For many cooks, especially beginner cooks, washing pots, and pans may become an important factor in deciding what kind of cookware they should buy. This is why the question comes up so often: “How do you clean stainless steel cookware?”
Many manufacturers state that their stainless steel cookware is dishwasher safe but if you read more closely, they recommend hand washing. While the dishwasher will not damage your stainless steel pots, the harsh detergent might stain it a bit. Washing these pots by hand is not difficult if you follow this method.
Cleaning Stainless Steel Cookware
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First, soak it. And what I mean by soaking is add hot water (not cold) to the pot or roasting pan immediately after taking the food out. In other words, don’t allow the leftover food to dry, or the soak will take longer. If the pot is very dirty on the outside, you may need to do your soaking it in the sink. Do not add a lot of cold water to a very hot pan as this may warp it.
Soak it for at least 15 minutes (sometimes overnight) and then wash it gently with a brush to loosen all the stuck matter. Add soap and continue to wash off all the food remains.
If further scrubbing is needed, use a fine powder cleanser such as Bon Ami or Barkeepers Friend. Add water to form a paste and rub with a soft cloth in a circular motion.
DO NOT USE oven cleaners or cleansers with chlorine bleach. DO NOT USE steel wool. If further scrubbing is needed, nylon scrubbing pads are safe to use.
If you still have stubborn black residue, and soaking it overnight did not work, Cuisinart® Chef’s Classic™ Stainless Cookware recommends “adding water to a depth of one inch in the pan, with a tablespoon of dishwasher detergent (a non-lemon product). Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Let cool in the pan, then drain and rinse. Loosen the residue with a sponge or plastic spatula. Repeat if necessary. “
Always rinse well and dry your pots. Following this method will keep your pots and pans shiny for as long as you own them but if you want to make your life easier, here are some things you can do to prevent staining in the first place:
- Start with low heat for one or two minutes before adding foods. In other words, let the pan heat to proper temperature, but make sure that the flame is not too high. Speeding the process will only stain the outside of the pan. If the oil starts to smoke immediately after you add it to the pan, it means the pan was too hot.
- Make sure your stove is level. This way most of the cooking fat will stay evenly placed in the pan and you will not get burnt spots. If you have old fashion spiral electric burners, they can easily be out of level if they were not placed correctly into the slot so be aware of that.
- Add salt after food has started to cook to prevent pitting. If you are boiling water for pasta, add the salt after the water starts to boil. Pitting are small white dots that may appear at the bottom of the pan and while pitting does not interfere with cooking performance, it can diminish the beauty of the stainless steel.
Cleaning Stainless Steel Pans
It really is that easy. The first thing I did is let it cool. You definitely do not want to add cold water to a hot roasting pan because it may warp.
Once cooled, I added water and let it soak overnight. The next morning, I emptied the water in the sink and started rubbing with a brush. A little soap was added to get out the thickest stuff. I then used Barkeepers Friend. Since this roasting pan has a mirror finish I never use steel wool because it will definitely scratch it.