How to Clean Stainless Steel Cookware?

Knowing how to use cookware and kitchen utensils is equally important as knowing how to cook. And this doesn’t apply only to professional chefs but cooking enthusiasts as well. There are many types of cookware, and they are all used and maintained differently. If your preferred choice of cookware is stainless steel, you should know how to use and clean it. But there are so many ways to clean, and guides vary from one source to another.

Luckily you’re in the right place to find out how to properly clean stainless steel cookware. We’ll cover everything from what cleaning aid to use, what sponges to use, and how to ensure your cookware lasts.


Cleaning Stainless Steel Step-by-Step Guide

So you found yourself decent stainless steel cookware and made your first meal in it. Now it’s time to clean, but you don’t know what to use or where to start, right? Well, the first thing you need to do is get the proper cleaning aid.

Everything you need to clean stainless steel cookware:

  • Non-abrasive sponges ( you can get a bunch as they’re pretty affordable)
  • Barkeepers Friend ( cleaning aid that’s quite effective and quite popular as well)
  • Cotton cloths
  • Microfiber cloths
  • Regular dishwasher soap

Now that you have the right tools, you can start cleaning. Be sure to follow each step carefully to ensure you don’t damage the cookware or drastically shorten its lifespan. Also, avoid skipping steps as each has an intended effect.

Wait for Cookware to Cool Down

Cooking should be fun and fulfilling, but that’s not always the case. Sometimes you just need a quick meal to continue with your busy schedule. And the tendency is to clean the cookware immediately after cooking, as you won’t have time (or will) to do that latter. However, it’s not advised that you do that, and here’s why.

You can’t just pour water in a hot pan immediately after taking it off from a stove. And there a number of reasons as to why. The first one being is that this can lead to damaging the cookware, warping it, or reducing the effectiveness of its protective finish. No matter how good your cookware is if you continuously wash it while it’s how it will lose some of its properties. That’s a guarantee.

Another reason not to wash your pots and pans immediately after cooking is hygiene. Now you’re probably wondering how not cleaning improves hygiene, right? Well, the thing is that when you pour water in a hot pan, the heat will evaporate that water. The problem is that there’s is grease in it as well. And when that steam comes up, the fat and grease from it can stick to your home appliances. So remember, wait for the pan/pot to cool down completely before cleaning it.


Apply Cleaning Aid

Depending on the type of food you’ve cooked, you can apply little to moderate cleaning aid. The grease stains can be quite persistent, so it’s best to use hot water. Fill the pan/pot with water until all the stains are submerged. Having a lot of grease on the sides can be a cleaning nightmare. So give it a couple of minutes to let the grease dissolve a bit.

You can use a variety of cleaning aid. Barkeeper’s Friend, for example, is an excellent choice for removing persistent stains and cleaning greasy cookware. Here are some cleaning agents that you can use to make your pan and pots shiny and spotless:

Now that the stains are fully submerged in hot water and cleaning agents, you’re ready for the next step.


The most common mistake when cleaning stainless steel is to apply to much force. You don’t need to scrub maniacally to make it clean. Following these steps will ensure that you swipe it once or twice to get spotless cookware again. Also, do not use abrasive sponges or iron cleaner. They can damage the finish on cookware, rendering them useless for cooking – food will stick every time. Also, there’s the risk of leaching.

When it comes to actual scrubbing, just make sure that you clean in a circular motion. Again, avoid using too much force as it’s needles. You’ll only damage the protective layer.


After washing the cookware, find a neat spot to let it hang and dry of. You can also place it on a surface if you don’t have a place to hang them. Just make sure to turn them so that the water droplets don’t make stains.

Wait for them to dry off completely before continuing to the next step – polishing. This is important because you can inspect them and see if there are any stains left. Polishing partially clean cookware will only return you to step one.


For polishing stainless steel cookware, you can mix citrus with water. Whether you use lemon juice or vinegar is entirely up to you. Use a cotton or microfiber cloth and rub those water stains away. Be sure to hold the cookware firmly and rub it in a circular motion.

Now that your kitchen utensils are spotless and shiny, you can store them or cook again!

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