Stainless steel pans and cookware are among the top preferred kitchen tools in professional and in many home kitchens. They are among the top preferred types of pans due to their durability, the even heat distribution and quick heat absorption, their safety of use even with acidic foods, their low maintenance, comfortable weight, good looks, and their excellent value for the quality offered.
But even though stainless steel pans require minimal and simple maintenance, it is important to keep your pan clean by using the proper tools, solutions, and methods.
One of the downsides of stainless steel pans is that they are not considered “non-stick,” which means that you need to take precautions when using them in order to prevent burnt food problems.
Here are some useful tips on how to clean a stainless steel pan.
Why should you clean your stainless steel pans?
Like with any cookware, you should keep stainless steel pans clean and in pristine condition if you want the greatest cooking results and if you want to increase their longevity.
Even though stainless steel pots and pans are very durable and almost indestructible, they do require proper cleaning and maintenance, just like all other cooking utensils and cookware you use in your kitchen.
With proper cleaning, you will keep your stainless steel pan looking shiny and perfect and performing impeccably, no matter what you decide to cook in it.
Clean your stainless steel plan quickly and effortlessly
Like with other pots and pans, the best tip for easy cleaning is washing them right after use rather than letting them sit with grease and other residues in the sink for hours and days.
Here are the steps for cleaning your stainless steel pan after use:
- Let the pan cool down completely after you have used it because using cold water on a hot pan can cause warping and damage
- Use warm water and dish soap for soaking and cleaning the pan
- Use a non-abrasive (no wire) washing sponge and scouring pad to prevent scratching and damaging the pot
- Remember to wipe and dry the pan right after washing it in order to prevent unsightly smears and stains from the water spots
- In case you notice water pot stains, use a damp sponge or paper towel, with a sprinkle of baking soda on it, and then rinse off and dry the pan
Keeping your stainless steel pan in pristine condition
As mentioned previously, stainless steel pans are virtually indestructible, but you need to maintain them properly to keep them looking and working as good as new.
In case you notice stains from water spots on the inside of your pan, you can easily resolve the issue by pouring a mixture of 3 to 1 part water and white vinegar and putting the pan to boil.
After the water and vinegar solution starts boiling, remove the pan from the stovetop and let it cool off completely. Then wash it with warm soapy water, and dry it with a soft cloth.
If your pan gets discolored or there are rainbow-like stains on it, this can be due to overheating it. You can resolve this problem by washing the pan with some white vinegar and then rinsing it off with warm water and drying it.
Since stainless steel pans are not non-stick, they can end up with burnt food in them when not used properly. If your pan has food residue stuck on its bottom, fill it up with a few inches of water, and let it boil for about 5-10 minutes. After that, use a non-abrasive pad to remove the remaining food which is stuck, rinse the pan and dry it.
Tips for cleaning stainless steel pans by professional chefs
Stainless steel pans are used in just about any professional kitchen, and chefs and kitchen personnel have some nifty tips on keeping them clean and shiny easily. Here are some of the common tips for keeping the stainless steel cookware clean given by pro chefs:
Use lime and salt
Squeeze half a lime in a pan that has burnt food stuck in it. Then add a quarter cup of salt in it, and let it stay.
Thanks to the acidity of the lime and the gentle abrasiveness of the salt, removing the stuck-on food from the pan should be easy with the help of a non-abrasive scouring pan.
After the pan is cleaned, it should be washed and dried as usual.
Use cream of tartar (potassium bitartrate)
While the cream of tartar may not be so common in many home kitchens, it is available in most professional kitchens. The powdery and acidic substance is highly efficient in removing even the most stubborn food residues from stainless steel pots and pans.
You can try out this cleaning method by mixing half a cup of the cream of tartar with water so that it turns into a paste. After mixing it, apply the paste on the bottom or inside of the pan and let it sit overnight.
On the next day, you can wash off any remaining stuck or burnt food with a non-abrasive scouring pad easily.
With periodic cream of tartar treatment, your stainless steel pan will look impeccable and shiny at all times.
Use dryer sheet
With this simple trick, you can easily remove burnt food from the bottom of your stainless steel pan. Pour some water in the pan, and then place a dryer sheet in it to cover it with the water. Let the pan sit for an hour, and then remove the dryer sheet and wash your pan.
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Cleaning a heavily scorched stainless steel pan
No matter how careful and experienced you are, you can end up with burnt food in your stainless steel pan. While it may look like an impossible task, you can clean a scorched stainless steel pan by following these easy steps.
Using mild dishwashing detergent
Fill your sink with hot water and pour a quarter of a cup of dishwashing solution into the water. Soak the pan overnight, and then scrub off any remaining burnt food by scorching it with a scouring pad. Rinse it off and dry it.
Using baking soda
You will need a cup of white vinegar, three spoons of baking soda, 1 ½ cup of warm water, and a soft Brillo pad.
Pour the water into the pan, and then add the cup of white vinegar to it. Put the pan on the stovetop and bring the mixture to a boil. When it starts boiling, remove the pan from the stovetop and add the three spoons of baking soda. Let the mixture soak for a few minutes, and then proceed to empty it and wash it with a non-abrasive scouring pad.
In case there is remaining food stuck on the pan, you can make some paste with baking soda and water and rub it on the soiled spot. Let the pan sit for 10-15 minutes, and then scour it with a Brillo pad.
Using chemical cleaners to clean your stainless steel pan
If your stainless steel pan cannot be cleaned with the above-mentioned simple and safe cleaning methods, you may want to resort to a chemical detergent to remove burnt-on food and stains.
When using a chemical cleaner, remember to take the following precautions for your safety and the safety of others:
- Use gloves and eye protection goggles
- Make sure there is sufficient air circulation and ventilation in the kitchen
- Use a Brillo pad to apply the cleaner, and make sure you treat all edges and crevices
- Let the pan sit overnight or as per the instructions of the manufacturer
- After that, scrub the pan with a non-abrasive scouring pad, and wash it and rinse it off thoroughly to ensure that there are no chemicals left inside the pan
Tips for cooking with stainless steel pans
Here are some of the best tips to get the most of your stainless steel pan and to prevent the burning of food:
- Add salt to a stainless steel pot or pan only after the water in it has come to a boil in order to prevent potentially permanent damage and corrosion to the pan
- Make sure the pan is heated before adding the oil. After that, wait for the oil to heat up sufficiently before adding food and using the pan for sautéing and cooking (you can test whether the pan has reached the proper temperature for adding the oil is by dropping a drop of water in it)
- Heat up stainless steel pots and pans at a mid-temperature rather than a high heat to prevent burnt food
- Allow the food products like meat, fish, and others to reach room temperature before adding them into the pan (take them out of the fridge at least 10 minutes prior to cooking)
Hopefully, now you know how to take proper care of your shiny stainless steel pan in order to make sure that it looks great, works great, and will allow you to cook perfect and delicious meals every time!
With proper maintenance and care, a good quality stainless steel pan can last you a lifetime!
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