How to Clean Stainless Steel Pans

Photo: Sarah Kobos

For primary cleansing

Spatula or paper towels: Use a spatula or paper towels to eliminate extra oil.

Dish brush: We like to make use of a long-handled dish brush, such because the OXO Good Grips Dish Brush, to loosen any bits of stuck-on meals.

Scouring pad or sponge: A contemporary Scotch-Brite scouring pad or sponge is the best software for eradicating stains. A softer Dobie pad requires extra effort however leaves fewer scratches.

Dish cleaning soap: We suggest the unscented Seventh Generation Natural Dish Liquid.

Towel: Dry off pans earlier than placing them away.

For harder stains

Bar Keepers Friend or baking soda: These powdered cleaners can scrub off stains with out damaging pans. Bar Keepers Friend is simpler at scrubbing the hardest stains, however baking soda is extra versatile.

Cleaning gloves: If you go for Bar Keepers Friend or baking soda, you should definitely use gloves to maintain it off your palms. Lesley Stockton, a senior employees author on Wirecutter’s kitchen staff, likes Glam-Gloves Dishwashing Gloves, or you’ll be able to go for a latex-free pair equivalent to Clorox Ultra Comfort Gloves.

Towel or oven mitts: You want to wash your pan whereas it’s sizzling, so shield your palms with a towel or an oven mitt.

Toothpicks: Inside the nooks and crannies of a pan’s rivets, you should utilize a toothpick to pry off gunk.

A big pot, equivalent to a inventory pot or roasting pan: If you need to boil your scorched pans in water and baking soda to take away years of grime, you want a vessel giant sufficient to carry them. We suggest an enormous inventory pot or a roasting pan.

Photo: Sarah Kobos

To clear most pans after cooking in them, you’re prone to want lower than 5 minutes to wipe them out, scrub them down, and dry them off.

But eradicating powerful stains can take longer. Whether you’re utilizing elbow grease and Bar Keepers Friend to wash or boiling baking soda and water in your pans, the method can take 15 to half-hour or much more. In some instances, it’s possible you’ll need to depart a baking-soda slurry on stains in a single day earlier than washing it off the subsequent day.

To clear a pan that you just’ve simply used, first scrape out extra oil with a spatula or wipe it out with a paper towel. Then deglaze the pan by including some sizzling water. Cleaning a sizzling pan is simpler, and including sizzling water received’t harm it. But at all times let your pan quiet down earlier than totally submerging it in cool water. Otherwise the sudden change in temperature (referred to as thermal shock) could cause a still-hot pan to warp.

You can loosen any fond (the browned bits of meals) with a long-handled dish brush; we just like the OXO Good Grips Dish Brush, which we’ve utilized in our check kitchen for years.

Grab a inexperienced Scotch-Brite scouring pad or sponge, together with some dish cleaning soap, and scrub the within and out of doors of the pan, utilizing a steady round movement. A Scotch-Brite pad will flippantly scratch the floor of the pan. But so long as you keep away from harsh pads (equivalent to metal wool), scrubbing received’t have an effect on your cookware’s efficiency or lifespan. A softer sponge, equivalent to a Dobie pad, received’t depart scratches, however utilizing one requires extra elbow grease. And it received’t save your cookware from getting marked up by metallic cooking utensils anyway.

Rinse after which dry with a clear, absorbent towel.

Photo: Sarah Kobos

If dish cleaning soap and scrubbing aren’t slicing it to take away cooked-on oil or burnt meals, you could have two choices: a baking-soda slurry or Bar Keepers Friend. They function in comparable methods, however listed below are the important thing variations we discovered when testing.

Baking soda: When we examined baking soda and Bar Keepers Friend aspect by aspect, we discovered baking soda to be a good substitute for the powdered cleaner. For some stains, the variations between the 2 strategies had been tiny. For harder stains, you’ll in all probability have to wash extra with baking soda, and it doesn’t fairly get the pan again to that glowing, like-new silver hue. But baking soda is price attempting first, because you in all probability have already got it in your kitchen. If you determine to strive baking soda, let the combination sit for a couple of minutes, after which scrub it off with a scouring pad—ideally a brand new one with a contemporary, unworn scrubby aspect. We like utilizing gloves whereas scrubbing too, since baking soda can dry out your palms. If the stains received’t come off, you’ll be able to repeat these steps and let the paste sit for longer (even in a single day) or transfer on to Bar Keepers Friend or different, extra intensive strategies.

We cleaned the highest half of this pan with Bar Keepers Friend and the underside half with baking soda. Though the entire pan appears clear, you’ll be able to clearly see a line between the extra sensible part cleaned with BKF and the duller, barely discolored part cleaned with baking soda. Photo: Marguerite Preston

Bar Keepers Friend: If you actually need to get your pan again to that silver shine and take away all of the patina, the discoloring that naturally occurs over time, BKF (as some people affectionately name it) is the place it’s at. During our testing, scrubbing off the hardest stains with Bar Keepers Friend took much less effort than doing so with baking soda. BKF left our pans a shiny like-new silver shade, whereas the baking soda left a barely-there copper sheen.

Bar Keepers Friend isn’t meant to take a seat on a pan for prolonged durations of time the identical method baking soda can—the maker recommends wiping BKF off after a minute to keep away from discoloring your cookware—however in observe we frequently scrubbed for longer than a minute, and we didn’t see any discoloring (presumably as a result of we had been utilizing high-quality cookware). BKF recommends ready for surfaces to chill earlier than use, so heating it up might be not an important thought—and which means you can’t swap out baking soda for Bar Keepers Friend within the strategies we suggest beneath for notably outdated and cussed stains (severely, please don’t).

Boil water and baking soda within the pan

For greater, harder stains that climb up the edges of a saucepan or skillet, Geri Porter, the longtime kitchen supervisor for Martha Stewart, steered the next methodology: Add a small mound of baking soda to the middle of a pan, cowl with about ¼ cup water (you would possibly want extra for an even bigger pan), and convey to a boil.

As the water boils and evaporates, it leaves a movie of baking soda across the partitions of the pan that you would be able to then scrub off. When a lot of the water has boiled off, flip off the warmth. Then use a long-handled brush or scouring pad to wash off your mess (once more, new pads work higher).

It’s greatest to do that whereas the pan continues to be sizzling, so utilizing gloves and gripping the pan with a towel or oven mitt could assist. We’ve had success with this methodology for freshly scorched pans, however it isn’t as efficient for boiling off grime that has amassed over time.

Photo: Sarah Kobos

Wirecutter senior employees author Michael Sullivan has a particular methodology for banishing years’ price of built-up scorch marks. He totally submerges his dingiest pans in a pot of boiling water and baking soda to boil off the stains. Although wrangling a big metallic object from a pot of steaming water is slightly awkward, the outcomes are magical.

Choose a vessel that can suit your pan, equivalent to a big inventory pot for small skillets or a roasting pan for bigger ones. Then fill it with sufficient water to submerge (or principally submerge) your pan and convey it to a boil. If you’re utilizing a big roasting pan, you’ll be able to organize it over two burners on the stovetop.

Add a hearty pour of baking soda (about ¼ cup or ½ cup), after which rigorously place your pan within the water. Reduce the water to a mild boil and let the pan prepare dinner for about 15 to half-hour, flipping or rotating it if needed so that each one the edges are boiled. You ought to begin to see brown residue flaking off.

Using tongs and silicone oven mitts, take away the pans rigorously. Then, to create an abrasive slurry to assist break down the remainder of the stains, add extra baking soda and water to the pan, and scrub shortly whereas the pan is sizzling. You can maintain on to the pan with a towel.

To actually scrape off each final little bit of gunk, go on the rivets with a toothpick or an affordable paring knife.

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