Tried-and-true tips for cleaning stainless steel cookware.

General Care
For daily care, hand-wash stainless steel cookware in hot, soapy water and dry it thoroughly with a soft cloth before storing. Most experts warn against citrus dish detergents or dishwasher cleaning.

Removing Tough Stains

Water with high calcium content leaves chalky white residue on stainless steel cookware. To remove the residue, fill the pot or pan with 1 part vinegar to three parts water. Bring to a boil, let it cool to the touch, then wash thoroughly with hot, soapy water and dry.

Burned-on food is removed by first filling the pan with enough warm, soapy water to cover the mess then allow soaking for one hour. Boil the soapy water for 10 to 15 minutes and allow the water cool to the touch. Immediately scrub with a nylon-scouring pad. Wash again with hot, soapy water, rinse and dry. Repeat for stubborn residue.

Use non-abrasive cleanser like Bon Ami Polishing Cleanser or Bar Keepers Friend for general cleaning, stain removal, and keeping the cookware shiny as new.

Never use metal scouring pads or abrasive cleaners. While they do an excellent job of removing stuck-on food, stainless steel cookware makers caution about cleaning with abrasives as they scratch the surface of the cookware. Opt for nylon-net scouring pads, plastic, or nylon brushes when scouring is necessary. On no account should chlorine bleach or ammonia-based cleaners be used on stainless steel cookware.

Final Cleaning Suggestions

To recover that brand-new shine, wet the cookware’s surface and sprinkle with baking soda. Rub gently with a synthetic scouring pad such as a Dobie (a sponge covered with nylon netting) or a Scotch-Brite green pad, rinse thoroughly and dry. Fingerprints are easily removed using glass cleaner and a paper towel or soft cloth. Minor scratches can on occasion be buffed out using a paste of water and a non-abrasive cleanser such as those mentioned above.

With proper care and cleaning, stainless steel cookware is known to last a lifetime. With a bit of extra effort, stainless steel cookware continues to look as good as it cooks.