There are a few ways to clean a stainless-steel pan. However, you should check for some warnings about what to avoid while doing it, either. For example, never wash your cookware with cold water, scouring pads, and steel wool. Avoid using ammonia, chloride-based cleaner, and chlorine bleach that may damage the dish’s surface.
In most cases, you can finish the job with warm water and a clean cloth, but sometimes it is not enough. You should prepare non-abrasive scrubber, nylon spatula, soft cloth, paper towels, and a toothbrush just in case. In extreme situations, you may need to use abrasive cleaner techniques. Let’s see.
1. Heat the pan
In most cases, heat is everything you need to remove burnt food remains from your stainless-steel roasting pan and steel fry pan. It will be enough to add a cup of water to cover the bottom.
After a few minutes, you will see that pieces stuck to the pan start loosening. That is a moment to scrub them off with a wooden spoon or plastic spatula.
2. Soapy water
If boiled water can’t loosen all the stains, you should add some soap into the pan. A few drops of dish soap will help to remove any food remains and greasy particles. After sitting there for several minutes, you can clean your stainless-steel pan entirely without damaging the surface.
Some experts claim that you will get a better result when using powdered dishwasher detergent and letting it soaks overnight. Whatever the procedure you use, you should rinse the dish thoroughly, and repeat cleaning if necessary. In case you are wondering about the differences between various types of pans, you may want to explore our guide on [Stainless Steel Vs. Nonstick pan]
Don’t forget to dry your pan with a cloth or paper towel to avoid the appearance of ugly stains on the steel surface. Never use knives or metal pieces of objects to avoid damaging your shiny pan.
3. White vinegar
For too stubborn stains that occur as a result of overheating, white vinegar is an excellent solution for both stainless steel and carbon steel pan. Once you see warped-like marks on your pan, you should clean them with a water solution of vinegar. Keep in mind that acid from pure vinegar may damage the stainless steel if you let it sit there too long.
Dilute half of a cup of vinegar in the same amount of water and bring the solution to a boil. Then, add a few drops of powerful degreasers, such as lemon essential oil and liquid dish soap. Let it simmer for two minutes and rinse the pan. Use a cloth or soft scrubbing pad to remove leftovers if necessary.
4. Baking soda
Baking soda is one of the best methods to clean residues of impurities on stainless steel pans. There are a bunch of recipes to use this gentle abrasive cleaner, but the most popular way is combining it with white vinegar.
First, add half of a cup of vinegar to the pan bottom. Sprinkle baking soda over it and scrub the stains with a damp sponge. In the end, rinse your dish with hot water and repeat the procedure when necessary.
Second, you can add a layer of water and white vinegar to your stainless-steel roasting pan. The amount you use will depend on the pan size. Bring the solution to a boil, turn off the heat, and add baking soda right away. After a few minutes, spill the liquid and rinse the dish thoroughly.
The third method is to sprinkle baking soda over the dry pan surface. Rub it with a damp cloth, sponge, or scrubber until the pan becomes clean and shiny. You can also make a paste by adding a few drops of water to the baking soda if you find it more comfortable. Finally, rinse the pan thoroughly and dry it before you hang it up.
5. Lemon juice
Citric acid is an excellent stainless-steel pan cleaner. Once you spot greasy messes of burnt food on the bottom of your pan, you can try to remove them with lemon juice. Make your own homemade stainless-steel degreaser of two lemons and a few tablespoons of hot water.
Squeeze the diluted lemon juice into the pan and bring it to a boil. Let it simmer for two minutes, turn off the heat, and scrub food remains if necessary. Rinse your clean pan and dry it thoroughly.
We have a complete guide to clean the outside bottom of a pan if you are wanting something more specific.
6. Salt and lime
The combination of lime and coarse salt is an excellent solution for removing residues of impurities from your stainless-steel pan. The acidity will break down tough particles while the salt helps with scrubbing loose food.
Cut the lime in half, squeeze the juice of one half directly into the dish, and bring it to a boil. Turn off the heat, sprinkle the salt, and let the mixture soak for 5 to 15 minutes, depending on the type of stains.
After pouring out the liquid, add more salt and scrub the pan surface with the other lime half. Then rinse it thoroughly and dry when finished.
Although this method may seem unconventional, it is quite effective. In fact, this mild abrasive cleaning scrub acts like baking soda.
When you need to remove grease stains from your stainless-steel fry pan or non-stick pan, you can do it by adding three tablespoons of flour to a half cup of water. Then, scrub the stains with an old toothbrush, rinse the cookware, and dry it when finished.
8. Cream of tartar and lemon juice
The cream of tartar is one more excellent alternative to baking soda. It will work as a gentle abrasive cleaner, which efficiently removes food residues and grease from stainless-steel pans without damaging their surfaces.
Mix one tablespoon of cream of tartar with a few drops of lemon juice to make a paste. You can also use white vinegar instead of lemon with the same result. Cover the affected area with the mix and let it soak overnight.
Then, remove the remaining food with a soft scouring pad and rinse the pan thoroughly. After drying it with a soft cloth, the stainless steel will become shiny again.
9. Tomato sauce, ketchup, or crushed tomatoes
The downside of the stainless-steel pans is the occurrence of rainbow-colored discolorations after regular use. If you live in a region with hard water, you can spot white calcium build-ups on the surface of your dish, as well.
There are a few fantastic cleaners, which can make your stainless-steel pan shiny again. One of the best options is cleaning it with tomato sauce, ketchup, or crushed tomatoes. Their acidity will react with existing discolorations the same way as vinegar.
Add any of these ingredients over the pan bottom, turn the heat on, and let it simmer for approximately 10 minutes. Another option is to let it sit overnight when you want to avoid heating. Then, scrub any residues with a soft brush, rinse the pan, and dry it thoroughly.
10. Club soda or Coca Cola
Club soda is one more excellent method to eliminate stubborn burnt oil stains from your stainless-steel roasting pan. It can also efficiently remove sticky substances, such as caramel.
Cover the bottom pan surface with club soda or some other fizzy drink like Coca Cola. Let the mix simmer for a few minutes until the soda soaks into the grease.
Then, scrape all the impurities away with a soft scrubbing brush. Repeat the procedure as necessary. In the end, you should rinse and dry your pan before putting it in its place.
11. Salt, baking soda, and toothpaste
The mix of salt, baking soda, and toothpaste is an excellent homemade abrasive. It contains highly efficient gritty materials against burnt oil that builds on stainless-steel cookware. Don’t worry, the amount of grit this mixture contains won’t damage the surface of the steel.
Pour baking soda into water to create a paste. Then, add the same amount of toothpaste and clean the pan with a dishcloth. You can also sprinkle salt over the grease directly and add toothpaste before start scrubbing the dish vigorously.
If you want to speed the procedure and make it more convenient, you can heat the pan for about 30 seconds before adding these ingredients. It will loosen the oil more quickly. Finish the cleaning by rinsing and drying the cookware thoroughly.
12. Commercial cleaners
If you prefer a commercial product, you can use a cleaner like Bar Keepers Friend to remove burnt food residue from your stainless-steel pan. Moisten the surface of your cookware before applying the cleaner over the pan surface.
You can also purchase a soft variation of the agent and apply it to the affected area directly. Scrub all loose food residues with an old toothbrush and rinse the cleanser thoroughly. Dry the pan with a soft cloth to get a shiny polish surface.
13. Abrasive pads
You can also use abrasive scouring pads to clean burnt-on oil from your pan. Keep in mind that metal pads require less pressure than plastic ones while scrubbing. Nowadays, you can find metal pads made of copper or stainless steel available on the market.
Michael Johnson is the founder of The Pan Handler, Inspired by his blacksmith grandfather’s legacy has a deep appreciation for hand-crafted pots and pans, he provides invaluable guides, reviews, and recipes to enhance your culinary journey.