How to Clean Discolored Stainless Steel Pots in The Kitchen

Stainless steel pots and pans conduct and keep heat with ease, making them a valuable asset to any professional kitchen. It comes in many different types, and if not properly cared for and used, it may soon develop stuck-on food, ugly burn scars, and discoloration.

Cleaning Discolored Stainless Steel Pots

Food particles can stick to the bottom of stainless steel pots and pans, even for the most experienced cook. There are numerous tried and tested ways for cleaning stainless steel pans with stuck-on food listed below. Are you curious how to clean stainless steel pans properly? Keep reading to find a solution that works for you.

Boiling Water

This approach might be the most basic of them.

  • Begin by using a non-abrasive scrubber to remove as much food as possible.
  • Fill the pot or pan halfway with water and a few drops of dish soap.
  • Make sure all of the stuck-on food is immersed.
  • Bring the water to a boil in a large pot.
  • When the water is boiling, a spatula may easily scrape away any extra food.

Baking Soda

One of the easiest and most efficient ways to remove dirt from plates is to use soda. Baking soda is readily available. Soda is very effective in removing oily stains.

What is the best technique to clean pots and other equipment in this manner?

  1. First and foremost, the cookware must be properly cleaned.
  2. After that, wipe it dry and liberally sprinkle it with baking soda.
  3. Each piece of kitchen cookware may be cleaned with half a glass of soda.
  4. Let the pots or pans undisturbed for a couple of hours.
  5. You can dilute the soda with a little water until it has a pasty look.
  6. Next, using a dry towel or sponge, wipe the dishes clean.

Cream of Tartar

Cream of tartar, albeit less common than baking soda, is an efficient agent for removing stuck-on food off stainless steel cookware.

  • Merely make a paste with cream of tartar and water and apply it to the problematic spots in your pan.
  • Let the mixture soak in the pan overnight.
  • Eliminate any residual particles by rinsing and scrubbing the pan.


If you are seeing discoloration (typically rainbow in look) as a result of overheating, don’t worry! There is a remedy on the horizon. Here is how you go about it.

  1. Pour a little white vinegar diluted with water into your pan.
  2. Swirl it around, then wipe away the colored streaks with a non-abrasive sponge.
  3. The acidity of vinegar will aid in the breakup of that thin oxidized rainbow coating while being easy on your cookware.
  4. Optionally, a dash of Bar Keepers Friend, which is equally acidic but non-corrosive, can suffice.
  5. Rinse, dry, and you are done! Your stainless steel will shine like new again.

Vinegar may also be used to remove white calcium build-up stains from your pan. In the afflicted pot or pan, combine one-part vinegar with three parts water and bring to a boil. Leave the liquid to cool completely before emptying the pan and washing as usual.

Dishwashing Detergent

Nowadays, numerous different products intended particularly for dishwashing may be found on the shelves of stores. It is extremely advised that mild detergents be used while cleaning stainless steel cookware. These solutions are particularly developed to remove tough burned areas.

  1. Warm the pot in boiling water for ten to fifteen minutes before applying the detergent.
  2. Then, using a sponge, remove the dirt, rinse the pots, and dry them.
  3. A glass cleaner may be used to remove water stains and fingerprints from such items.
  4. Wipe the surface of the pots with a microfiber towel after spraying the product uniformly.
  5. After rinsing with water, buff with a dry soft cloth.

Tomato Sauce

If you have any leftover tomato sauce from yesterday night’s dinner, this could be the solution for you. Comparable to vinegar, the acidity of the tomatoes reacts with the discoloration in your stainless steel cookware.

  • To use this technique, fill a saucepan or pan halfway with tomato sauce or crushed tomatoes and immerse the afflicted regions fully.
  • Let the sauce slowly boil for about ten minutes, adding more water as needed.
  • Rinse as usual after removing the sauce.
  • You may also leave the tomato sauce in the pan overnight without having to boil it.

Activated Carbon

This method of dishwashing surface cleaning is very efficient if you keep forgetting about the milk on the stove. Consequently, if there are any scorched spots on the pan, feel free to browse through your medical cabinet for activated carbon.

  • It must be ground into a powder and applied to charred foods.
  • Fill the pan halfway with water and let aside for ten to fifteen minutes.
  • After that, rinse the dishes well.

Tips to Keep in Mind to Care for your Stainless Steel

These points can help you save money by extending the life of your stainless steel cookware and avoid the need to acquire replacements.

Water Spots

The key to avoiding those pesky wet stains is to dry as quickly as possible, i.e. right away. If the spots emerge because you did not get to it quickly enough, just dampen the surface of the pot or pan, rub it with a damp sponge dusted with baking soda, and clean as customary.

Hot Pan

Before adding the oil, make sure your pan is hot. After the oil has heated up, add the food. Adding oil to a hot pan leads the steel to become "static," creating a temporary nonstick surface, as per Food Network. Always keep an eye on the oil to see if it is hot enough to start cooking: Once it is glistening, it is time to add your contents.

Cold Food

Cold food has a higher chance of sticking to the pan. Before adding meats and chilled items to the pan, bring them to room temperature.

Cold Water

Cleaning a hot pan with cold water might result in warping and disfigurement.

Abrasive Cleaners

Steel wool and other abrasive cleansers and scrubbers may damage stainless steel. Scrubbers with coarse bristles and strong cleaning solutions, such as bleach or domestic cleansers, can scratch and damage stainless steel. While baking soda and other abrasive scrubbers (such as fine steel wool) might help clean a tarnished pan, be aware that doing so may invalidate your warranty.

Routine Clean Up

To avoid an accumulation, clean your stainless steel pots and cookware after every use. Yes, even if they don’t get extremely dirty!

Salt Water

Only use salt water once the water has reached a boil. When water is salted prior to boiling, the corrosion process can develop, leaving small but irreversible blotches in the bottom of the pot, as if from a nail. Hence, salt your pasta water once it is boiling, but only then.

In conclusion, there are several solutions available nowadays that can clean dishes even from the most stubborn filth. In the domestic chemistry shop, you will find both well-known and lesser-known brands. I have shown you How to Clean Discolored Stainless Steel Pots in The Kitchen.

Stainless steel pots and pans have excellent conductivity and heat distribution. As a result, they are likely to be among your most-used kitchen equipment. These easy techniques and tactics will help you turn your old pots and pans into like-new cookware when it comes to keeping them clean. Found this article helpful? Let me know your thoughts and queries in the comments section below!