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Cleaning Stainless Steel

Martha Stewart Living, April 2006

Conventional wisdom holds that pots and pans should be given a good soak. But every metal has different properties and requires special care. Stainless steel is prone to stains from heat and hard water. To remove them, apply white vinegar with a soft cloth and rub. Always dry thoroughly after washing to prevent a film from forming. Never soak stainless steel cookware; this will result in pitted surfaces.


Comments (55)

  • Brenda McKay 14 Jan, 2015

    The pot and pan set that is displayed for cleaning SS is the set I have including the screen protector and the insert for poach eggs. I love this set. I have owned it for about 15 years. I just wanted to let you know this is a good quality set. My son has a Kitchen Aid set that the covers for his set will fit my "Martha Stewart Everyday" set. The thing about the Kitchen Aid it has rust stop on it, very thin material and cost a lot more than the set I bought. Love"Martha Stewart Everyday"

  • rebn2000 22 Sep, 2014

    I had read on Pinterest that a home remedy to clean water drips from stainless appliances was to cut open a lemon & run it over the stain, clean it with warm soapy water, wipe dry. I have done this several times & it worked beautifully. I noticed several streaks on my refrigerator door that would NOT come off with warm soapy water or even a light rubbing of the lemon. It faded slightly. I decided to let the lemon sit a little longer, got distracted & didn't remember until the next day that I had not wiped it off. I could see the lemon residue still stuck on the door but saw NO STAINS underneath! Yes, it was gone...but when I wiped the door down with warm soapy water & dried. The door was discolored-- the area was lighter than the rest of the door. See the picture below!! Please HELP. The refrigerator is barely a year old & I can't afford to replace it. Is there anything I can use to bring it back to the original look? DESPERATE!

  • LuanneG 14 Mar, 2009

    Dawn Power Dissolver works like magic on burnt cookware. It can be used on pots and pans, and it is especially useful on broiler pans. Spray it directly on the burnt pan, without adding water. It needs to be set aside for at least 15 minutes (or longer). If it's left long enough to dry, put it in the sink to soak. With very little extra effort, the pan shines like new. I've even used it on my extremely old pans to remove buildup from the crevices where the handle is attached to the pan.

  • valentinedeb 13 Mar, 2009

    I have always used Cameo cleanser. It's non-abrasive and specially formulated for stainless steel. My pots look almost new and they're 8 yrs old. It's great for removing black burnt on stains from cooking with a gas stove.

  • CertainlySusan 9 Mar, 2009

    To remove burnt on matter from stainless steel pots, fill with water, add baking soda and then bring to a boil. The burnt stuff should float away.

  • eileenhoney 8 Mar, 2009

    The bottoms of my All-Clad frying pans are stained really bad. I am afraid to use anything too abrasive. HELP!!!!

  • rstrammell 5 Mar, 2009

    I use "Bar Keepers Friend" and it works wonders.

  • kitkat0708 5 Mar, 2009

    I've also burnt my SS pots before. I use a little dish soap and water and bring to a boil and the stuck on food comes right off. I've been doing that for years

  • skyspirit464 4 Mar, 2009

    Katfrantz, try Easy Off Oven cleaner that you use in cold ovens. It works wonders on my stainless steel grill.

  • katfrantz 4 Mar, 2009

    I Ieed help with stainless steel cook top. Electric burners have a great deal of burned on stuff around them I can't get off.

  • catwhisperer 4 Mar, 2009

    Like manymany other posts, I concur that Barkeeper's Friend works wonders on your kitchen sink! It removes rust without having to use much elbow grease, and it rinses to a glorious shine. I learned about this product from Martha, actually - it is pictured in her Homekeeping Handbook. =^..^=

  • Haylielee 4 Mar, 2009

    I like this method coz my house cultery always give me headache...
    Will try n see how it goes...
    But, i believe this method can give me a big relieve...

  • meeknmild 4 Mar, 2009

    Nice pots !! I have these "Martha" pans, purchased from Kmart serveral years back- I absolutely love these beauties. I NEVER pile them in the cupboard, but hang them on pegboard from hooks in my pantry, they look almost new- cleaning cooked on eggs or the like is as easy as 1- add water to cover the bottom, 2- bring to a boil- 3 let cool

  • 1Linda 3 Mar, 2009

    I Clean my stainless steel pots by pouring lemon juice in them and swishing it around. Then wash as usual. Works everytime with no problem or effort. As for the rainbow hue that usually comes from starch, such as cooking pasta in the pot. Lemon juice works wonders!

  • MsMonty 3 Mar, 2009

    I too have done this to my most expensive copper and SS pots.... however if you try a bunch of salt and a bit of olive oil to fill in the pitting - you will at least get proper temp's for each time that you use this pot - and most pots that you are using call for salt and oil for frying.l

  • MsMonty 3 Mar, 2009

    I too have done this to my most expensive copper and SS pots.... however if you try a bunch of salt and a bit of olive oil to fill in the pitting - you will at least get proper temp's for each time that you use this pot - and most pots that you are using call for salt and oil for frying.l

  • Kiwicook 3 Mar, 2009

    CaliDog, the rainbow hue is from the pots being overheated at some point, as it changes the molecular structure of the stainless and it will not come off. I've burnt a very expensive pot and it now has this effect, and although it does not seem to effect the cooking, it does seem to "catch" on the bottom more often.

  • kwconchette 3 Mar, 2009


  • CaliDog 3 Mar, 2009

    What exactly does "pitted" mean? I've had my stainless steel cokware for about 7 years, and have always soaked it to remove stuck-on food. I've even used Brillo pads, but have learned recently that I shouldn't be using those either. My pans have begun to develop a rainbow hue. What's that from?

  • lindacabler 3 Mar, 2009

    Hydrogen peroxide will often remove stains. You can also use it on cotton clothign to remove stains if they do not fade.

  • mykele 3 Mar, 2009

    Cleaning stainless steel??? I thought that this was supposed to be
    the Organizing tuype of the day. The cookie of the day has
    candy recipes too so guess artistic license reigns..............

  • DufferD 3 Mar, 2009

    I have All Clad and use Barkeepers Friend. It is wonderful for the sink also

  • joyously 3 Mar, 2009

    Hi Loki5, Hey catsup can be used in case of emergency but not used all the time

  • JoanMilke 3 Mar, 2009

    I have a set of Cory Stainless Steel pots and pans that I bought 50 years ago. I use Kleen King on a damp paper towel after each use. Today they look as good as the day I bought them. My daughter begs me to leave them to her in my will !

  • loki5 3 Mar, 2009

    The gentleman who made the amazing martha Stewart copper cookie cutters a few years back for the catalog she used to have recommended ketchup to clean copper.

  • DallasCarolynH 3 Mar, 2009

    I have a new stainless steel sink and use a dusting cleaner (like Pledge) to clean it and my granite countertops. This helps repel water spots as well.

  • Cin1665 3 Mar, 2009

    i sprinkle the burn with backingsoda, then add hot water (about an inch and a half deep) and put on the stove and bring to a soft boil for a about 10 minutes, turn off heat and let it sit on the stove to cool. when warm, try scrubbing the burn with stainless steel powder scrub. i hope this helps :) good luck

  • Osirissoy 3 Mar, 2009

    I find that baby oil works best on stainless steel appliances and smells much better than WD

  • jeanchoi 3 Mar, 2009

    Does anyone know how to get burnt stains off of SS pots? I accidentally burnt the bottom of my pot. SOS helped a little but there must be an easier way. My arm can only take so much scrubbing. HELP!

  • kyriakoylias 3 Mar, 2009

    for stainless steal appliances, WD-40 works like a charm. Clean first with windex or cleaner. Spray with WD-40. Keeps fingerprints from sticking for at least a week. (smells a bit but well worth the appearance!!) Good luck

  • elaynemay 3 Mar, 2009

    a local restaurant in our town polishes off a clean stainless steel sink with cooking olive oil (the least expensive--the better economically) to give it a temporary shine. It might smell more like a kitchen than a mechanical oil.

  • euni 3 Mar, 2009

    Karenwendi, I have used flour, salt and vinegar mixed into a paste for years. I usuall use a 50:50 mixture of flour and salt and enough vinegar to make a paste. Just smear it on the copper item, let it sit for a few minutes, rinse off then wash as usual. If the copper is heavily stained repeat uses may be required.

  • dsuemor 3 Mar, 2009

    HI: I live out with well water, with SS kitchen sink, appliances, thought with new it would be easy to keep, but "wrong" or atleast with my well water. I have tried white vinegar and it helps but I can not seem to get it "shinny" as new. Can anyone help?

  • lebell 3 Mar, 2009

    Actually for SS appliances spray a little WD-40 on a rag and apply.

  • diannam 3 Mar, 2009

    Martha recommends paper towel and windex for cleaning stainless appliances, but a watery paste of Barkeepers will do the most amazing job. just have to use is mildly abrasive. Agree with other poster, It will make a stainless steel sink look like new! Better not sing the praises any more or BKF will get expensive!

  • makeshagn 3 Mar, 2009

    Does the same apply for staneless steel appliences - my fridge has finger prints and im sure my general kitchen cleaner isnt very good for it!

  • makeshagn 3 Mar, 2009

    Does the same apply for staneless steel appliences - my fridge has finger prints and im sure my general kitchen cleaner isnt very good for it!

  • Ardgg 3 Mar, 2009

    I love Barkeeper's Friend to clean my Stainless Steel pots and pans. Make sure you rinse very good because it will leave a film if you don't.

  • kmeyersvt 3 Mar, 2009

    For scraping off stuck on food, nothing works better than this little plastic scraper I got with my stoneware pans from Pampered Chef. It gets right under the stuck on junk and lifts it right off with no scratches. I just saw a similar scraper in Crate and Barrel which is a little nicer because it has a grippy handle on it. Gets stuff off that scouring pans would take hours to get loose.

  • Vizsla 3 Mar, 2009

    I love Shaklee products Scour Off, it is made of crushed cherry pits and it is THE best cleaner out there. I use it on my flat top stove, in the shower for fiberglass tubs

  • Urbis 3 Mar, 2009

    I agree w/ diannam! Until I had purchased my Cuisinart pans I had not heard of Barkeepser's Friend. LOVE IT! Works well on stainless steel sinks, too!

  • westshoe 3 Mar, 2009

    I use Salt and white vinegar ( make a paste in the pan that your cleaning) to clean my pots and pans. Never need a SOS pad again. Very cheap. Also cleans cooper bottom pans.

  • cathio 3 Mar, 2009

    I highly recommend Steel Glo for stainless steel and copper pots. I thought I had completely destroyed my copper pot, but one application of Steel Glo restored it to like new condition. Worked excellent on my stainless too, and didn't require any heavy scrubbing.

  • charleneskitchen 3 Mar, 2009

    I also use baking soda on my sealed burners of my stove top. I have tried many cleaners but this works the best. It really removes the grease splatters with little effort. I also use a scrubbing pad for class cook tops so it dosen't scratch the surface.

  • diannam 3 Mar, 2009

    My stainless steel Cuisinart pans came with a recommendation to use Barkeeper's Friend, and now I use it for almost everything. Williams Sonoma sells it for about 4 dollars, but Walmart has it for less than a dollar.

  • Abobrinha 3 Mar, 2009

    Tagsmon you just wipe off all the grease with paper before washing. This way you get rid of degreasing the sink as well. I am sure this will help, because this is what I do.

  • Abobrinha 3 Mar, 2009

    the best thing about using vinegar is that you can work with bare hands, and it works pretty well.

  • Control 2 May, 2008

    I just keep a can of Barkeeper's Friend on hand, it's recommended right on the All-Clad website. Works great, my stainless always looks brand new after a quick cleaning with it.

  • marvyone 12 Apr, 2008

    When I want to polish stainless cookware or flatware in a hurry, I use Martha's stainless steel cleaner (I hope it is still available at K Mart). I wear rubber gloves, put some cleanser on soft rag and rinse in hot water - my 40 year old stainless almost looks like new.

  • sybilmax 11 Apr, 2008

    A solution of an ammoniated cleanser such as Handy Andy mixed with cornflour to a paste is also excellent for stainless steel

  • wynette117 9 Apr, 2008

    I use a paste of baking soda to clean glass ovenware, works great on pyrex dishes and polishing stainless steel and the sink, as well.

  • Tagsmom 4 Apr, 2008

    My big cleaning problem is cleaning cook on grease, over spray from spray on my glass oven dishes and the bottoms of muffin pans are the worst. How do you clean them.

  • JodyMichele 4 Apr, 2008

    I have a beautiful stainless steel Alessi kettle that I let boil dry once (weep weep) and it has anodized it a little. Is there anythinng I can do to fix this?

  • jmdd 4 Apr, 2008

    Easy and effective.....cover the copper bottoms with ketchup and let them sit for a little while. Then was with warm soapy water and towel dry

  • karenwendi 1 Apr, 2008

    I have a set of Martha Stewart copper bottom pots and pans and I noticed that lately they are prone to white stains inside the pots. I tried the white vinegar tip and it has worked, but the copper bottoms are almost impossible to keep clean, especially with daily use of the pots.

    Do you have any easy suggestions for cleaning and keeping the copper bottoms clean?
    Karen (New Brunswick, Canada)