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Cleaning Stainless Steel Cookware

Category Dishes
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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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.

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 Lee from Jesup, GA

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By 3 found this helpful
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.

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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.

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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.

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March 9, 20180 found this helpful

Oven cleaner, sanding disk, or steel wool are all good ways to clean burn marks from a stainless steel skillet. This is a guide about how to remove burn marks from a stainless steel pot.

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September 15, 20170 found this helpful

Scrubbing a stainless stop pot with a lightly abrasive cleaner like Bon Ami or Barkeepers Friend will get rid of any rust stains. That is how to remove rust from stainless steel pots easily.

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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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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


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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February 10, 20100 found this helpful

If the interior is 'bluish', pour clear Vinegar, place cover on, and heat up to boiling point. Let set for about 2 minutes and pour into kitchen sink.


If more drastic measures are required, use MAAZ S.S. Cleaner [a paste usually found with all the other household cleansers]...absolutely amazing. Then wash with a detergent (or use the vinegar method) to remove any questionable residues.

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February 10, 20100 found this helpful

Never use WD-40 on anything you cook with or eat off of! It's not meant for ingesting in any way, shape or form!

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February 11, 20100 found this helpful

WD-40 web site lists it as useful for cleaning:
* Displaces moisture from guns after cleaning

* Cleans woks after - cleaning
* Cleans blackened skillets - after cleaning

The bottom of the pan should be cleaned as well as possible, then soaked in WD-40 for at least an hour before attempting to clean again. And of course wash the pan again before using.

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February 11, 20100 found this helpful

I have never heard of using WD-40, but would only try it on the outside of the pan while still making sure to clean well with hot soapy water. Bar Keeper's Friend is a powdered cleaner that I have had good luck with for cleaning my stainless steel pots when they get discolored from heat or burnt food.

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February 11, 20100 found this helpful

I have all stainless steel cookware and I was having trouble finding something to use. Then I moved to a mobile home with a septic tank and did some research and found that white vinegar can be used to polish stainless steel. I now use white vinegar in my dishwater to cut grease and polish my pots and pans and silverware.


For the hard to clean pots I use white vinegar and baking soda.

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February 12, 20101 found this helpful

When nothing else worked (vinegar, baking soda, fabric softener sheets... all the usual tips you see), I most certainly did use WD-40! When I purchased my pots and pans, several years ago, I paid almost $500 for them, so, I was not about to send them packing;) A couple of my skillets had deep burn marks. I followed the directions on the can... spraying it only on the marks, then letting the skillets sit (if the marks didn't scrub right off, which they usually don't, right away), overnight, then tried again the next day. Usually, most of it will come off with a little scrubbing. If not, repeat process, untll all marks come off. You will have to scrub quite a bit, but my deep marks eventually disappeared. Afterward, I cleaned the skillets really good, in hot water, with Dawn dish detergent. They were like new, and yes, I have cooked with them since and no, none of us got sick. Hope this helps=)

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February 12, 20100 found this helpful

Not in a million years would I use WD40 to clean pans. I have good stainless too and use easy off on them. WD40 can cause seizures in some people so it is not something you would want to take a chance on.

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February 12, 20100 found this helpful

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.

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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 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 6, 20100 found this helpful

Pour some white vinegar in the pan and add some table salt and rub with a cloth or sponge and it should take care of the blue tint on the stainless steel.

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July 8, 20100 found this helpful

Barkeeper Friend is a mildly abrasive powder that cleans nearly any metal.

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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.


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 Alisa (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?


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

September 22, 20100 found this helpful

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

By Janet


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 Kathryn

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 Marge Mayhew

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 Poca

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 Gloria

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