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How to clean stainless steel pans and pots

Whether you need to know how to clean a non-stick pan or a stainless steel pan, read on for effective tips for removing grease & grime from pots and pans.


how to clean stainless steel pot, laying on a red chopping board

Key steps

  1. Always try and rub the product into the grain or pattern of your pot or pan, being careful to follow any cleaning product instructions.
  2. Baking soda is effective but abrasive. Make sure you test a small area of your pot or pan before treating it entirely. Scrub the powder neat into the pan in circular movements.
  3. For a non-stick pan, dishwashing detergent in water brought to the boil is best. Leave it to simmer before taking it off the heat and rinsing with cool water. Be extra careful when dealing with boiling water.

There is something very satisfying about gleaming stainless steel – although not all of us want to devote our days to scrubbing our cookware. For those of us with busy lives, the article will explain how to clean stainless steel pans and pots with a minimum of effort, leaving them looking shiny and new. Read on for quick, comprehensive cleaning advice.

Cleaning stainless steel pots and pans can be a little tricky, and not just when it comes to removing burnt on food or grease. Over time, watermarks and residue start to accumulate, and you may find your pans beginning to discolour. No matter how much you use your pans, marks and residue will begin to appear – but don’t stress it. You can keep your stainless steel kitchenware clean and fresh by following these guidelines.

It’s essential when cleaning stainless steel that you do not use abrasive cleaning tools – avoid steel wool in particular, and (if in doubt) test the cloth on a small, unnoticeable area first to make sure that it will not scratch the surface.

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Tips for cleaning stainless steel pots and pans

While homemade cleaning solutions like the one explained below may seem like the easy option, it’s much swifter (and far safer) to use a designated cleaner, like Cif Stainless Steel Spray. Whatever cleaning solution you choose, always read the label on any products first, take the proper safety precautions, and test on a small, unnoticeable area if using for the first time.


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How to clean stainless steel pans with a commercial cleaner:

  • Take a clean, wet cloth and wipe down your pans.
  • Apply your cleaner, following any instructions to the letter. If your stainless steel cookware has a grain or pattern, rub the product in along it, rather than against it.
  • Rinse thoroughly with water.
  • Carefully buff dry with a clean cloth, still working with the grain.

Voila! Gleaming steel in just a few minutes.

How to clean stainless steel pans with baking soda

Bear in mind that baking soda cleans through abrasion – so it’s essential that you test this method first on a small, unnoticeable area to avoid any potential scratches.

What you will need:

  • Baking soda
  • Cup of water
  • A sponge
  • Place a tablespoon of baking soda into the pan.
  • Pour ½ a cup of water into the pan with the baking soda.
  • Using the abrasive side of your sponge, start scrubbing in circular motions, following the grain and making sure you get every nook and cranny.
  • Add more baking soda and water, and continue scrubbing.
  • Rinse the pan under the tap and dry with a cloth.

Your pan should be gleaming on the inside, but now it’s time to get that all over sparkling finish on the outside:

  • Put a tablespoon of baking soda and scatter it around the sides of the pan.
  • Use the soft part of the sponge and gently wipe around the pan, following the grain.
  • Apply more elbow grease, focusing on the tarnished areas.
  • Repeat the same process with the base of the pan.
  • Rinse the pan off, and wipe over with a clean, dry cloth.

How to clean a non-stick pan with ease

If you’re wondering how to clean pans with a non-stick finish – it’s easy. Non-stick pans are just as susceptible as other pans to bacteria and stubborn stains, but they are just as easy to clean. Wherever possible, however, defer to the manufacturer’s guidelines: not all non-stick pans are alike.

  • Fill your non-stick pan half full with water, and add a small amount of dishwashing liquid like Persil washing up liquid.
  • Next, carefully bring the pan to a simmer on the hob, making sure the water doesn’t boil over.
  • After five to ten minutes, turn the hob off and let the pan cool. Then, carefully use a long-handled brush or soft spatula to scrub around the pan – this will help loosen up the dirt and grime.
  • Then, rinse the pan, scrubbing more if necessary.

Following these methods will protect your pots and pans from grime, leaving them with a nice gleaming finish! To keep other steel fixtures in your kitchen clean, check out our article on how to clean stainless steel here.

Originally published