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Cleaning.Tips.Net Cleaning Tips

Cleaning Stainless Steel Pots and Pans

Stainless steel cookware is an extremely popular choice among many homeowners due to their durability and how relatively easy it is to clean. Relatively easy since cleaning stainless steel pots and pans does require a bit of extra work on your part than cleaning nonstick versions of the same cookware. That being said, all you really need to do is follow these simple instructions, and you will have your stainless steel pots and pans looking their best.

  1. Use vinegar. You will need to use vinegar to really get your stainless steel pots and pans nice and clean. Place the pot or pan you are cleaning into your sink, and then pour enough vinegar into the sink to completely immerse it. (Yes, that can be a lot of vinegar.) You will want to use white vinegar, which doesn't smell quite as much as regular vinegar. Allow the pot or pan to soak in the vinegar for at least 30 minutes before proceeding.
  2. Wash as normal. After allowing the pot or pan to soak for 30 minutes, drain the vinegar out of the sink. Refill the sink with some warm, soapy water (using your favorite dishwashing liquid). Wash the pot or pan as you normally would.
  3. Inspect. Once you have finished washing the stainless steel pot or pan, you need to inspect it to see how good of a job you have done. For most types of use, this should take care of the problem. In such situations, you can simply dry the pot or pan and then put it away. However, if you find that you have some burnt-on food that doesn't want to come off, you may need to take a few extra steps.
  4. Add water and vinegar. Mix one cup of vinegar, one cup of water, and one tablespoon of baking soda in the bottom of the pot or pan. (Double or triple if needed.)
  5. Heat the mix. Place the pot or pan on the stove, turn on the burner, and allow the mixture to come to a gentle boil. Let it boil for at least 15 minutes.
  6. Scrape the bottom. While the water, vinegar, and baking soda are boiling, periodically scrape the bottom of the pot or pan to help remove anything that may have been stuck on.
  7. Pour out and wash. Once the time has passed, pour the mixture out of the pot or pan, and wash as you normally would.

Before you dry the stainless steel pot or pan off and put it away, inspect your work again. You should have no stains, burnt-on food, or other problems with your pots and pans. However, if you do, you may need to repeat the entire process a few times until you are satisfied that everything is nice and clean.

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Comments for this tip:

butch    21 Mar 2013, 15:49
I use bleach to remove food stain on our enamal coated cast iron fry pan. I pour in straight bleach & let it rest for 1/2 hr. & pour out. Wash in hot soapy water, rinse & dry.
J J    19 Mar 2013, 16:42
Wouldn't an SOS pad scratch the copper? I use ketchup on my copper, but I just let it sit for 3-5 minutes, wash off the ketchup, and polish the surface dry.
Mel    18 Mar 2013, 11:24
To get the food off the bottom of a stainless steel pan, use baking soda.
After the burned food is removed, put ketchup on the bottom and let it sit for a while. Then clean it off with a SOS pad. If not looking nice and shiny, repeat. The copper bottom when you are done should look almost like new. Good luck.
Diane    18 Mar 2013, 10:23
How do you clean the copper bottoms of the stainless steel pots and pans if they have burnt on food on the bottom?

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