Daily use can leave your shiny stainless steel cookware discolored or burnt. This is a guide about cleaning stainless steel cookware.
By Sara 1
One of my stainless steel pots has little rust stains from a leak I had in one of my cabinets. Does anyone know how to safely get them out?
Sara in FL
By guest (Guest Post) Flag
January 2, 2009
If it's something you dont want scratched like a gun, you can use #OOOO stainless steel pads and WD-40.
I switched to all stainless steel pots and pans a few years back when the news came out about the fumes from scratched non stick pans was potentially caustic. It took some getting used to cooking wise. I kept having stuff stick and I had a hard time cleaning the pots and pans. The scrubbers made specifically for the stainless steel pots and pans were costly and did not last.
I was frustrated with some baked on egg in my pan and grabbed the baking soda from the fridge and instantly cleaned the dried on egg I had been wrestling to get out. I have perfected it now. If there is any grease residue in the pan I will first let it soak with a drop of dish liquid and hot water while I do the other dishes. Then I dump the liquid from the pan, squeeze out my scrubby sponge of most of its liquid, and sprinkle some baking soda around in the pan. With my sponge, I scrub it around both the inside and out. It makes a paste and removes anything stuck on and polished the stainless as well. Rinse well and your pots and pans will be clean and look like new. YEA!
By Cheryl from Smithsburg, MD
By kimberly 1
I burned mac and cheese on my new frugal stainless steel pot and I can't for the love of god get this thing to come clean, please help. It's been soaking for 3 days and still nothing. I tried to scrub it, baking soda, boil soap, nothing works, HELP.
Kimberly from Akron, Ohio
February 21, 2009
Borax, your fav dishwashing soap, & hot water should bring it back to life. You may even soak it a bit with Borax & hot water. Every thing from mac & cheese to rice has been burnt in ours & Borax seems to be the magic to bring it back to being new, again.
By Brian 1
I've been told to use WD-40 to clean the burnt stainless cookware I have. Has anyone else ever tried this method?
By Brian from San Francisco, CA
February 12, 2010
When I burn something in one of my stainless pots, before I scrub, I put warm water in the pot, just enough to cover the bottom, heat to boiling and using a spatula scape the burnt stuff off. This cleans the majority off and then let it sit over night with a little dawn and water. Comes clean every time. I also use the Bar Keeper stainless cleaner when I want to shine up the pots.
How do I remove the stain from a stainless steel fry pan? The burnt on food has been removed, but the stain is still there. An help would be appreciated.
By linda 1
How do you remove burnt popcorn from stainless steel pots? I have scrubbed with Comet and pads that won't scratch.
By Linda from Syracuse, NY
June 28, 2011
I turned the exterior of my calphalon pot yellow by boiling the water out of it. I only had rice vinegar, and I poured it into hot hot dishwater and soaked the pot. It worked beautifully!
How do I remove black burnt stains and restore luster/brilliance to interior of a pan? While boiling eggs I forgot and the water boiled out! My aluminum stainless steel pan has black burnt marks and no luster. I left baking soda in pan to many days and still have black burnt stains and no luster to pan. What do I do to restore pan?
By Peggy B.
January 6, 2012
I forgot to mention that you should let it sit overnite. I usually stick the pan in the oven.
By Judy 3
I fell asleep on the couch shortly after I'd put water on to boil in a Revere Ware saucepan. It's somewhat discolored, usable, but discolored. Any ideas on how to get it shinier? I also, have a frying pan with the same discoloration. It's old, but still usable.
By the way, to get copper bottomed sauce and frying pans clean, there's a great product named Penny Brite by a company called EZ Brite here in Westlake, OH. Website is ezbritebrands.com. The paste really works wonders. The frying pan I mentioned above was my mother's and I've had it at least since the 80's and she had it for years before that. Penny Brite makes it look great at least on the outside.
The inside has seen many a meal. It's still very usable, but the metal has kind of a bluish tint to it. In other words, the metal in it has somewhat discolored. Anyway, any help anyone can provide would be appreciated.
By Judy from Willoughby, OH
July 12, 2010
I've found a wonderful product called Bar Keeper's Friend and it is great for cleaning all my stainless steel posts and pans. I also use it to clean my sink. Good Luck.
I find that using liquid bleach on the inside of my stainless steel pans removes tea stains immediately. You can add a little water if you'd like, but I just pour a small amount in the pan, swirl it around and dump it into the next pan with the stains and works great. I rinse the clean pan immediately so the bleaching will stop right away.
By BonsterBonnie from Maryland
Anyone have a homemade solution for cleaning stainless steel cookware? My cookware has been darkened by dirty gas burners. The cookware has copper bottoms.
Sylvia from Barbados, W.I.
February 26, 2011
Make a paste of powdered cream of tartar (found in the spice section at most grocery stores) and vinegar. Smear a good amount on & let sit for a several minutes, then scrub right off! This removes the 'everlasting' black marks left after burning food!
By dasguptat 1
How do I clean a stainless steel teapot with lots of tea stains?
By Dasguptat from Kolkata, W Bengal
May 18, 2011
Put some clorox in the pot and fill with water. Let stand until the stains are gone. Doesn't take long. Wash well with soapy water and rinse well.
By Al 1
How do I remove burnt cheese from a stainless steel pot?
By Al from Erie, PA
February 21, 2011
After reading a few of these posts, I have just successfully removed the burnt bits from the bottom of my pan using a combination of malt vinegar and bicarbonate of soda. It made a satisfying hiss when I poured it in. I left it for around 30 mins then thought I would try and clean it. It came off really easily and is now sparkling! I am so relieved as the pan is new. Thanks v much x
I am having problems cleaning a pot that has burned cranberry sauce in it. I let the cranberries cook too long. The inside of a Revere pot is now black. How can I clean it?
November 29, 2011
I have had success in the past with hot water and a fabric softner sheet, letting it soak an hour or two or overnight. Good Luck!
To easily remove burnt on food from your skillet, simply add a drop or two of dish soap and enough water to cover bottom of pan and bring to a boil on stove top.
By Jodi from Aurora, CO
I have stainless steel pan that my boyfriend used to toast bread. He burned the bread and then right after poured water into hot pan. The pan now has a copper color to it on bottom, sides, and inside. There is also crusty burned black bread inside that won't come off. The pan is new and I hate that the rest of the set is so nice looking! Any ideas on how to make it shine again? Especially, the outside of it where it totally changed color.
By Jay from San Diego, CA
March 8, 2011
I am with Sixcritters, I love Bar Keeper's Friend for everything!
By Olga 1
I need to clean the bottoms of stainless steel pots and pans. There is some old grease that I can't remove.
By Olga from Tampa, FL
September 29, 2010
Elbow grease and magic erasers barkeeprs friend is also great
The finish is very flat instead of shiny inside my stainless steel pan from boiling water to humidify the air. How can I get the shine back?
April 11, 2015
Heat the pan on the stove. Pour 1 or 2 teas. olive oil into pan. Swirl oil around pan. Remove from heat take a small piece of paper towel & rub oil into pan being careful not to burn yourself. Remove excess oil and let pan air dry.
This will give you a good shiny pan and one that won't burn your food provided you know how to cook. Hint: most women think they need to have the flame on high to cook things faster. Wrong - all they'll accomplish is burning the food and ruining the pan. Then you'll have to start all over again with cleaning the pan!
Once a stainless steel saucepan has been burnt, but then thoroughly cleaned, is it then more likely to burn again?
By Val S.
By RichardT 1
How do I clean burnt oil from a stainless steel pan?
By RichardT from Sterling Heights, MI
January 7, 2011
What I do is to sprinkle liberally the burned part with baking soda, and then pour just enough water over the soda to make a paste. Let the pan sit overnight, and then take a scrubby and scrub the burned part. The debris should come off very easily, along with the baking soda paste.
Easy, good for the environment, and cheap! :)
Hope this helps,
Bron from Augusta, Georgia
By Joy R. 1
How do I get burned on popcorn out of my pot?
I burnt my best saucepan. I filled it with water and detergent and left for 24 hours. It mostly came off, then I used a stainless steel soap pad which helped, but there are still block spots and discolouration on the bottom of the pan. Can I use the half vinegar and half water mixture to bring it back? And what can I use on the base of the pan as it is discoloured?
By Edwina B
By Barbara 1
How do I clean burnt sugar from an All Clad pan? It is badly burnt.
By Barbara from Naples, FL
October 20, 2010
Try filling the pan with hot water and 1 cup of powdered dishwasher detergent. Bring to a boil on your stove, and simmer for 1/2 hour, watching that it does not boil dry. Add water if needed. Scrape the burned sugar with a spoon or other tool with an edge with the water still in the pan. A lot should come loose. Dump the water, and scrub with cleanser and a scrubby. If what is left does not come off with scrubbing. repeat entire process. This has worked for me, and may work for you. The pan is unusable as is. The cheap detergent from the dollar store works fine for this if you don't have a dishwasher. Good luck with your pan.
By Colagirl 1
I have a stainless steel electric percolator. My life has been hectic for the last 3 months with illness in my family. Apparently I made coffee one day and forgot to clean my pot and now it is mildewed. Can anyone tell me how to clean it using natural organic stuff or is it ruined now?
Thank you! :-)
I was reading all the tips on stainless steel cookware. I clean mine with soap pads. It seems the more I scrub the brighter they shine! Just sayin.
Last week I was cooking and I accidentally put the steel lid on the hob while it was lit. I burned my hand and lost feeling in it, but am gradually getting it back, but also it made scorched purple marks on the lid itself. I had that cooking pot in my family for nearly 23yrs and I just would like some tips on how to remove the purple burn marks thanks.
By Mrs A.
By Mrs A from east london
How do I remove rust on stainless steel pots and pans that were filled with sea water and sewage left over from hurricane Sandy? The pots were in our shore home and we had 3 feet of sea water and sewage. By the time we were allowed in our home, these pans had water standing in them for a month. I have tried everything to remove the rust. I don't want to have to throw these away too.
I left water in my stainless steel (brand new) pot after sterilizing baby bottles. Now there is a ring of rust inside the pot. How can I remove this? Please help!
By Ama Q.
My husband used to be the cook and dishwasher in this house. I just recently took over. I'm trying to get our pots and pans back to new looking. I just saw some black on the lid of the saucepan. I tried to scrub it, but I don't have any scour pads right now. It wouldn' come off. I had just soaked the pan in baking soda, vinegar, and water. I hope the black is not mold from food residue, is it? And how to I get rid of it. I will purchase some scour pads.
By T L
How can I remove purple stains from stainless steel? It was too close to an open fire, and now I'm struggling to remove the purple stain as a result of this hot fire.
By Stoffel de Beer
I found my large skillet with lid way back under the sink, which had slowly (for months) filled with water from a slow leak. I managed to wipe away (warm water and dishsoap) most of the rusty gunk, but small black spots (pits?) remain around the lid and a couple places inside. Is it too late to try baking soda or other things?
By stephanie r.
My husband has been using steel wool pads to clean my All-Clad pan. Can it be restored or is the finish ruined?
How do I clean a stainless steel pot that has been boiled very dry?
I totally burnt a stainless steel pan by attempting to create a simple syrup for my iced tea. I put the pan on to boil, and went to the computer. Bad mistake. After I got the smoke out of the house and dealt with the fire department (that some well-meaning person called), I now have this pan to clean. Boiling with soda helped a lot, but, there is still a fourth of the burnt on marks that I cannot get off the pan.
I even tried cooking tomatoes in it. That was a waste of tomatoes. I am going to go ahead and use it and watch for black particles, but wondered what else I could use to thoroughly clean it. I have also used Barkeepers friend, and a stainless steel "scratcher". Still have burnt on stuff on the pan. Word to the wise, boiling Barkeepers Friend in the pan doesn't help, either.
Any more ideas?
Jackie in Wixom, Mi
Have you tried a "good ole" SOS steel wool pad? I find that's the best way to get really burnt on foods out of stainless steel pans. I hope this helps. (10/07/2005)
Put about 1/4 cup fabric softener, fill with water, bring to boil, remove from heat, let sit for at least 24 hours. Most of it should come out with a plastic scrubber. May have to do it more than once but I even saved my slowcooker this way. Good luck. (10/07/2005)
I find that the "Scotch" sponges are the BEST! I have scrubbed burnt marks out with them. Good Luck! (10/07/2005)
Use a razor scraper. If you don't have one, go to the paint supply section of any store and they'll have one there. You can use just the razor but this is kinda hard to do. Done this many times! (10/07/2005)
I just saw a hint on TV about this. Take a cap of ammonia and a cup of water put on stove and bring to boil. Remove and allow to cool. Particles are suppose to easliy come up with finger tips or cloth. (10/08/2005)
I did the same thing a few years back and found a product by accident at Walmart (which I found only once! I now buy it on line because I LOVE IT!!). It's called Pure Clean, I found it for cleaning my tile counters in my kitchen (great for those hard to remove coffee stains). It was so amazing it even took off the burnt spot on a tile in my kitchen made by melted metal from my stainless steal copper bottom cooking pan (now that's a long story lol) Any way I went to the website on the package and they sell these cleaning stones for all types of surfaces, kitchen pans included. This stone even cleans the burnt black that just doesn't come off on your stainless steel pans! Go to http://www.goearthstone.comGOOD LUCK! (10/08/2005)
Thank you for your suggestions ladies and I had to laugh at the lady who went to the computer while a syrup boiled in her pot, went dry, started to smoke and the neighbour called the fire department!
I too went to the computer, forgot the pot on the stove and my pot burned dry and their was tons of smoke and now am trying to fix it with some of your suggestions. I'm going to try the fabric softener first. (10/31/2005)
By Sandra Vanderwood.
Just found this site discussing burnt pans after searching for solutions to problem. I had left oatmeal cooking in milk on stove for but 5 minutes and came back to blackened pot. Removed oatmeal from pan. Grabbed lemon from fridge, grated peelings into pan; then sliced lemon and squeezed juice into pot. Rubbed lemon around pot and then let sit while I came upstairs and searched Internet for other solutions to problem. After reading the above posts, I returned to pot and began gently scraping bottom with stainless steel spoon. Wow! The lemon did a remarkable job loosening the char and leaving the bottom of the pan (after final cleaning in warm soapy water) in a shiny, beautiful condition. (01/24/2006)
Spray with oven cleaner (Easy-off) Then scrub with steel wool, Brillo or S.O.S. pads. (01/24/2006)
This is an old trick of my mother's that always works for me with stainless steel pans. Fill pan one third with water, dump in 2 or 3 tablespoons Creme of Tartar. Let it boil and boil, add more water to pan as it boils down. You might have to repeat. This might work for you. I have found it doesn't scratch up my pan. (01/24/2006)
Use a dryer sheet and little hot water. (02/09/2006)
How do I clean the inside of a stainless steel pan that is burnt inside due to water evaporating?
Carol from Beverly, MA
I simmer vinegar and baking soda with very little water in any burnt pan for at least 20 to 30 minutes. Drain pan and while it is still warm scour with dry baking soda and damp scouring pad if needed. Seldom have to do it more than once before it is clean. This works on stainless and even cast iron, (which of course should not be cleaned with soap). (08/24/2006)
I left my stainless steel saucepan sitting on the stove after the water had boiled out. It now has black marks on the bottom of the pan. They look similar to tarnish stains on silver. Does anyone know how to get rid of these?
susanne_917 from Houston, TX
I put my pans in my oven when I clean it and they shine when they come out. Same thing with my baking sheets! (09/18/2006)
Make a past out of baking soda and water. Let it sit on the burn for few minutes, then scrub. Lay have to use more baking soda, and let it sit again depending on severity of burn. Then if it is still not coming all the way off, scrub with SOS pad. I do this all the time and it really works! (09/20/2006)
Soak overnight in Dishwasher soap mixed with a bit of water. Works great for roasting pans, cake pans, blackened cookie sheets (10/04/2006)
Left my old Revereware dripolator coffepot on burner to keep coffee warm. Forgot all about it, left house on errand and came back to burned smell and sad looking coffee pot. Did search and found this site. Dont have dishwasher detergent nor oven cleaner nor creme of tartar, nor dryer sheets. But did have some ammonia as per one suggestion above. It worked, not perfect but black gone and pot usable again. Thanks. (10/07/2006)
Can anyone tell me how to clean my pots and pans that have burnt stains and gunk all over the bottom and sides. They are the stainless steel pans. I would like them to look like they did when I bought them. God Bless and have a very Merry Christmas.
Angelheart from Clyde, Texas
I have Wolfgang Puck's stainless cookware and love it but have the occasional accidental burn. Usually I will put some water in the pot as we sit down to eat and then when I'm ready to clean up the kitchen after eating the only thing I usually have to use is a stainless steel scrubber that I bought at WalMart. Look by the sponges - it is a scrubber that looks like it is made of stainless steel itself, though I'm sure it's nylon. Very rarely do I have to use any cleaner other than plain old dishwashing soap. (12/19/2006)
Bar Keeper's Friend! Very cheap, very fast, and keeps MY Wolfgang Puck stainless looking BRAND NEW. (12/19/2006)
Try Greased Lightening, in the cleaning aisle of our local Wally mart (or other grocery, Home Depot store). For a really bad stain, rinse with hot water (I was always told it helps when polishing items, silver included) then lay down paper towels and douse with the cleaner, till nice and wet. P.S. Works good on grease stains and such on clothes. (12/19/2006)
Use equal amounts of salt and baking soda just just enough water to make it like a paste. Let it sit in the pans a few hours then clean it like usual. I use this to clean my oven. The chemicals of cleaning products make my heart race so I use this very inexpensive cleaning solutation. (12/19/2006)
By Ekathy june newborn.
Is there a way to clean or restore stainless cookware after water has boiled dry in it and turned it dark?
Cheryl from Alpharetta
First the chemistry - soak the pan in water so the carbon soaks up a little water. Adding anything that changes the pH of the water will help soften the carbon.
Second, you need to boil the liquid. When the liquid absorbed by the carbon turns from liquid to gas phase, it will crack the carbon.
This won't polish your SS, but it will make it much easier to clean by hand.
Good luck! (10/29/2006)
By Hot Water
Try Barkeeper's Friend (best price at Walmart) Sprinkle it on and lightly dampen it and rub rub rub. Don't leave it on over a minute, then scrub and rinse. You may need to repeat, but I usually get them out on the first try. THis is also great for stuck on food and rust! (10/31/2006)
I have burnt jam in my stainless steel boiler. How do I remove the hard burnt crust from the bottom of my pan without damaging the stainless steel?
I have used very fine emery paper to clean the interior and exterior of stainless steel pans. Use with mild soapy water. You may purchase emery paper at a Hardware store...could not find what I needed in the larger discount centers. Cannot remember the grade; but if you tell them what you are going to do and they will know. It worked for me and hope it does for you. (06/16/2004)
By Shirley Little
On Stainless Steel you cannot use anything that will marr the finish. The best way I have found was put water in the pan and let it loosen by heating the pan on the stovetop and letting it come to a boil, it usually loosens all the burnt food and particles. You may have to do this several times but it will come clean. My grandmother taught me this years ago before they had teflon on pans and it was all aluminum or stainless steel back then. (06/18/2004)
By Cheryl Walton
Boil about 1/2" water in the pan then take off heat and add some automatic dishwashing soap - the powder kind does the best. Let it soak overnight and it should come right off in the morning. (06/19/2004)
By Toni K.
Burned on food on your cookware? Don't reach for the scouring pads. Wet them down and sprinkle heavily with baking soda and leave for a few minutes. The grime should come right off! (03/06/2005)
Use finishing grade (#0000) steel wool pads & a cleanser like Bon Ami, Barkeep's Friend, or Saladmaster's Glo. Wash the pan with hot soapy water, rinse well; sprinkle the cleanser on the hot wet surface; rub gently with a circular motion until the stainless steel is shiny. For really bad or stubborn burns, add vinegar & water to Glo to make a soft paste; gently rub the discolored area; let stand about 5 minutes; wash, rinse & dry. (I cleaned a set of pots and skillets that a widower used for 11 1/2 years - with really burned on grease & scorches!); now they look like new. $40 for Glo, new handles, the #0000 & (literally) weeks of elbow grease as I watched TV after supper. The result is a complete set of cookware that costs over $1,000 today, and will be an heirloom, (b):o)(/b)
PS: Auntie would be proud if she could see it! (08/19/2005)
Buy stainless steel cleanser at your grocery or hardware store. It's next to the silver polish. Works by chemical reaction.
Put a dryer sheet in it filled with hot water and let it soak overnight.. It should come right out. (09/27/2005)
I have had a similar problem. I have been soaking and working on my 30 year stainless steel pot for four weeks now. I recalled what my dad said to do. He was a Marine in WWII and no doubt had to perform KP duty at one time or other. I have been boiling the pot with lots of distilled vinegar for about an hour while cooking supper. I occasionally scrape at the scorched crud with a meat fork. The pan is as good as new. No scrubbing. No stain. Why didn't I do this earlier. (02/27/2006)
By Quinn R
The easiest and quickest way to remove burns from a pan is to add coke. Cover the entire burn in any type of coke and leave to soak for 30 mins or so. Then remove the coke and wipe/scrub clean depending on the amount. Works every time (08/15/2006)
Scrape out as much of the dirt as possible with a wooden spoon, rinse and dry. Spray thickly with Oven Cleaner and let it sit overnight with the lid on. Repeat until the pot is clean. (10/05/2006)
By Carol Churchill
I did a dumb thing. I boiled water to heat a baby's bottle. Totally forgot about it after the bottle was ready, etc. I went to bed, it boiled completely dry and sat and cooked bare stainless steel for about 2 hours! 1. Is it safe to use again? 2. How do I clean massive discoloration on the bottom of the pot?
Nancy from Rochester, NY
I have heard to use plain old salt to clean the pan. (02/19/2007)
By Mary Ann
I have a stainless steel pan that I forgot on the stove and later found no food but ashes in it. It looked horrible. I boiled Coke in it for about 45 Minutes. It really worked, I got all the stuck on stuff off with just a brush.
The pan is still grey and doesn't shine though but I might even find a solution for that. (03/13/2007)
I swear by automatic dishwasher liquid. I have had to let stainless steel pans soak for days, but it always works; minimal scrubbing with a green scratchy, or curly scrubber. If the stain is really bad it may never completely disappear for the metal has been permanently altered throughout, but I still use the pan. Do not try this on aluminum. It will eat aluminum alive! (06/30/2007)
By Susan in WA state
I tried most of the hints above: vinegar & baking soda, dishwasher soap, cream of tarter (yes, I tried SOS pads too) etc. The one I found worked the best was, Barkeeper's Friend. I read where some of the other posters, had no luck. But worked for me! (07/31/2007)
I tried vinegar, boiling water, ketchup, and soapy water but none of the stuff worked on my burnt stainless steel saute pan. I found that using a baking soda paste and letting it sit for 15 minutes and then rinsing it out and then pouring baking soda and using a nylon scrub got out all my stains. (11/27/2007)
Thanks for the tips for getting out the burnt spots. To make them shine again polish them with lemon juice, or try the new stainless cleaner from the pampered chef (being released March 2008). (01/17/2008)
Try Cameo works wonders for me. Plain old burnt food, I just deglaze the hot pan with water and a wooden spoon. But for serious stuff it's the cameo. Keeps it pretty silver. (03/08/2008)
I tried the Coke method and it worked fabulously. I even used Pepsi and it worked the same. Thanks for the hint. One word of warning though: Don't let the Coke cook for too long or you'll have a sloppy mess and you have to do it all over again. (07/14/2008)
Tried the simmering baking soda bath. You can doubt if you want to. IT REALLY WORKS! Polyester lined oven mitt melted on HARD AS NAILS! Couldn't stand up to the Baking Soda Simmer Soak. Thanks for the posting, WhyMe in the ATL (07/29/2008)
Tried the simmering baking soda bath. You can doubt if you want to. It really works! Polyester lined oven mitt melted on hard as nails! Couldn't stand up to the Baking Soda Simmer Soak. Thanks for the posting,
WhyMe in the ATL (07/29/2008)
(Sent in by email)
I bought an oven mitt "100% cotton NOT", polyester lining burnt/melted to my Farberware Millennium. The department store was not willing to replace it. I ran across your posting and had not much faith. Yet to my pleasant surprise, a few minutes in the baking soda bath, brand spankin' shiny new!
Thanks a Bunch!
If you have stainless steel cookware, an easy way to clean stubborn stains (inside or outside) is to sprinkle the stain with cleanser, moisten a paper towel with vinegar and rub the cleanser around with the towel. Then wipe out with soapy water, rinsing good with clean water. Makes your pots shine! (and no more burned on gook!)
For stainless steel pots and pans, boil water in pan on stovetop to loosen all stuck or burnt-on food particles. Bring it to a boil and use a spatula to work it, you may have to do this several times but it works. My grandmother taught me this years ago, before they invented teflon. They only had stainless steel and aluminum back then. Be sure NEVER to use abrasives on stainless steel. It will ruin it.
By Cheryl Walton
Sometimes for extra hard stains, I add a bit of baking soda to the water before boiling it. It comes off very easily. (06/28/2004)
Cheryl, I have had my stainless steel cookpots for over 30 years and when they get stained with carbon, I put them in a trashbag and add 1 cup of ammonia. Let stand for a couple of hours or overnight and when you take them out just rinse with hot water or lightly scrub with a soap pad. They still look like new. Hope this helps, Monika (06/29/2004)
I use a nylon scrubbie, that is crochet from nylon netting. You can get get the pattern buy typing "scrubbies" on google. They are great for all kinds of kitchen and bathroom cleaning. (12/29/2004)
The BEST I have ever used, and its very cheap, it is called Bar Keepers friend. It is in the cleaning supplies at your local walmart/grocery store. Just sprinkle it in your cooker, add a little water to make a paste & rub all over the cooker. Then rinse off & wash with dish liquid. It makes it shine better than anything I have ever used. (01/12/2006)
I let my stainless steel grill get too hot. It is burnt, scorched. Any suggestions on getting it back to looking shiny?
Richard from Columbus, OH
I have always wet the burned area and sprinkled baking soda on it and made a light paste and let it set over night and the next day, it is so easy to clean. The burned food comes right off with the baking soda. Hope it works for you.
By Brenda (07/02/2007)
I have used a number of the above tips over the years, but when I purchased a very expensive set of pans after I had retired I learned some things. One is about the cleanser that they sent with the pans, "Bar Keeper's Friend". It is a very fine scouring powder.
When I burned some veggies in olive oil the other day, I first put a couple inches of water, shook in a generous 2-3 Tbs. baking soda and brought it to a boil. After letting it cool, emptying it and using a "non scratch" pad I still had stains. The Bar Keeper's Friend on a dampened paper towel shined it right up. I always towel dry after the final rinse to keep spots off. (09/21/2007)
I read the first few posts and didn't have any of the things suggested to remove stains (university student) so I just simmered white vinegar in the pan and gently stirred the bottom with a dish scrubber (the kind with a handle and bristles). The burns bubble and loosen quite quickly.
It was my roommate's pan and I burnt it horrifically. I had it back in the cupboard, spotless, all before she was out of the shower. Very effective. (Don't lean over the pan when the vinegar is evaporating, or you get a "cutting onions" response.) (11/01/2007)
By Cait Don
About removing stains from the outside of the pan, just do whatever you would for the inside, but in a pan or bowl large enough to fit your stained pan inside of. If you prefer to soak it in a solution, fill a bowl (or sink, if it is a wok, etc.) with the solution and place your pan inside; likewise, if you prefer to simmer a solution, do so in the larger pan and let your burned pan sit in the simmering solution. Hopefully it works for you! (11/01/2007)
By Cait Don
I burned tomato soup in my stainless steel sauce pan and tried everything I knew to do. I had already tried the Barkeeper's Friend, and it got rid of a lot of it, but a quarter sized piece would not come out. I found this site and tried the white vinegar, and it worked. It took about 10 minutes or more before it started working, but it finally did. Thanks. I've had the set of pans for over 30 years now, and wouldn't trade them for anything. (08/23/2008)
On the out side of the pan try a new green scotch bright pad and Barkeeper's riend liquid. It has citric acid that chemically removes the stain. I use this on stainless steel piping in food plants when we weld them. Also, you can try a new "stainless steel" wire brush from a welding supply store. Make sure it is not ordinary steel brush. It will leave scratches that will continue to rust forever. (11/25/2008)
Editor's Note: You might want to use the Scotch "Blue" pad rather than the "Green" one, as it is less abrasive.
Put an inch or so of water in the pan. Cover the burned area heavily with table salt. Bring to a boil - the burned areas should peel off with a rubber spatula. If any remains, try a second time. My pan looked good as new - after burned cranberries, oranges, sugar and raisins. (12/06/2008)
By Mary H
I burned oil in my pan... this is what I did:
I put water in the pan then poured baking soda over the stained area and then brought it to a slight boil, then I scrubbed it off with a scrubby sponge. What didn't come off that round I removed by using the baking soda as an abrasive and got the last bit off. Now you would never know that I burned dinner. (01/04/2009)
Throw a whole dish washing tablet in there and let is soak over night. That's if it's burnt on grease. (02/04/2009)
I was cooking some tea on the range after dinner and completely forgot about it until the morning. By morning, my pot was completely scorched on the inside. Does anyone have any suggestions that might help me remove some of the scorch marks so I can use this pot again? By the way, this pot is stainless steel and pretty large. Any help is appreciated.
Esther from IL
Put some (a tablespoon or two) of automatic dishwasher detergent, (dry or gel) into the pot. Fill it with enough hot water to cover the scorched area. Let it soak for 1/2 hour or so. Then take a dish brush or scrubby and work on the scorched area. If it doesn't all come off, let it soak a while longer. It may take a while to clean, but each time you work on it you allow the detergent to get to new areas. I've restored pans this way and hopefully you can, too. If the scorching is on both the outside and the inside, either soak it in a sink using a little more automatic dishwasher detergent or find something large enough to hold the pot and soak it in that. Wear rubber gloves if you try to clean it with a scrubby, because it is much more caustic than hand dishwashing detergent and will dry your hands.
A couple tricks I learned after a soup cooking disaster were:
Cut a lemon in half and rub it with that. My friend uses a cut lemon on her restaurant hot plate and it removes all the burnt on grease. She just keeps rubbing and when the lemon is squashed, and all the juice is on the hot plate, rubs it with a green scouring pad. Every bit comes off back to the bare steel. Its like magic and no detergent smell left behind.
To remove burn marks from inside pots put baking soda over bottom of pot and add household vinegar (white), about 1/2 cup and let it sit for a few hours. The vinegar and soda will bubble and then help scrub off the burn. Use a pot scrubber after a few hours and it should come clean. Wonderfulone from Hamilton
Editor's Note: This works well, but "do not" use on Aluminum pans. (08/31/2004)
No! Bleach will cause stainless steel to become pitted. You may not be able to see them with the naked eye, but this will permanently damage your stainless steel cookware. (02/03/2006)
Yes I found the dry dishwasher soap works the best. I deep fried my turkey and burned the outside of the pan. What I found to clean it the best is Cascade dry dishwasher soap with a little hot water and a green scrubber making the soap do the cleaning. Thanks for the help guys. (12/05/2007)
By the cleaning guy
I just tried putting dry dishwashing detergent and just enough water to cover the burnt areas. Then I put it on a stove to boil the water for a second and took the pan off the stove and let it sit for about 10 minutes and it came right off. My pot was severely burned with milk and I pretty much gave up and decided to buy a new one until I found this site. Be patient, it works. (05/28/2008)
I had a pot with rice burned to the bottom of it very badly. I tried all these suggestions, lemon juice, baking soda and vinegar, and I tried the dishwasher detergent for only a minute and letting it soak. Well it all helped a bit but there were some marks that wouldn't come off. Finally my mother-in-law suggested the dishwasher detergent and water and bringing it to a boil and letting it simmer for a long time. So I did that and let it simmer for about 45 minutes. Make sure it doesn't boil dry. Then used a pot scrubber and finally it came off. Yahoo! (09/17/2008)
Glass cooktop cleaner removes all the black marks from the pot with no scrubbing. I used Cerama Brite, but there are many brands. First I soaked the pot with hot water, dish detergent, and some lemon juice for about 4 hours. Then once all of the stuck on eggs (yes, I exploded hard boiled eggs all over the kitchen) were dissolved I used the Cerma Brite. It cleaned my 35 year old Farberware pot like new. Good luck. My biggest problem was my husband laughing so hard he cried. Carole (10/26/2008)
I am happy. I tired all these methods on this site, but they did not work. I cooked some peanuts last night and they burned (they tasted good though). I had some steel wool in the shed that is combined with a soap, so I used that. All the stains were gone in seconds it was really good and made me happy. (11/09/2008)
By Samuel The Delighted
A method I have found useful is to soak the cookware with detergent and water at least overnight and remove all surface and loose material. Then more than cover the material with water, drop in 2-3 denture cleaning tablets, and simmer for a few hours on top of the stove. When the water cools down, the material burned on can easily be removed by a nylon scrubbing cloth. The cookware is really left gleaming. This is a method to use "only" with stainless steel. (01/01/2009)
I was in panic mode when I left some Pam non-stick spray on a little too long in a really expensive frying pan while babysitting once. I took some oven cleaner and covered the pan, then stuck it in the oven on 200 for about 10 minutes. Once I took the pan out it came right up without any effort. What a life saver. (01/11/2009)
Use Glass Top Stove Cleaner. My pot is like brand new. (01/16/2009)