How to Clean Stainless Steel Pans – 5 Unique Methods

Last Updated on October 13, 2021 by Boniface Muriuki

Cleaning your stainless steel pans is an essential maintenance activity that enhances their durability and efficacy. 

But how do you clean discolored stainless steel pans?

Well, if you have no idea how to clean stainless steel pans, then this guide is for you! We offer a step-by-step guide with easy-to-follow tips that will ensure that you get the best from your stainless steel cookware. 

How to clean stainless steel pans

Why Stainless Steel Cookware Are Popular

If you ask any chef, they will tell you that they use stainless steel cookware during their daily chores. But why is stainless steel so popular?

The pans are popular due to their versatility and durability. However, you should always invest in multi-ply cookware to get the best out of them.

Additionally, stainless cookware are relatively affordable. As such, many households can afford to buy them without a hassle. 

Are Stainless Steel Pans Nonstick?

Your stainless steel pans are not nonstick. However, the manufacturer may add a ceramic, Teflon, or any other nonstick coating on the surface. 

If you’re interested in a nonstick version of stainless steel pans or carbon steel pans, you can be sure that it will cost you more. 

Why You Should Clean Your Stainless Steel after Use

Buying high-quality stainless steel cookware can be expensive! As such, it’s only right that you take optimal care to ensure that it serves you for long.

Immediately after you buy it, you should clean and season it comprehensively.

Here is a complete guide on how to season stainless steel pans

These basic maintenance practices ensure that you avoid staining, discoloration, and scratching of the pans.

Are Stainless Steel Pans Expensive?

The price of stainless steel pans depends on quality and size. While you may get cheap brands, you should always be careful not to compromise on quality. Always insist on multi-ply stainless steel pans if you want the best functionality coupled with durability. 

Besides the quality, other factors determine the pricing of the pans. For example, some pans will have brushed stainless steel material with an aluminum base. One such product is the Calphalon Stainless Steel Cookware Set

These modifications are meant to enhance your cooking experience and they will, most likely, lead to an increase in price.

Overall, good quality stainless steel cookware can be more expensive than the aluminum ones. 

See the Prices of More Stainless Steel Cookware here. Sample different types of cookware with varying materials of construction 

How to clean stainless steel pans using vinegar

How to Clean Stainless Steel Pans: Step by Step Guide 

If you want to achieve a shiny pan, you should follow the following stainless steel cleaning steps to the letter:

  • Let the Pan Cool. You should always wait for the pan to cool before you start the cleaning process. If you throw it into cold water when hot, it will warp, thus reducing its longevity.
  • Use Warm Water. Always use warm and soapy water when cleaning your stainless steel pans. This will ensure that you remove all food materials stuck on the surface of the pan.
  • Use Non-Abrasive Material. If you must use a scouring pad, then you should ensure that it is soft to prevent creating marks and scratches. When using steel wool, you should ensure that you scrub gently. 
  • Always Dry Your Stainless Steel Pans before Storage. If you store your pan when wet, you risk the formation of water stains. As such, you should always use a soft and clean towel to wipe off all the water until the pan is entirely dry. 
  • In the case of burnt spots, you should always consider using baking soda. However, you should be careful to avoid over scrubbing since it would lead to damage. 

How to Clean Stainless Steel Pans with Vinegar

If you want your pan to remain with the shiny appeal, you should always ensure that you get rid of all stains and water spots. 

To achieve this, you should use vinegar solution to clean it regularly. There are two methods that you can use to achieve this. Follow the following guidelines for guaranteed results:

  • Method 1: 

Dilute vinegar using clean water in the ratio of 1:3. Add the diluted vinegar in your stainless steel pan. Place it on your stovetop and let the liquid boil. Once it starts boiling, switch off the stove, remove the pan, and rinse it. 

  • Method 2: 

If your pan has stubborn burnt marks, you should dry it completely then use a combination of vinegar and baking soda to scrub it. Sprinkle the baking soda on the bottom of the pan and then add vinegar (just a few drops). Scrub the pan until it achieves the glow then rinse it. 

Vinegar contains acetic acid which is instrumental in removing stains, burnt spots, and discoloration from your stainless steel pans. 

How to Clean the Bottom of Stainless Steel Pans

Cleaning the bottom of stainless steel pans can be tricky considering that the part is more prone to burning. This section will offer tips on how to clean burnt/scorched stainless steel pans. 

You should be careful not to let debris accumulate on the bottom of your pan since it will affect heat distribution and consequently impair your cooking process. 

If you want to remove the burnt debris instantly, then you can use any of these methods:

1. Use Baking Soda and Vinegar 

As described above, this combination will certainly restore the shiny glow to your scorched stainless steel pans. 

To achieve it, you should wet using water and add vinegar. Place it in your stovetop and let it boil. You should then add your baking soda and scrub gently until you see the shiny surface. 

If the marks are persistent, you should repeat this process until they disappear completely. Once you’re satisfied with the results, you should rinse the pan and dry it before storage. 

2. Use Lime and Salt

The acidity in the lime and the coarseness of the salt help you to achieve the best shiny stainless steel pan. 

To achieve this, you should cut your lime into two equal pieces and use a lemon squeezer to get the juice out of it. Sprinkle the juice on your pan’s bottom and add salt. Let it sit for approximately 10 minutes.

Read more on how to use a lemon squeezer here

After the 10 minutes, you should use a non-abrasive pad to scrub the debris. Ensure that you consistently do it until you achieve the shiny steel surface. Rinse the pan and dry it using a clean towel. 

3. Using a Dishwasher Detergent

If you choose to use commercial dishwasher detergent, you should ensure that you rinse your pots entirely to get rid of all the residual. 

To get a shiny stainless steel pan bottom, you should fill your basin with warm water and add 100 ml of the dishwasher detergent. Soak your scorched stainless steel pan for several hours.

Afterward, you should scrub it gently using a non-abrasive material. Rinse it with warm water and dry it. 

How to Keep Food from Sticking When Using Stainless Steel Pans

There is nothing that can be as irritating as food sticking on your stainless steel pans when cooking. If you’ve experienced that, then you need to season your pan.

Seasoning the stainless steel pans helps you to seal all the pores, thus achieving a smooth surface with reasonable nonstick properties. 

Additionally, the tips on how to clean stainless steel pans (as offered here) will help you significantly to ensure that your pan achieves best heat distribution.

How to Care for Stainless Steel Pans

Adequate maintenance of your stainless steel pans is necessary if you want them to remain in the best working condition for long. Here are take-home tips on how to care for the pans:

  • Always remember to clean and season your pan after buying (do this even when the manufacturer has not recommended it)
  • Learn the basics of how to clean stainless steel pans. For example, you should never use abrasive materials
  • Always dry your pans completely to avoid water spots. Use soft towels to avoid scratches
  • Never clean a hot pan using cold water to prevent warping. Let your pan cool for approximately 5 minutes before cleaning
  • Use baking soda and vinegar to remove burnt spots on the bottom of the pan
  • Avoid adding dry salt directly to the pan 

How to Clean Stainless Steel Pans – The Bottom Line 

While buying your best stainless steel pan is a step towards the right direction, it won’t help you much unless you learn how to clean stainless steel pans. 

This article will offer significant tips on how you can clean your pans to achieve optimum performance. You should follow the guide to the letter for the best results.

When cleaning your pans, we advise that you avoid highly abrasive materials since they will lead to scratches. In this case, you’re likely to reduce the longevity of your pan.

Additionally, seasoning your pan is instrumental! It eases your cleaning process since it eliminates the chances of food sticking on the surface when cooking. To achieve this, you’ll need to spread oil on the pan and heat it until you see smoke.

With this guide on how to clean stainless steel pans, you’re assured of longevity. Enjoy cooking with your stainless steel pans and become a pro!

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