Daily use can leave your shiny stainless steel cookware discolored or burnt. This is a guide about cleaning stainless steel cookware.
Read and rate the best solutions below by giving them a "thumbs up".
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 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
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
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Here are questions related to Cleaning Stainless Steel Cookware.
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
By Joyce A Ratasepp09/29/2010
Elbow grease and magic erasers barkeeprs friend is also great
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
I am with Sixcritters, I love Bar Keeper's Friend for everything!
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
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.
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
By Runner Angi06/28/2011
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!
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 Kevin (Guest Post)01/02/2009
If it's something you dont want scratched like a gun, you can use #OOOO stainless steel pads and WD-40.
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 Litter Gitter07/15/2012
Easy-Off heavy duty oven cleaner might work. Spray it on and let it sit overnight.
How do I clean a stainless steel pot that has been boiled very dry?
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?
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!
Once a stainless steel saucepan has been burnt, but then thoroughly cleaned, is it then more likely to burn again?
By Val S.
By Louise B.10/13/2011
How do I remove burnt cheese from a stainless steel pot?
By Al from Erie, PA
By Purple Lizzie02/21/2011
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
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.
I forgot to mention that you should let it sit overnite. I usually stick the pan in the oven.
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.
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
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.
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.
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!
How do I clean burnt oil from a stainless steel pan?
By RichardT from Sterling Heights, MI
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
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?
My husband has been using steel wool pads to clean my All-Clad pan. Can it be restored or is the finish ruined?
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.
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
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 do I clean burnt sugar from an All Clad pan? It is badly burnt.
By Barbara from Naples, FL
By jean leiner10/20/2010
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.
How do I clean a stainless steel teapot with lots of tea stains?
By Dasguptat from Kolkata, W Bengal
By Barbara 05/18/2011
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.
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.
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.
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
Thrifty Fun has been around so long that many of our pages have been reset several times. Archives are older versions of the page and the feedback that was provided then.
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
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.
How do I clean the inside of a stainless steel pan that is burnt inside due to water evaporating?
Carol from Beverly, MA
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
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
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?
I did a dumb thing. I boiled water to heat a baby's bottle.
I let my stainless steel grill to hot. It is burnt, scorched. Any suggestions on getting it back to looking shiny?
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.
How do I clean a burnt stainless steel saucepan without damaging it inside?
How do you clean burnt oil from a stainless steel pan?
I have a burnt on food stain on my stainless steel pan from oil. I have tried baking soda, vinegar, simmering water with baking soda and vinegar and soapy water.
My daughter used my stainless steel pan when I was out and used a high flame and now my pan is a dark mess. Is there anything that can restore the color?
I burnt my stainless steel saucepan making jam, really bad. I rang my mum and she told me to cut up onions and boil it in water.
Cleaning Stainless Steel Pans. I want to say thank you to all that helped me with the cleaning of my stainless steel pans.
I have a question about cleaning a stainless steel pan: I was heating a thin layer of olive oil in my big frying pan when I got distracted.
I was heating water in a stainless steel pot and forgot it. It is scorched and burned. How can I get this cleaned?
I have new Paula Deen stainless steel cookware with stainless interior. Specifically, the "butter melter" one quart pan is no longer beautiful. My husband heated soup in it and then stuck it in the sink.
My husband burned the popcorn in my good stainless steel pan, leaving a lot of black marks stuck to the bottom. How do I get these off?
I have a stainless steel pan that was burnt on the inside. Now it has a dull look and grayish smears; it is not shiny anymore.
My pots and pans are very dirty. Other than a blow torch, what's the easiest way to get them shiny clean?
I tried everything suggested on how to remove the oil stain on my stainless steel fry pan and nothing worked. So I decided to try a razor blade scraper.
My son burned my new stainless steel pan. How can I clean it? The inside has black stains all over the bottom and sides.
I got busy and forgot a small stainless steel sauce pan on the stove. It was on the burner with nothing in it for quite a long time before I noticed it. How can I clean it and get it back to the shiny stainless steel color again?
I have a heavy duty stainless steel pan that I was using with my bamboo steamer. It had boiled dry and really left it badly burnt.
Due to my negligence, water dried up in my cooking pot and there are black and rainbow patches of stains on some internal and external surface of the pot. How can I remove and clean them?
How do I clean my stainless steel roasting pan, especially around the corners?
I was making plum jam. I thought I turned the pot off, but I turned it to low. I was gone too long and my new 18 qt. All-clad pot is burnt.
I have burnt a stainless steel saucepan. I had a little oil in the bottom of it and left it on the stove, it caught alight and now is quite burnt. I have tried cleaning it in the dishwasher to no avail. Please help.
I have an 8qt. stainless steel Farberware pot. I was boiling water and forgot about it. The water boiled all the way out. It burned the bottom of the pot black and a little on the side.
I had an oil fire in my stainless steel pot. I got the burned oil off the bottom of the pot, but the black marks on the side won't come off, neither will the black dots on the outside. Anyone have any suggestions?
Someone had the heat up too high in my stainless steel frying pan and burned the olive oil right into it. No amount of scrubbing or soaking has helped, not even boiling Cascade. Any ideas?