How do I clean stainless steel? (with photos)

Hot water and mild detergent can clean stainless steel pans.

Stainless steel is a common material for many types of appliances and tools, especially around the kitchen. Stainless steel’s durability makes it ideal for simple cleaning and maintenance efforts, as long as some basic guidelines are followed. If you’re wondering how to clean stainless steel pans or appliances and keep them looking like new for a long time, here are some tips to keep in mind.

Stainless steel appliances last a long time but can be damaged by harsh cleaning products.

When it comes to cleaning stainless steel pots and pans, it’s important to remember that while the material is durable, it’s not damage-proof. For this reason, many aggressive chemicals are not suitable for cleaning stainless steel. For the most part, a simple process using hot water combined with a mild dish detergent will provide the perfect method for cleaning stainless steel. Harsh cleaners tend to dull the shine of pots and pans and, over time, weaken the steel.

Baking soda and water can be combined to create a cleaning paste.

The process used to clean stainless steel can be a little more complicated when dealing with food that has burned to the surface of the steel. Although people often use steel wool pads to cut dry dirt, this process has the danger of creating scratches on the body of the pot or pan. Immerse the pan in hot water with a small amount of washing-up liquid. Typically, a period of no more than thirty minutes is sufficient to loosen the most stubborn foods and allow the use of a non-abrasive nylon sponge to thoroughly clean the inside and surface of the pan.

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Baking soda and water can be used to save a pan damaged by an acidic liquid.

A common problem that occurs with just about any type of pan is allowing the liquid in the pan to come to a full boil. The residue can cause the inside of the pan to discolor, as well as begin to break down the integrity of the steel over time. To clean stainless steel pans where salt water or some kind of acidic liquid has boiled, it may be possible to save the pan using a paste made from baking soda and a little water. Multiple applications and rinses may be required to remove most of the discoloration.

In general, stainless steel should be cleaned using nothing more than hot water, a mild detergent, and a lot of effort. Regardless of what you’ve been told, never use bleach or ammonia on stainless steel. Silver cleaners are also not good for steel, as the compound can leave stains. Many people are amazed at how clean stainless steel silverware, cookware and appliances can be done using these simple cleaning options. Best of all, they’re inexpensive and usually found in the kitchen at any time.

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