How to Get the Stains Off Your Stainless Steel Pots and Pans

by Team HomeServe
closeup washing frying pan pot in the sink

Stainless steel pans are a popular cookware option because they are almost effortless to maintain. (“Stainless” is in the name, after all.) However, these pans can quickly start to look worn out if they get scorched or end up covered in caked-on grease and debris.

This May Also Interest You: Sick Burn! 3 Ways to Clean That Nasty-Looking Scorched Pan

Scrubbing a stainless steel pan with harsh chemicals or scouring pads can leave it scratched. Thankfully, it's fairly easy to get your pan sparkling again with some simple household ingredients. Below, you can find out how to clean stainless steel pans and leave them looking like new.

How Do You Clean Stainless Steel Pans Without Scratching Them?

It's important to know how to clean stainless steel pans properly to avoid scratching them. The correct cleaning method is a little different from what you’d use with other cookware types.

First, scrape off any caked-on food or oil to make the pan easier to clean. The ideal item to use is a silicone spatula because stainless steel utensils will cause scratches.

Next, put a little hot water in the bottom of the pan to loosen any stubborn patches. However, avoid putting the pan in cold water right after heating it because the rapid temperature change could lead to warping.

Finally, scrub the inside of the pan with dish soap and a soft sponge or brush using firm circular movements. This will require a bit more effort than scrubbing the pan with a scouring pad designed to remove stubborn food and grease. If all else fails, you can use a scouring pad. It will scratch the pan, but it shouldn't affect its function.

How Do You Remove Brown Stains From Stainless Steel?

Those brown stains you may have noticed on your stainless steel pans are caused by heat. Fortunately, it's relatively easy to remove brown stains and burn marks from your pot or pan and get it looking like new again.

Start by washing your stainless steel pan with a soft sponge and dish soap, then give it a thorough rinse and dry. Next, apply vinegar to the burn marks with a cloth and rub it firmly to remove the stains. You'll need to apply a bit of elbow grease to get the most stubborn stains off. If this method doesn't remove all traces of the heat stains, try rubbing the pan vigorously with club soda.

Finally, apply a small amount of olive oil to the pan's surface to stop it from sustaining more heat damage in the future. Wipe off any excess with a dry cloth.

More Related Articles:

How Do You Get Baked-On Grease Off Stainless Steel Pans?

The best method to remove baked on-grease from stainless steel pans depends on the scale of the problem. If the grease isn't too stubborn, the quickest and easiest technique is to soak the pan in warm water with a squeeze of dish soap for half an hour before giving it a good scrub.

If this doesn't work or the grease is thick, try soaking the pan in a solution made from one part vinegar to two parts water. If you're still struggling to remove the grease after soaking with the vinegar solution, you may need to use an abrasive cleaner. Try mixing baking soda with warm water to make a thick paste, spread it over the greasy areas and leave it for half an hour before washing the pan. If all else fails, a specialized cleaning agent for baked-on grease like Bar Keeper's Friend should do the job.

Will Vinegar Damage Stainless Steel Pans?

Straight vinegar could damage stainless steel and affect its appearance, but it's fine to use as a cleaning agent if you dilute it with water. Leaving vinegar on the pan's surface for too long could also cause damage. If you're cleaning a stainless steel pan with a vinegar solution, rinse it thoroughly afterward to ensure no vinegar is left on the surface.