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Cleaning Stainless Steel Cookware

Category Dishes
A badly burned stainless steel pan
Daily use can leave your shiny stainless steel cookware discolored or burnt. This is a guide about cleaning stainless steel cookware.
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July 6, 20041 found this helpful

Try using an oven cleaner on cooked-on, burnt messes in the bottom of stainless cookware. It works better than scrubbing with SOS pads!

By Linda

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February 16, 2009

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.

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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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By 6 found this helpful
May 22, 2009

This idea/tip is to make the handles of your cookware look new again. I KNOW that most cookware makers stress NOT to put your cookware in the dishwasher. BUT, when women are working outside the home, every minute counts when getting the dishes/pots done in the kitchen. Thankfully, I am no longer working outside the home. I can focus on looking for new ideas and ways to keep our home bright and shiny with the least amount of effort.
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When straightening out the cabinet that holds my cookware several months ago, I saw some really UGLY handles. I decided to try Baby Oil since it is just mineral oil and gentle to babies. I got the unscented kind. Yep, for a dollar at the Dollar Tree. I have used both Q-tips and cotton balls (if I have more that one or two to do). THIS IS NOT A PERMANENT FIX! But it will keep them looking shiny through several washes if you wash them by hand. It surely beats them looking so UGLY!

I just keep the Baby Oil under my kitchen sink and grab a Q-tip from the bathroom when I see one that needs to be re-shined. It only takes very little and I polish off the excess with a piece of paper towel or napkin. I make sure that no Baby Oil gets on any other surface BUT the handles. I felt that this would be the least harmful thing I could use. See the before and after photo. Yes, that was one of my UGLY handles from several months ago. Doesn't it look better?

I almost forgot to tell you that shining them has kept them from NOT returning to their previous UGLY state. I make sure that they look nice and shiny. LOL

By Southeastgeorgiapeach from Jesup, GA

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July 29, 2016

I got this terrific stainless steel whistling tea kettle at the church thrift shop yesterday for $2 (half price sale.) It was full of grease and dirt. The black handle had some white residue on it. I figured for $2 I could take a chance and see how the steel part cleaned up with a soap-filled pad. I assumed the handle would always be stained, but I could live with it.

The lady working there told me to use a Magic Eraser instead of steel wool to clean it. I use the knock-offs from the dollar store. Within 2 minutes the entire kettle, including the bottom and handle, looked like new, and I only used half of one pad.

I wish I had taken before pictures, but you can see the beautiful after results.

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By 1 found this helpful
June 25, 2009

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

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June 1, 2011

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.

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June 9, 20161 found this helpful

This guide is about cleaning burnt sugar from a stainless steel pot. When sugar is burned onto a pan, it can be a challenge to remove.

Pot with burnt residue on the left and the same pot cleaned on the right

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April 8, 20170 found this helpful

Removing burned on food or burn marks from your stainless steel cookware can be difficult. There are products and techniques that will help and not damage the finish in the process. This is a guide about cleaning a burnt stainless steel pan.

Burnt Stainless Steel Pan

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May 16, 2014

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.

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Questions

Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

By 1 found this helpful
February 10, 2010

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

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February 10, 20100 found this helpful

It is an industrial product and the can says not to be ingested. So I would not use it for cooking utensils, but that is up to you.

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By 0 found this helpful
January 8, 2005

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

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By guest (Guest Post)
January 9, 20050 found this helpful

SOS SOAP PADS WILL REMOVE THE RUST.....SLB

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By guest (Guest Post)
January 9, 20050 found this helpful

Make a paste of baking soda and water (just a small amount). Spread it on the stain and then rub it with a small piece of aluminum foil.

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By guest (Guest Post)
July 5, 20050 found this helpful

Baking soda may work.........some time later.....................well seems to be doing the trick! just need to get the girl to have some patience.....hmmmm....more difficult than getting rust off a bit of metal...

well it owrked i guess coz there r no complaints so far!

cheers now made our drum kit saleable....

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By guest (Guest Post)
August 21, 20060 found this helpful

I have a 4-qt. electric ice cream maker by Richmond Cedar Works of Danville, Va. The company is no longer in business, no source of spare parts. My RCW maker is fully functional. Just noticed that where the sides of the mixing container meet the bottom, there is a slight crevice and along the edge of the crevice there are a few very small rust spots. The beater/churn scrapes the bottom closely so there's really no room to put foil over it. Two questions: (1) any way to get rid of rust in a crevice?

(2) anyone think continuing to use it is a health/safety problem?

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By guest (Guest Post)
September 24, 20060 found this helpful

Beth--Thank you SO MUCH for this tip! I had rust spots all over the stainless steel door of my dishwasher and was about to have a fit over it! I googled for a solution and found your suggestion right away. Thanks for sharing!

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By guest (Guest Post)
August 4, 20070 found this helpful

Thank you Beth from deep in the heart of Texas! We had some rust stains in our sink and my wife ask me to search the net and I found your comment. Worked like a charm! :D

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By guest (Guest Post)
September 23, 20070 found this helpful

You are a genius. Beth! Tried Beth's remedy on the front of my brushed steel fridge door - which had started to have rust spots. I was scared to use the foil (thought it would scratch the surface) but as long as you go with the grain it doesn't scratch and gets the rust off immediately - amazing! Thanks!

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By guest (Guest Post)
April 21, 20080 found this helpful

My stainless steel door of my brand new oven started to rust because of the humid weather. I tried the tooth brush method with baking soda however didn't work too well. Then I found Beth's, it works PERFECT! Even I rubbed the foil real hard on the door, it leaves no scratch. Thanks so much Beth!! =D

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By guest (Guest Post)
June 12, 20080 found this helpful

WOW! Thank you BETH! Worked like a charm! I thought my sink was ruined- but it now looks brand new! The paste with baking soda was perfect- rubbed with aluminum foil and immediately it was perfect again! Thanks! Leslie, GA

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By guest (Guest Post)
August 6, 20080 found this helpful

Thank you Beth! I read your helpful tip and I did it immediately and it worked. Now I can steam my daughters food!

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By guest (Guest Post)
August 15, 20080 found this helpful

Wow - THANK YOU! Was about to can some peach jam, and my pot had rust stains from the wire rack. A few minutes with the foil and baking soda, and rust no more! Thank you thank you! You saved me and my bag o' peaches!

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August 19, 20080 found this helpful

I agree sos soap pads will remove the rust, but you risk the chance of scraching the pot. I found the best item on the market (you can buy at any discount store or grocery store) is barkeepers friend. The best way to use this product for this purpose is to sort of make a paste with it and it just takes the rust away. When I say make a paste, it is just this easy. I sprinkle the barkeepers on the rust and use a wet dish cloth and scrub. (or more like wipe). I use this stuff all the time. It takes the ugly rust stains off your showers, tubs, and counters that are made with your aerosole cans (hairspray can). I also use it in this manner to take off burned (black!) on food in my stainless steel pots. Works great! Becky

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By guest (Guest Post)
November 4, 20080 found this helpful

Hello,

I used the aluminum foil/baking soda on the inside of a tea pot. It got all but one little tiny spot of rust off, in a crevice that was hard to reach. Thanks for the tip!

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By guest (Guest Post)
December 5, 20080 found this helpful

Good job Beth! this is a winning combination. My door on my stove has been rusted for 3 years... finally someone knows some good household cleaners! Don't trust products that say they are safe for stainless steel... I found out the hard way that they're NOT! Now I'm cleaning EVERYTHING! My wife will be so HAPPY. Thanks, BETH!

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By guest (Guest Post)
December 12, 20080 found this helpful

Right on Beth! baking powder paste and foil -- perfect!

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By guest (Guest Post)
December 12, 20080 found this helpful

Thank you so much for rescuing my expensive stainless pot from the rust attack. The baking soda and water technique worked great.

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By guest (Guest Post)
January 2, 20090 found this helpful

If it's something you dont want scratched like a gun, you can use #OOOO stainless steel pads and WD-40.

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By 0 found this helpful
July 9, 2010

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

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February 17, 20131 found this helpful

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?

By Bunny

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By 0 found this helpful
November 27, 2007

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.

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November 27, 20070 found this helpful

The inside of my stainless steel cookware has a tendency of getting discolored, so what I do is pour in a small amount of vinegar and that cleans it up very nicely.

Pour some vinegar and salt on the copper bottom and rub with a dishcloth. The salt acts like an abrasive. You can use any vinegar. The vinegar and salt do a great job in cleaning copper.

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November 30, 20070 found this helpful

Copper bottoms can be cleaned with catsup. The acid from Tomatoes does the trick. Adding baking soda may help the stainless part.

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By guest (Guest Post)
December 1, 20070 found this helpful

Get some Bar Keeper's Friend (looks like Comet) from Walmart. Try that. I recently attended a cooking show and that was one of the tips I received.

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December 9, 20070 found this helpful

Tomato sauce also works well. Just coat the pot and wipe it with some paper towels. Repeat as needed.Then wash, rinse and dry. GG Vi

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By 0 found this helpful
May 13, 2011

How do I clean a stainless steel teapot with lots of tea stains?

By Dasguptat from Kolkata, W Bengal

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By 0 found this helpful
February 1, 2017

How do I get black spots, from boiling cloves and cinnamon in water, out of the inside of my vintage Farberware 1 qt. pot?

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November 26, 20110 found this helpful

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?

By EH

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By 0 found this helpful
September 22, 2010

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

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By 0 found this helpful
October 19, 2015

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! :-)

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January 16, 20140 found this helpful

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

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January 10, 20140 found this helpful

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.

By ATM

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January 9, 20140 found this helpful

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.

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August 9, 20130 found this helpful

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

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August 5, 20130 found this helpful

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

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April 27, 20130 found this helpful

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.

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March 23, 20130 found this helpful

My husband has been using steel wool pads to clean my All-Clad pan. Can it be restored or is the finish ruined?

By Helen

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May 13, 20120 found this helpful

How do I clean a stainless steel pot that has been boiled very dry?

By Ina

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Archives

ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

March 7, 20110 found this helpful

I just bought a stainless steel skillet. I wanted to sear pork chops. Okay, I did that alright, seared the whole pan. Now my nice shiny skillet looks a mess. I've managed to clean the inside, but how do I clean the underside so that it sparkles again? Please help.

By bluegardenia from Toronto, CA

Answers:

Removing Burns from Stainless Steel Pan

There is a product called "Astonish" I believe that it is from England and available on QVC. This stuff is fabulous for stainless steel and your oven as well. (12/22/2009)

By Cyndi D.

Removing Burns from Stainless Steel Pan

A great way to get burnt on food from the inside of stainless steel pots and pans is to go to the hardware store and get a 3M ScotchBrite sanding disk. They're made of some kind of light abrasive impregnated plastic mesh. They're used for sanding and removing paint or rust (I used it on my F150). They are about 6 bucks. Put it on your cordless drill and voila! Burnt stuff is gone. And it's not going to scratch it up either.
(12/22/2009)

By stevelaw1000

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November 2, 20100 found this helpful

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. How do I clean the inside, the outside is still shiny.

By Toni C. from Delray Beach, FL

Answers:

Removing Burn Marks from a Stainless Steel Pot

Try soaking it in a sink of water that has baking soda in it (maybe a half-cup in a shallow sink of water). (09/20/2010)

By joanne

Removing Burn Marks from a Stainless Steel Pot

Try ammonia, works best for me. (09/22/2010)

By Laniegirl

Removing Burn Marks from a Stainless Steel Pot

Lemon juice always works for me. (09/23/2010)

By Julieleven

Removing Burn Marks from a Stainless Steel Pot

Whilst steaming artichokes (like it matters), water ran out and burnt the pot. I took everyone's advice and slightly modified to incredible results!

I used 2 parts Javex beach, 4 parts water, two dryer sheets, and left outside for 24 hours. A brief rub after with an SOS pad, and the pot is better than new! (09/29/2010)

By jvh

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September 22, 20100 found this helpful

How do I clean my stainless steel roasting pan, especially around the corners?

By Janet

Answers:

Cleaning Stainless Steel Pans

Bar Keepers Friend. It is the best cleaning product on the market for stainless steel. Your cookware will look like new. It is in grocery stores in the cleaning department. Awesome! stuff. It keeps my Princess House Cookware looking brand new. It comes in liquid form or cleanser type. (02/28/2010)

By Kathryn777

Cleaning Stainless Steel Pans

SOS, soap filled steel wool pads, along with a little elbow grease will keep them clean and bright. Use them to clean those corners each time you use the pan and you won't get that heavy baked/burned on grease that's so aggravating to scrub off. My baking pans and cooking pots have been in use for over 40 years and they still are shiny and new looking. I'm never ashamed for folks to see them. (03/01/2010)

By Grandma Margie

Cleaning Stainless Steel Pans

If you know someone who sells Pampered Chef products, ask about the stainless steel pot cleaner. It is a liquid and not much is needed to clean pans. Works great; looks like new. (03/03/2010)

By Indianone

Cleaning Stainless Steel Pans

Again Barkeepers Friend. Ive been using it on my 35 year old Revere Ware inside and out for years. It works great even on the copper bottoms. My pots look so good I hang them on a rack when not in use. (07/13/2010)

By nineleven47

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September 19, 20100 found this helpful

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?

By Grace from Boston

Answers:

Removing Burn Marks from Stainless Steel Pot

I would try Bar keeper's friend. It's a powder cleaner in a can like Comet or Ajax. (Gold with some writing on it.) It's about 2$ a can. (02/17/2010)

By Kbritt87

Removing Burn Marks from a Stainless Steel Pot

Liberally pour a little tomato sauce or ketchup in the pan and smear it and leave it for 3 to 4 hours in the pan. The black marks and the rainbow color easily vanishes and you tend to give a new look to your stainless steel pan. (02/18/2010)

By jabast

Removing Burn Marks from a Stainless Steel Pot

I just burnt the inside of my pot. Tried dish liquid and water, it didn't work. Then I thought how borax works on so many things, I heated water and about a tablespoon of borax. This loosened most so I could scrap it with a metal utensil. Now I have a little of Fume Free oven cleaner working on it. (02/20/2010)

By suem1009

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