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January 4, 2023 | Tips and Advice

How to Clean Stainless Steel Cookware

How to clean stainless steel cookware

Stainless steel cookware is beautiful, especially when complimented with the range or cooktop. And if cared for properly, it could last you a long time. Unfortunately, so many at-home chefs can make an impressive meal, but their cleanup skills leave much to be desired – even when it comes to their cookware. Knowing how to clean stainless steel cookware is another skill all on its own.

Since a good meal can stem from great cookware, taking the time to understand how to properly care for it, how to address any problem spots, and how to clean it can be very beneficial.

Let’s take a closer look at how to give your stainless steel cookware the care and attention it deserves.

How to Clean Stainless Steel Cookware

Make regular cleaning a routine. But before you begin, make sure that you have given your pot or pan a chance to cool down first.

When it comes to cleaning your cookware, never ever use abrasive cleaners or cleaning sponges/cloths. In fact, just come to terms now with the fact that you should never use anything other than mild dish soap and a soft sponge for cleaning stainless steel.

Having food burned to the bottom of your pan may prompt you to use the trick of boiling water and baking soda to remove it. Or, you may even pull out the steel wool to scrub it off. Unfortunately, both of these things can be too harsh for the finish and cause damage. If your cookware has a warranty, this is enough to void it.

Once you are done cleaning it, be sure to dry your cookware right away to avoid any unwanted water spots.

Daily Care and Use

There is more to caring for your cookware than just washing it. So, if you find joy in cooking, then there is a good chance you are standing over your kitchen range quite often. Knowing a few best practices, if you will, can mean the difference between having stainless steel cookware that lasts you for years to come – and having to routinely invest in a new set.

Let your pans heat up slowly. You never want to place your cold stainless steel pan on a burner with high heat. Instead, heat the pan up slowly. When you have a good quality set with this finish, know that it holds heat. If you start off too high, you could risk burning your food.

Allow cold foods to warm up. When you put cold or frozen foods into a hot stainless steel skillet, they are likely to stick to the surface. The reason for this is that the metal contracts with cold. Before you begin cooking, make it a routine to allow your foods to sit out on the counter for about 10 or 15 minutes so that they are not too cold.

Heat your pan, then add oil. If you don’t want your food to stick to your stainless steel cookware, then let it heat up before you add your oil. Doing so will give you a nonstick surface to work with.

Boil first, then salt. Adding salt to pasta as it cooks can help prevent it from sticking together. It isn’t uncommon to fill a pan with water, throw in some salt, and put it on to boil. However, you do not want to do this with stainless steel. Allowing salt to settle on the bottom of the pan before boiling can leave marks, and a type of corrosion may occur. And just because you cannot see it doesn’t mean it isn’t there. Always get your water boiling and then add the salt.

Addressing Issues with Your Stainless Steel Cookware

It doesn’t matter how well you care for your stainless steel cookware, there are going to be times when you have a mess in your pan that you cannot seem to clean. Before you chuck it, there are a few things you can do to have your cookware shining like new once again.

Getting rid of build-up. If you have any build-up in your pot, don’t rush to scrub it. Instead, let it soak in some hot soapy water for a couple of hours. This will loosen any debris and make it easier for you to remove the build-up with a non-abrasive sponge.

Removing stuck-on food. Cleaning a pan with stuck-on food can feel like a challenge. First, try soaking the pan, as we discussed above. If that doesn’t work, then fill the pan (or pot) with soapy water that fully submerges the stuck-on food and bring it to a boil. Using a spatula or wooden spoon, try to scrape the food away. This should happen easily, though not always.

Last resort for removing stuck-on food. If you haven’t had success in either of the above methods, you can try to fill the pan with a little water, vinegar, and baking soda – then bring it to a boil. If you have Barkeeper’s Friend, this works well, too. Keep in mind that both of these are abrasive and can potentially damage your pan. You can still be gentle when using them and do so as a last resort.

Rainbow discoloration. While some find it to be beautiful, rainbow discoloration on stainless steel is not normal and can often occur due to overheating. Coating the pan in vinegar diluted with water will help to gently heal the pans so that they no longer have this color. Rinse and then dry.

Getting rid of white spots. White spots can begin appearing on stainless steel cookware and look like small chalky areas. This is often due to the water and the calcium build-up that stems from it. Again, vinegar diluted with water can help. Simply bring it to a boil and then let it cool. Wash and dry as normal.

Investing in Stainless Steel Kitchen Appliances

If you currently have stainless steel cookware – or you are considering making the investment – hopefully, these tips on how to clean stainless steel cookware can help you make the most of it. But before we go, we thought we should mention just how well this cookware will go with stainless steel appliances by THOR Kitchen. Can you picture it? A stainless steel pan on your stainless steel range with your stainless steel range hood above. It’s a beautiful sight.

Together, the timeless shine will last a long time – and through all your decor changes, too.