How to Clean Stainless Steel Cookware

Cooking on stainless steel has its advantages (better searing, the flavorful fond, non-reactive surface), but it can sometimes be a chore to clean. Grease stains appear and set in after regular use and are difficult to wash away with the standard soap-and-sponge method. The trick to cleaning stainless steel is using the appropriate cleanser for the pan. When you have a stubborn pot, powder cleansers such as Bon Ami or Barkeeper’s Friend can really make your life that much easier. Personally, I don’t mind a little grime here and there, but I do give all my cookware a thorough cleaning once a month. A clean kitchen is a happy kitchen, and keeping things organized and clean can really have a positive impact on your mood and productivity when you cook. So, for those of you who have wondered how to maintain that lustrous shine, here are my tips on cleaning stainless steel to keep it looking like-new.

Materials Needed: Powder Cleanser (Bar Keepers Friend or Bon Ami), Rubber Gloves, Sponge

1. It is best to clean a dirty pan soon after cooking, before the grease hardens and sets in. Never run water over a hot pan right off the stove, as it may cause warping.
2. Soak the pan with hot, soapy water. Let it soak for several minutes.
3. Rinse, using a sponge to remove all the loose bits of grease. Most times, this is enough to clean off the entire pan. But if you have burned-on bits, continue on…
4. Sprinkle a good amount of powder cleanser into the pan; gently scrub into a paste using a soft sponge. Let the cleanser sit on the pan for a few minutes to work its magic, then scrub again and watch those stains disappear. Stubborn stains may require some elbow grease. Wear gloves to protect your hands; although mild, it is still a chemical process and will dry out the skin.
5. Rinse, dry, and bask in that glamourous, polished shine!


  1. I hope this will be a helpful suggestion as an aid to your good methods! For both traditional pans and non-stick pans, aside from washing as soon as you can with appropriate methods – if you’re cooking with spiced oils, frying fish or tempering spices, after cleaning your pans leave them out to air in appropriate place. Don’t put lids on and put them away in cupboards as soon as the pans are dry as that can sometimes trap the cooking odours.

  2. cleverasaquirk

    I used to do it this way, but learned something even faster recently from my mom. Take your dirty pan, stainless steel or otherwise, fill with warm water and sprinkle in a couple tablespoons of powdered dish washer detergent….when you come back in a couple hours or the next morning, there is no need to scrub. Just gently wipe out all the grime (it practically falls out of the pan) and clean with soap, as you normally would!

    • Overnight soaking is also an excellent method! I’ve done that as well, because some nights you just don’t want to do dishes! But I find the powder cleanser really comes in handy to remove the burned-in oils and also the blue oxidation that appears naturally from using stainless steel cookware.

  3. I like it that you don’t have to spend forever to clean the pans

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