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The best way to clean stainless steel cookware without damaging it.

The Best Way to Clean Stainless Steel Cookware Without Damaging It


Stainless steel cookware is a favorite among many home-cooks and professional chefs for its durability, long-lasting shine, and even heating. However, cleaning stainless steel cookware may prove to be challenging, especially if you want to maintain its shine without damaging the surface. In this article, we will share some tips on how to clean stainless steel cookware without causing harm.

1. Use Gentle Cleaners

When cleaning stainless steel cookware, avoid abrasive cleaners such as steel wool, stiff brushes, or harsh chemical cleaners, as they may scratch or dull the finish. Instead, use soft sponges or cloths with mild dish soap or vinegar. For stubborn stains, you can make a paste of baking soda and water and scrub gently. Rinse the cookware well and dry it with a soft towel.

2. Avoid High Heat

Although stainless steel cookware is known for its heat resistance, subjecting it to high heat levels may cause discoloration or damage to the surface. To avoid this, always use a lower heat setting than what you would use for other cookware and avoid leaving your cookware empty on high heat. If you accidentally overheat your stainless steel cookware, let it cool down before cleaning.

3. Consider Soaking

If you have burnt-on food stuck to your stainless steel cookware, soaking it can help loosen the food particles and make cleaning easier. Fill the cookware with warm water and a few drops of mild dish soap or vinegar and let it soak for a few hours or overnight. After soaking, scrub the cookware gently, rinse well, and dry with a soft towel.

4. Use a Stainless Steel Cleaner

If you want a quick and easy way to clean your stainless steel cookware, you can use a specialized stainless steel cleaner. These cleaners are specifically designed to clean stainless steel and restore its shine. Follow the instructions on the cleaner and always rinse the cookware well after use.

5. Prevent Sticking

One way to prevent food from sticking to your stainless steel cookware is by preheating the pan at a low temperature before adding your ingredients. This will make the surface non-stick and help prevent food from sticking. Avoid using metal utensils as they may scratch the surface and cause food to stick. Instead, use wooden or silicone utensils.

Closing Thoughts

Stainless steel cookware is an excellent investment for any kitchen as it offers many benefits such as durability, even heating, and long-lasting shine. By following these tips, you can enjoy using your stainless steel cookware for many years without fear of damaging the surface or losing its shine. Always remember to clean your cookware after every use, and it will serve you well for years to come.

Cleaning Stainless Steel Cookware FAQ

What is the best method to clean stainless steel cookware?

The best method for cleaning stainless steel cookware is to use a mild dish soap and warm water. Make sure to scrub the surface with a soft sponge or cloth in a circular motion. Rinse thoroughly with warm water and dry with a towel to avoid water spots.

How do I remove burnt food from the bottom of my stainless steel cookware?

In order to remove burnt food from stainless steel cookware, fill the pot or pan with enough water to cover the burnt area. Add a spoonful of baking soda or a dash of white vinegar to the water. Bring the water to a boil, and then let it simmer for 10-15 minutes. Once the food has loosened, use a soft sponge or cloth to scrub the surface. Rinse the cookware well and dry it thoroughly.

Can I use abrasive cleaners on my stainless steel cookware?

No, it is not recommended to use abrasive cleaners on stainless steel cookware as they can scratch the surface. This can lead to discoloration and damage to the cookware. Instead, use mild dish soap and warm water to clean your cookware.

What should I avoid when cleaning stainless steel cookware?

Avoid using steel wool, abrasive cleaners, or harsh chemicals when cleaning your stainless steel cookware. These can scratch the surface and cause damage. Also, do not use bleach on stainless steel cookware as it can discolor the surface.

Are there any special cleaning tools or products I should use for my stainless steel cookware?

No, you do not need to use any special cleaning tools or products. A soft sponge or cloth and mild dish soap will work just fine. You can also use baking soda or white vinegar to remove any stubborn stains or burnt food.

How do I prevent water spots on my stainless steel cookware?

To prevent water spots on your stainless steel cookware, make sure to dry it thoroughly with a towel after washing. Also, avoid letting the cookware air dry as this can cause water spots. Use a soft cloth to dry the surface and make sure to store the cookware in a dry place.

Can I put my stainless steel cookware in the dishwasher?

Yes, you can put your stainless steel cookware in the dishwasher. However, it is best to check the manufacturer’s instructions first as some cookware may not be dishwasher safe. If you do put your cookware in the dishwasher, make sure to use a mild detergent and avoid using high heat cycles.

How often should I clean my stainless steel cookware?

You should clean your stainless steel cookware after each use. This will help prevent food from sticking and make it easier to clean. For stubborn stains or burnt food, you may need to clean the cookware more thoroughly.

What should I do if my stainless steel cookware becomes discolored?

If your stainless steel cookware becomes discolored, try using a non-abrasive cleaner to remove the discoloration. Also, avoid using bleach as this can cause further discoloration. If the discoloration is severe, you may need to replace the cookware.

Can I use stainless steel cleaner on my cookware?

Yes, you can use stainless steel cleaner on your cookware. However, it is important to choose a cleaner that is safe for food contact surfaces and follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Also, avoid using cleaner on the bottom of the cookware where it can come into contact with a heat source.

How do I properly store my stainless steel cookware?

To properly store your stainless steel cookware, make sure it is completely dry before storing. Place a paper towel in between each piece to prevent scratching. Also, avoid storing your cookware in a damp or humid environment.

Cleaning Stainless Steel Cookware

Stainless steel cookware can be durable and long-lasting, but it requires proper maintenance to avoid scratches, stains and discoloration. Below are some related products and resources to help you clean your stainless steel cookware effectively:

  • Bar Keepers Friend Powder Cleanser – This powder cleanser is a popular choice for cleaning stainless steel cookware. Its non-abrasive formula can remove stubborn stains, burnt residues and discolorations without scratching the surface. Simply sprinkle a small amount of Bar Keepers Friend on a wet sponge or cloth, and gently rub the surface until it’s clean. Rinse with water and dry with a soft towel. This product is available on Amazon in various sizes.
  • Stone&Drip Stainless Steel Cleaner and Polish – This cleaner and polish is designed to restore the shine and luster of stainless steel cookware. It contains a blend of natural plant-based oils and surfactants that can remove fingerprints, watermarks, and smudges. It also leaves a protective film that can prevent future staining and oxidation. To use, apply a small amount of Stone&Drip on a damp cloth or paper towel, and wipe the surface in a circular motion. Buff with a dry cloth to achieve a polished finish. This product is available on Amazon in a 16 oz bottle.
  • Flitz Stainless Steel and Chrome Cleaner – This cleaner is a heavy-duty solution for removing stubborn stains and corrosion on stainless steel and chrome surfaces. It can also protect against rust and tarnish. To use, apply a small amount of Flitz on a microfiber cloth or buffing wheel and rub the surface until it’s clean. Rinse with water and dry with a clean cloth. This product is available on Amazon in various sizes, from 1.76 oz to 1 gallon.
  • Simple Green All-Purpose Cleaner – This cleaner is a versatile solution for cleaning stainless steel cookware, as well as other kitchen appliances and surfaces. It’s a non-toxic, biodegradable formula that can cut through grease, grime, and dirt without harming the surface. To use, dilute Simple Green with water according to the instructions, and apply it on the surface with a sponge or cloth. Scrub lightly and rinse with water. Dry with a soft towel. This product is available on Amazon in various sizes, from 24 oz to 1 gallon.
  • Scotch-Brite Stainless Steel Scrubbers – These scrubbers are a handy tool for removing stuck-on food and stains on stainless steel cookware. They are made of durable stainless steel and can scrub without scratching. To use, wet the scrubber and apply a small amount of soap or cleaner on the surface. Scrub in a circular motion, applying gentle pressure. Rinse with water and dry with a towel. These scrubbers are available on Amazon in a pack of 3.
  • The Spruce How to Clean Stainless Steel Cookware – This article from The Spruce provides useful tips and tricks on how to clean stainless steel cookware effectively. It covers different cleaning methods, from using baking soda to vinegar to commercial cleaners. It also suggests preventive measures to avoid scratches and discoloration. The article is free to access on The Spruce website.
  • Wikipedia Stainless steel – This article from Wikipedia provides a comprehensive overview of stainless steel, its properties, uses, and compositions. It also mentions common grades of stainless steel used in cookware, such as 18/10 and 18/8, and their respective properties. Understanding the nature of stainless steel can help you choose the right cleaning method and avoid damaging your cookware. The article is free to access on Wikipedia website.

Pros&Cons of Cleaning Stainless Steel Cookware

  • Pros:
    • Durable: Stainless steel cookware is highly durable and can last for many years if taken care of properly.
    • Easy to clean: With the right cleaning products and techniques, stainless steel cookware can be easy to clean and maintain.
    • Non-reactive: Stainless steel is non-reactive, which means it won’t interact with acidic or alkaline foods, unlike other types of cookware that can alter the taste of the food.
    • Stylish: Stainless steel cookware is shiny and stylish, and can give your kitchen a modern and sleek look.
    • Healthy cooking: Stainless steel is a safe and healthy material for cooking, as it doesn’t contain any harmful chemicals or toxins.
    • Dishwasher-safe: Many stainless steel cookware items are dishwasher-safe, which can make cleaning up even easier.
    • Suitable for all cooktops: Stainless steel cookware is compatible with a variety of cooktops, such as gas, electric, and induction.
  • Cons:
    • Prone to staining: Stainless steel can stain easily if not cleaned properly, especially if it comes into contact with certain foods or cleaning agents.
    • May require special cleaning products: To avoid staining and maintain the shine, stainless steel cookware may require special cleaning products that can be expensive.
    • Can be heavy: Stainless steel cookware can be heavy, especially when it’s filled with food, which can make it difficult to handle.
    • Expensive: Stainless steel cookware can be more expensive than other types of cookware, depending on the brand and quality.
    • Not non-stick: Unlike some other types of cookware, stainless steel cookware is not non-stick, which means you may need to use more oil or cooking spray to prevent sticking.
    • Prone to scratches: Stainless steel cookware can scratch easily, which can affect its appearance and make it more difficult to clean.
    • Poor heat distribution: Some stainless steel cookware items may not distribute heat evenly, which can result in hot spots and uneven cooking.

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