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How to Clean Stainless Steel Pans!

by Linda Cleans 20 Sep 2023


Even the most burnt-on stains are no match for these tips!

Stainless steel is a popular kitchen material and there are all types and finishes. They give kitchens a modern sleek look whilst only needing a little TLC to make sure it looks new for years. Not only this but it’s been known for its heat retention and durability making it ideal for surrounding ovens. Like most things that are used frequently within the home, the best way to keep it clean and looking fresh is to try clean it after every use.

It may seem like a daunting task, but cleaning stainless steel is actually a lot simpler than cleaning stainless steel appliances (for example no need to wipe with the grain etc). Here are a few of our tips on how:

How to clean stainless steel pans after everyday use… (by far the easiest)

The best way to clean stainless steel is simply with your favourite dish soap and warm water, but lets face it, that’s no mystery and not why you’ve searched for this page… SO, lets talk about those harder to get rid of stains!

Baking Soda

  • Add water to the pot or pan with a few drops of dish soap, place it on your stove and bring to a boil. Let the soapy mixture simmer for about five to ten minutes or more depending on how badly burned the pot is. Every now and then, use a wooden spoon or plastic spatula to loosen and scrape off the burned-on bits. Empty the pot. If there are still stains proceed to step 2.
  • Use the good old trusty baking soda and water. Allow the pan to completely cool, then sprinkle in a bit of the powdered cleaner or baking soda right inside the pan and add just enough water to form a paste.
  • Use a sponge to spread the paste and scrub the pan. Scrub in a circular motion and work the paste into all parts of the pan.
  • After you are satisfied with your scrubbing, rinse the paste from your pan well and dry with a towel to prevent water spots.

Can you ruin a stainless steel pan?

Stainless steel pans can become scratched if they are cleaned improperly or not thoroughly enough. They can withstand more abrasive cleaning products/methods than stainless steel appliances, but there still are a few things you should never use to clean them. Steel wool pads and other very abrasive cleaning products can scratch the surface of pans and damage their smooth finish. Oven cleaners, grill cleaners and products containing bleach should never be used on stainless steel cookware as they are too harsh. For ideas on what sponges/brushes to use here are a few links to some products we’d recommend:

The same goes for using vinegar to clean stainless steel pans. Vinegar is too acidic and can damage the look of stainless steel and make it look duller than previous. If you do use vinegar, dilute it with at least equal parts water if not more and do not allow it to sit in the pan. The safest option is to always start with the most gentle approach; dish soap and a non-abrasive sponge and work your way up to slightly more abrasive products as needed.

How to Keep Your Stainless Steel Pans Looking Brand New

Use a lower heat setting to prevent food from burning onto your pans.

If you have a gas stove, use a burner that is the same size or smaller than the base of your pot. If the flame reaches up on the sides of your pot, the surface can become damaged.

Try to remove stains as they happen to prevent build-up. It’s harder to get rid of multiple layers of burnt-on grease than it is to remove just one stain at a time.

Allow your stainless steel pots and pans to cool completely before running them under cold water. If not, you risk warping the material.

Here are some other hacks to help get rid of the burnt on food and impossible stains:

Coca Cola!

Yes, you read that right. Cola is super acidic and does well loosening burnt-on messes like caramel. Pour some in your pan, and place on the hob to simmer gently, Once reduced scrape the gunk off. Then sit back and enjoy a cola… OBVIOUSLY not the gunky coke…

Limes & Salt

Skip the margaritas and use the lime juice & salt for your pan instead! Let the mixture sit for several minutes, add some more salt and then scrub away! You’ll be amazed at how easily burnt-on foods will lift and how clean your pan will end up.


Slice 2-3 lemons and arrange them in your dirty pan. Place the pan over medium-high heat and fill with enough water to just barely cover the lemons. Bring the lemon water to a boil and then remove the pan from the heat. You’ll know the pan is ready for a final scrub when you start to see food particles floating to the surface of the water. Discard the lemons and drain the water. Rinse with hot, clean water and use a scouring pad or brush to loosen and remove any stuck-on bits.


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