How to Clean Stainless Steel Pans

barkeepers friendHave you thought about switching to stainless steel cookware but you are afraid of not being able to cook in it properly and clean it?

I’m not going to tell you how to cook in it in this article although I will tell you that the main trick is to let the pan and cooking oil or other cooking liquid heat up first for several minutes before adding the food.

This article is to teach you how to properly clean your stainless steel pots and pans.  It’s actually not that hard, and is easier than non stick cookware in the fact that you don’t have to worry about scrubbing the coating off that keeps food from sticking.

I just recently switched to all stainless steel cookware. You can check out the post that gives a review of what I chose here if you are interested. I switched mainly because I wanted something that would last forever and not have the health risks that non stick cookware has.

I already had all stainless steel baking pans and baking sheets that I had since I started my homemaking journey.

Over the past 30 years, I have been able to keep my bakeware looking good though it occasionally takes a little elbow grease. Still I know there is a difference between baking with stainless steel and cooking with stainless steel.

I was actually so leery about cooking with stainless steel that I first purchased a large stainless steel fry pan to see how I liked cooking with it and cleaning it.  I soon was hooked on it and bought a whole set of it. Now I wouldn’t use anything else.

Now on to how to clean stainless steel cookware. I want to note, that I found lots of different ways to clean it but I’m only going to give you the ways that have worked best for me.

  • If I can see nothing much is stuck to the pan, I’ll just stick it in the dishwasher.
  • But if it looks like there is some stuck on food, first, as soon as I can after I finish cooking, I rinse out any excess food and fill with hot soapy water and let it soak a little while. I usually do this first, then do the rest of the dishes and clean up the kitchen. Then I come back to the soaking pan and use a nylon scrubby or a sponge with the abrasive side and scrub out the pot, then rinse. Most of the time this is all you need to do.
  • If I still see some stuck on food, I will liberally sprinkle some Bar Keepers Friend Cleaner on the bottom of the pan and fill up the pan just enough to cover the stain and cleaning powder. I will let this sit an hour or two, or sometimes overnight. This will always do the trick. You can find Bar Keepers Friend in the cleaning aisle in your grocery store or Walmart next to all the other cleaning powders (like Comet or Bon Ami).  You can also order it from Amazon here. I haven’t tried this yet but if you want a “green” alternative,  Simple Green makes a good stainless steel cleaner and polisher. You can find it here.
  • If I (God forbid) run out of Bar Keepers Friend, I will use white vinegar. Fill the pot with vinegar to cover the bottom and let sit a few hours or overnight. Then add a few squirts of dish washing liquid and scrub the pot and rinse.
  • One other way to get off the stains if you don’t have any vinegar or Bar Keepers Friend on hand is to fill the pan with water to just cover the stain. Put it on your stove and bring the water to a boil. Turn off the stove, add a few tablespoons of salt and let it sit for a few hours. Then scrub it out and rinse.
  • It’s best to dry your pots and pans immediately so water spots don’t form.

Here’s a great video on how to wash your stainless steel pans if your interested:

He mentions a product that really shined up the stainless steel called Cameo. I haven’t been able to find it in my local stores. He said it was really cheap but it wasn’t cheap at all on Amazon. Still if you are interested in it, check it out here.  It really polishes stainless steel cookware nicely.

Okay, that’s it for this post. Please let me know if you have found any good ways I haven’t found to clean stainless steel cookware.

Article by Cathy Ratcliffe



P.S. I got a great tip from Mrs. Mordecai in the comments so here’s the link to read her easy way to get burnt off gunk off pots and pans:








5 thoughts on “How to Clean Stainless Steel Pans

  1. I’ve heard non-stick is so bad for you but it seemed stainless steel always got so dirty. I’m definitely going to have to grab some Bar Keeper Friend and switch it up.

    best stainless steel cookware

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