How to Clean Stainless Steel Pans

This is everything you need to know about how to clean stainless steel pans. Learn how to keep them in tip-top shape so they last you a long time!


Stainless steel pans are popular because they last so long. Unlike non-stick skillets, you can’t scratch them and it’s pretty tough to actually ruin them, especially if you take care of them correctly.


If you have ever burned anything in a stainless steel pan, don’t feel like you ruined it. There are some safe and effective ways to clean it and make it look new.


how to clean a stainless steel pan

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How To Clean Stainless Steel Pans


There are different levels of cleaning that you might have to do with your pans. First, let’s look at how to clean lightly-dirty pans. Then, I’ll explain how to remove the tougher stains and even the really burned ones.




  • Paper Towels
  • Baking Soda
  • Sponges
  • Dish Soap


Step 1: Wipe It Down


Rinse your pan out and wipe it down with a paper towel. At this step, you can use hot water and loosen any stuck-on foods with a dish brush.


Don’t use steel wool on stainless steel. It could scratch it and leave marks.


Step 2: Wash The Pan With Soap


Add some soap and begin washing and scrubbing the pan. For this step, use a heavy-duty sponge but always avoid steel wool. I personally like using my soap dispensing scrub brush


If you use a softer sponge, it might take some more elbow grease to completely clean the pan, but it will still work.


A stainless steel scrubber is great for tough jobs!


Do you have a really stained or burned pan? I’ll share how to clean a stainless steel pan with tough stains later on in this post.


Step 3: Dry And Store The Pan


Finally, completely dry the pan before you put it away. If you try to put it away with water in it, you could cause it to rust or dry with water spots.


How To Clean Tough Stains


It might be called “stainless steel” but sometimes, burns still leave hard-to-clean stains. Here’s how to banish them and leave your pans looking like new. There are actually a few different ways you can clean these stains.


Soak The Pan


The first (and most popular method) is to just let the pan soak with some dish soap and water.


  1. Use hot water and then spread the soap around the pan and create bubbles in the water.
  2. Let this soak for at least an hour.
  3. Then, use some elbow grease and start scrubbing the pan with a dish brush.


Boil Baking Soda


Another way to remove stuck-on foods and burned stains is to boil baking soda in the pan.


  1. Create a paste by adding a small mound of baking soda and cover with about 1/4 cup of water. Increase the amount for larger pans.
  2. Bring this paste to a boil.
  3. Allow it to boil until the water evaporates. As it does, it will leave a film of baking soda behind.
  4. When most of the water evaporates, remove it from the heat and let it cool down.


At this point, use a long-handled brush to scrub the stains and baked-on foods. They should all remove easily!


Boil The Entire Pan In Baking Soda


If you have a pan with years of burn marks that no method could remove, try this trick.


  1. Boil water in an extra-large stockpot. Use one that is large enough to hold the pan you are going to clean.
  2. Fill the stockpot with enough water to completely submerge your stained pan.
  3. Then, mix in about 1/2 cup of baking soda.
  4. Put the stained pan into the stockpot and bring it to a light boil.
  5. Let it cook like this for about 30 minutes.
  6. Flip it over and rotate it if it isn’t completely covered on all sides.


Be careful when you are taking the pan out of the boiling water – it will be hot! Use a sponge or dish brush to wash away all the grime.


That’s it! Cleaning stainless steel pans is a lot easier than you might think – and you don’t need any expensive chemicals.


Frequently Asked Questions About Cleaning Stainless Steel Pans


Woman hand washing stainless steel pot with dish washing soap in kitchen sink


Here are some frequently asked questions about cleaning this durable cookware.


Can you put stainless steel pans in the dishwasher?


Yes, stainless steel pots and pans are dishwasher safe. Some people still prefer to scrub them by hand because this keeps them shiny and looking like new. Plus, when you scrub them by hand, you can really get in the nooks and crannies and clean it completely.


How do you clean the bottom of a stainless steel pan?


If you want to clean the bottom of your pan, you can still use the baking soda methods mentioned earlier. Boil water and baking soda in a large skillet. Then, place the burned pot inside the skillet and let it soak as the water gently boils.


An easier method than that is to use baking soda and lemon. Sprinkle some baking soda on the bottom of the burned pan. Then, use half a lemon to scrub the baking soda on the bottom of the pan. This will help loosen the stains from the bottom of the pan.


Can you ruin a stainless steel pan?


Despite its name, stainless steel pans can be ruined. If you use abrasive chemicals or steel wool brushes, you run the risk of scratching the pans. If there are scratches on the cooking surfaces, it will make more food stick to them.


Stainless steel can also rust. This is why it is so important to make sure that you dry it completely before you store it.


Can I use cream of tartar instead of baking soda?


Yes, if you don’t have baking soda, you can use cream of tarter as a replacement. It has a lot of the same chemical properties and will help your pans to clean just as easily.


Final Thoughts


woman washing stainless steel dishpan in the sink


As long as you care for your pans and clean them completely after each meal, stainless steel pots and pans should last you for a very long time.


Don’t let a few burn marks frustrate you!


Just follow these easy tips and you can clean them easily without ruining your cookware.


More Posts About Cleaning



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1 Comment

  1. Jane Mason

    November 9, 2020 at 1:36 pm

    Not really helpful. These are just normal everyday cleaning examples. Disappointing as I thought you would have some ideas on how to clean pans that are in really bad shape.

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