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How to Clean Stainless Steel Pots and Pans

August 9, 2020

The problem of scorched pots and pans is an everyday nuisance that affects even the most seasoned cooks and culinary professionals. So when this happens to you after cooking your favorite dish, don’t despair! Because of how common this problem is, kitchen and cleaning experts have come up with different techniques to solve it in a few easy steps. 

In this article, we’ll fill you in on a step-by-step cleaning guide when it comes to your burnt and sticky stainless steel pot or pan — and the best stain removers that can help you do the trick in an instant!

5 Easy Steps to Clean Stainless Steel Pots and Pans

stacked stainless steel pots

1. Scrape or wipe out excess oil

Before you clean a stainless steel pot or pan, you need to take out any excess oil first from the surface. This also includes any crusty or toasted food particles that have stuck to the cookware’s steel surface. 

To wipe these stains away from the pan or pot, use a spatula or a paper towel. However, if you’re dealing with sticky, deep-seated stains, you can loosen them up by scrubbing it with a long-handled dish brush.

2. Loosen or deglaze the stains by adding hot water

To do this, simply pour boiling water to deglaze the pan or the pot and slowly break away the mound of remaining stain build-up. Let it sit for a few minutes to allow the liquid to seep into every stain and prepare them for the next step. 

3. Soak the pan in cool water

Let the pot or pan sit for a while before submerging it in cool water. It’s important to let the cookware cool down for a bit — this way, you can avoid any warping due to the sudden change in temperature. 

Once the pot or pan has fully cooled down, submerge it in cool water. This step will allow the food bits and stains to come off, making them easier to clean and scrub off.

4. Scrub the entire pot or pan using a sponge

Once the stains have started detaching from the pot or pan’s surface, it’s time to get to cleaning. Get a scouring pad or sponge and apply a generous amount of dishwashing liquid. Scrub the cookware in a circular motion until all stains have been fully eliminated.

5. Rinse after cleaning

After taking all the grease and food stains off, it’s now time for the final step: rinsing. Just like any dish or glass in the kitchen, pour a stream of clean and cold water into the pot or pan to get rid of soap suds and stains.

3 Best Ways to Remove Stains

stainless steel pots and pans

1. Simple Stains

Cleaning a scorched pot or pan right after cooking is always the best way to get rid of food and grease stains. Most of the time, this technique works with the simple cleaning combination of soap water. But if you ever find that this duo isn’t cutting it, you need to use the next alternative: baking soda.

Simply mix the powder with water inside the pot or pan and stir until you create a paste. Let it sit for a few minutes and go at it right away with a scouring pad. If the stains still won’t come off, just add some more powder and water and repeat as necessary.

2. Bigger Stains

For bigger and tougher to remove stains, add a small mound of baking soda in the center of the pot or pan. Next, cover it with ¼ cup of water, turn on the stove and wait for it to boil. The boiling will cause the mixture to evaporate, leaving a film of baking soda around the walls of the stainless steel cookware.

After letting it boil for a few minutes, turn off the heat and use a scouring pad to scrub off the stains away. For best results, do this while the pain is still relatively hot. Wear a pair of safety gloves and use a long-handled brush if you’re not comfortable using the pad.

3. Grime and Tough Stains

For grime and extremely difficult stains, submerge the pot or pan in a larger pot filled with boiling water and baking soda. With minimal scrubbing and wiping, this is an effective way to make sure that every corner and surface of your stainless steel cookware will be cleaned thoroughly.

How to Prevent Food from Sticking and Staining

stainless steel pot on top of stove

To prevent the case of extra sticky and stain-prone stainless steel pans or pots, consider the following tips:

1. Use good equipment

Invest in high-quality cookware that doesn’t sacrifice quality and efficiency. This will allow you to cook and prepare meals at a faster rate without attracting all kinds of easy and greasy stains.

2. Use excellent cleaning methods and materials

If you want to avoid the risk of cleaning after burnt and sticky stainless steel pan or pot, then you also need to make sure you’re doing your part when it comes to your cleaning methods and materials!

3. Use good cooking techniques

Always have a watchful eye over your stainless steel pot or pan while cooking. Remember, a few minutes of browsing your phone can result in a charred meal and cookware!

4. Clean everything immediately after cooking

To preserve the lifespan of your stainless steel pot or pan, always make it a habit to clean it right after cooking. This way, you will also have an easier time of brushing away the stains and food bits.

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