Stainless steel pots and pans start off positively gleaming when they’re shiny and new. But they can quickly become dull looking and worse for wear. Not to mention that they can scorch easily. Tired of your cookware always looking a wee bit dirty? You really need to learn how to clean stainless steel pans. Continue reading for some simple, easy steps to recover that gleam.
How to Clean Stainless Steel Pans: Routine Job
Generally speaking, stainless steel is dishwasher safe, and that includes pots and pans. However, many manufacturers will recommend washing their stainless steel pots and pans by hand. If you are concerned about voiding any lifetime warranties, then you should follow the manufacturer’s instructions for your particular pans. Also, if you have tough situations like burned-on grease, the elbow grease method is always the best.
Cleaning stainless steel by hand
Step 1. Scrape out any excess food or oil from the pan.
Step 2. Run the pan under hot water to deglaze any oil or butter than has hardened.
Step 3. Use a dish sponge, brush, or plastic scraper to loosen any food stuck on.
Step 4. Use a sponge or scouring pad with a dab of dish soap to clean the interior and exterior of the pan.
Step 5. Use hot water to rinse away the soap and residue.
Step 6. Dry using a soft, clean dishtowel and put away.
The steps outlined above are perfect for immediate clean-up of pans recently used. Cleaning off tough stains and burnt pans will take a little more effort and products.
A word of caution: Never put your hot pan in cold or lukewarm water. When your pan comes straight off the stove, it may seem easier to clean, but if you submerge it in cold water your pan will warp. (If this advice comes a little too late for you, check out our guide on how to unwarp a pan.)
How to Clean Stainless Steel Pans: Burnt Ones
The name stainless steel implies the cookware cannot stain; however, burnt oil and butter, cooking sprays, and food residue can cause major unsightly discoloration on these pans. There are a few methods you can use for how to clean stainless steel pans that go above and beyond the steps listed above for when you are having trouble removing stains.
Abrasive Cleaning Products
Stainless steel pans with burnt-on layers of oil can usually be cleaned by adding an abrasive cleaning solution to your dish soap and water method. Cleaners such as baking soda, Bar Keepers Friend, and stainless steel cleaning products can make a significant difference in your pan’s appearance. They can break down the particles making the stains easier to remove.
Avoid using oven cleaner or any harsh chemicals on your pans however because they can cause permanent damage and dull your finishes.
Boiling Baking Soda
If you have tried the abrasive cleaning products and your pans are still burnt and not coming completely clean, try boiling your pans in a baking soda and water solution to get a deeper clean.
You will need to let the pan boil for up to 30 minutes with up to one-half cup of baking soda. During that time, you should be able to see the bits of brown residue and stains begin to lift from the surface and flake off.
How to Avoid Burning Your Stainless Steel Pans
One of the best ways to keep your stainless steel pans clean and stain-free is to avoid burning them in the first place.
Many people end up spending so much time and energy trying to clean pans to no avail, they end up throwing the pans away and purchasing new ones. Do not let baked-on grease or oil cause you to replace your pots and pans; instead, use these techniques to avoid your pans burning in the first place.
- Use pans from a tri-ply stainless steel cookware set. They are less prone to scorching because they heat evenly.
- Preheat your pan and cooking fat so that your raw meat does not bond to the pan when placed down.
- Heat your pan first and then the oil rather than putting the oil in the pan first, then allowing the pan and oil to heat together. Oil breaks down the longer it is exposed to heat so the less time the oil is in the pan, the more effective it is.
- Always pat dry meat or rinse vegetables before going into the pan so that the layer of moisture is not being cooked first which can lead to scalding, especially when cooking with dairy.
- Never leave your pan unattended or forget about it while preheating or on the stove. The last thing you want is to step away and come back to your pan oil being on fire.
Cuisinart Multiclad Pro Tri-Ply Stainless Steel 12-Pc. Set
How to Clean Stainless Steel Pans: Closing Summary
When you accidentally burn a pan, it is important to clean it right away before the stains set in and become harder to remove. Never put a hot pan directly into the water, but you can scrape a hot pan over the trash to remove the burnt-on food while it is still hot. Let the pan cool completely before you begin washing to avoid warping as well as accidentally burning yourself.