Stock Pot isn’t looking quite as shiny or smooth anymore. So, what causes this and more importantly, how do you deal with it?

Here, we will be outlining what this staining is and how to avoid it happening to your pans.

What Is Pitting?

Stainless Steel is covered by a layer of chromium oxide, which is what prevents the metal from rusting. Pitting refers to damage to the surface of pans caused by chlorine and chloride salts. When these come into contact with your Stainless Clad Cookware, that protective layer of chromium oxide starts to break down. It usually appears as small, dull-looking dots. Once pitting begins, it can spread around the surface of your cookware.

What Causes Pitting In Stainless Clad Cookware?

The most common culprit of this is sodium chloride, which is found in salt. If you add salt to your water before it’s boiling, some of the salt will settle to the bottom of the pan, causing pitting to occur. Additionally, sodium hypochlorite, the active ingredient in bleach, also leads to pitting.

How to Prevent Pitting

The bad news is that once it starts, pitting cannot be reversed or removed. However, the good news is that pitting does not affect the performance of your cookware.

The best way to prevent pitting is to wait to add the salt to your pasta water until it has already come to a boil. That way, the salt dissolves in the hot water and does not sink down to the Pan’s surface, thus preventing the reaction from occurring.

This also goes for salting food in a cold Pan as well. Make sure both your Pan and the food inside are hot, so that the salt melts on contact. If you are finishing your dish with salt, flaky or otherwise, do so at the table.

Additionally, never use straight bleach or abrasive cleaners containing bleach your Stainless Clad Cookware.

Additional Stainless Clad Cookware Care Tips

Stainless Clad Cookware is easy to maintain if you follow these steps.

  • Avoid abrasive cleaners and harsh brushes that may scratch the surface of your Cookware. This includes bleach-based cleaners, steel wool and oven cleaner. For best results, turn to Bar Keeper’s Friend or our very own Stainless Steel Cleaner.
  • Dry your pans right after washing them. Letting water droplets sit can lead to chalky, white spots called calcium deposits. These can either be removed with our Stainless Steel Cleaner or by bringing a mixture of 1 part vinegar to 3 parts water to a boil in your Cookware. Let that cool before pouring it out, rinsing once more with water, and drying immediately.
  • Though Stainless Clad Cookware can take the heat, this can lead to discoloration and burnt food. Both can be removed by either a vinegar wash or making a paste with our Stainless Steel Cleaner. Soaking your Cookware in hot water will reduce the amount of elbow grease needed.

Keeping your Stainless Clad Cookware in good condition doesn’t have to be a challenge. As with all of our Cookware, with some knowledge and care, you can avoid common mistakes and preserve the integrity of your pots and pans so that they last a lifetime.