Your kitchen will sparkle and shine in no time.

June 17, 2015
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In addition to its shiny façade, stainless steel cookware can also be touted for its sturdiness, its ability to absorb heat quickly, and to cook food evenly. Stainless steel appliances are equally durable with their strong resistance to rust and water damage and their enduring shelf-life.

But with beauty and functionality also comes the maintenance of keeping it looking nice and shiny (fingerprints, be gone). Conventional wisdom holds that pots and pans should be given a good soak, but every metal has different properties and requires special care. Linda Mason Hunter, the author of "GREEN CLEAN: The Environmentally Sound Guide to Cleaning Your Home," provides several techniques for cleaning various stainless steel items, including pans, cutlery, and appliances. "Cleaning stainless steel isn't hard, in my experience, and worth it because the material is so good for so many things," she says.

Before getting started, it's important to note that regardless of which technique you choose, you never want to soak stainless steel cookware. "This results in pitted surfaces," says Mason Hunter, adding, "Avoid using harsh abrasives, scouring powders, steel wool, bleach, and ammonia, all of which can damage the finish." Here's her best advice for getting the job done.

Gather Your Supplies

Mason Hunter recommends two techniques for cleaning stainless steel: One that involves using an eco-friendly commercial product and a second DIY method using common household ingredients. No matter which method you choose, she notes that it's important to use a soft towel and not microfiber, "which is made of plastic and is very very very hard on the environment," and encourages you to "make sure to dry each stainless steel item to prevent a film from forming."

Sparkle and Shine

If you're looking for an eco-friendly commercial product to use, try Shaklee Basic H2. When cleaning kitchen appliances, such as a refrigerator or stove, use a mix of one teaspoon Shaklee Basic H2 to two cups of water.

For a DIY eco-friendly alternative try this:

  • Olive oil
  • White vinegar
  • Baking soda

"Remove smudges with one tablespoon of olive oil and one tablespoon white vinegar," Mason Hunter suggests. Drizzle olive oil onto the rag and rub the surface to get rid of smudges. Then, add a bit of white vinegar to the other side of the rag, wipe the surface and let dry.

Remove Food and Grease

"To remove baked-on food and grease on pots and pans, clean well every time you use them with a paste of baking soda and warm water," advises Mason Hunter. "Gently rub onto the surface using a soft cloth or sponge. Wipe with a clean wet cloth and towel dry."

Quick Clean

"I put my stainless steel cutlery in the dishwasher, no problem," says Mason Hunter. However, she recommends hand-washing-with hot, soapy water-anything precious or expensive, or if you're simply looking for a quick clean.

Scratches and Stains

For scratches and stains on stainless steel products, you can use a stainless steel cleaner or apply white vinegar with a soft cloth and rub. "Always dry thoroughly after washing to prevent a film from forming," notes Mason Hunter.

Comments (59)

Anonymous
January 5, 2019
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Anonymous
April 15, 2018
Oven cleaner works wonder on burned items on stainless steel pans, particularly the bottoms. Haven't tried on inside of pans, but getting ready to try now.
Anonymous
February 12, 2018
That was a great tip about cleaning white residue from stainless steel cookware with white vineagar
Anonymous
September 7, 2016
Never soak stainless steel cookware! Depends on the quality. Pitting comes from inclusions, impurities in the mix. They cause electrolysis. Stainless steel is widely used for water tanks that last forever, virtually. But the stainless has virtually no impurities. Chinese and Indian stainless items are cheap and poor quality, like most of their metals. Japanese and Korean stainless are better quality generally. German, Swiss, Swedish are at the top. American can be as good. Know your source
Anonymous
January 14, 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"
Anonymous
September 22, 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!
Anonymous
March 14, 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.
Anonymous
March 13, 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.
Anonymous
March 9, 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.
Anonymous
March 8, 2009
The bottoms of my All-Clad frying pans are stained really bad. I am afraid to use anything too abrasive. HELP!!!!
Anonymous
March 5, 2009
I use "Bar Keepers Friend" and it works wonders.
Anonymous
March 5, 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
Anonymous
March 4, 2009
Katfrantz, try Easy Off Oven cleaner that you use in cold ovens. It works wonders on my stainless steel grill.
Anonymous
March 4, 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.
Anonymous
March 4, 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. =^..^=
Anonymous
March 4, 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... Thx
Anonymous
March 4, 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
Anonymous
March 3, 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!
Anonymous
March 3, 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
Anonymous
March 3, 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
Anonymous
March 3, 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.
Anonymous
March 3, 2009
Pots
Anonymous
March 3, 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?
Anonymous
March 3, 2009
Hydrogen peroxide will often remove stains. You can also use it on cotton clothign to remove stains if they do not fade. Linda
Anonymous
March 3, 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..............
Anonymous
March 3, 2009
I have All Clad and use Barkeepers Friend. It is wonderful for the sink also
Anonymous
March 3, 2009
Hi Loki5, Hey catsup can be used in case of emergency but not used all the time
Anonymous
March 3, 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 !
Anonymous
March 3, 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.
Anonymous
March 3, 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.
Anonymous
March 3, 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
Anonymous
March 3, 2009
I find that baby oil works best on stainless steel appliances and smells much better than WD
Anonymous
March 3, 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!
Anonymous
March 3, 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
Anonymous
March 3, 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.
Anonymous
March 3, 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.
Anonymous
March 3, 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?
Anonymous
March 3, 2009
Actually for SS appliances spray a little WD-40 on a rag and apply.
Anonymous
March 3, 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 caution.....it 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!
Anonymous
March 3, 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!
Anonymous
March 3, 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!
Anonymous
March 3, 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.
Anonymous
March 3, 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.
Anonymous
March 3, 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
Anonymous
March 3, 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!
Anonymous
March 3, 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.
Anonymous
March 3, 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. http://www.steelglo.com/
Anonymous
March 3, 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.
Anonymous
March 3, 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.
Anonymous
March 3, 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.
Anonymous
March 3, 2009
the best thing about using vinegar is that you can work with bare hands, and it works pretty well.
Anonymous
May 2, 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.
Anonymous
April 12, 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.
Anonymous
April 11, 2008
A solution of an ammoniated cleanser such as Handy Andy mixed with cornflour to a paste is also excellent for stainless steel
Anonymous
April 9, 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.
Anonymous
April 4, 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.
Anonymous
April 4, 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?
Anonymous
April 4, 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
Anonymous
April 1, 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? Thanks Karen (New Brunswick, Canada)