While it sounds favor an oxymoron, the truth is that stainless steel, while one of the hardiest and a lot of durable cookware products, is not immune to staining. In order to clean a stainmuch less steel pan, your initially action is to identify what the stain is. Is it burnt food, is it a rainbow hue or is it pitting?

I’m here to help! Here are the 6 many prevalent stains on stainless steel that you can come throughout and also exactly how to remove them.

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Stains on Stainmuch less Steel Cookware #1

White Stains aka Water Stains aka Calcium Deposits

These are those white stains that just won’t scrub amethod. Turns out, that white stuff is calcium.

Now you can be wondering, just how did Calcium acquire stuck onto my pans? Here’s the thing: tap water, also if it is not tough water, tends to contain tiny quantities of calcium bicarbonate. When water is boiled or food is cooked in that water, the water breaks down the bicarbonate into calcium carbonate (aka chalk or limescale!). This is the hazy white stuff that is stuck to the bottom of your pans. Here’s among my pans with the all also familiar haze.


I realized that we are now the proud owners of … a pitted pan!

What is pitting?

Pitting is technically not a stain however an erosion of the surchallenge of the metal. Pitting on stainless steel occurs in the existence of chlorides, like salt. So clearly, the tap water that was boiling in our pot had some salt liquified in it which went on to develop pitting once all the water was gone.

I’m going to go into deeper detail for those interested in a much more clinical explanation, myself included! The reason why stainless steel is resistant to corrosion is because it contains chromium. Chromium reacts through oxygen in the air to develop a thin layer of chromium oxide on the surchallenge. It is this layer of chromium oxide that renders stainmuch less steel passive and also protects the steel from reacting via oxygen and rusting.

Now I’ve been boiling salted water (for pasta, rice and so on.) for years so I recognize that salted water usually doesn’t damage stainmuch less steel. However before, as soon as undissolved salt is added to a stainmuch less steel pot (or water boiled dry, as in my case) the chloride in the salt can assault the passive layer of chromium oxide, leaving pockmarks wright here it gets rid of the oxide.

Can you remove pitting stains?

According to hunker.com, yes, by grinding out the pitted and/or rusted parts and being careful how you usage it in the future (i.e. prevent expanded expocertain to salty water, vinegar etc.) so that it doesn’t pit aobtain.

For many of us that are not willing or able to grind a pan, I would say, no. Once your stainless steel pan is pitted, it’s pitted.

Is it safe to use a pitted pan?

Now if you’ve check out my article on stainless steel cookware, or if you’ve invested any time relooking stainless steel you would recognize that it does leach tiny amounts of nickel and chromium right into food. For the majority of of us, the quantities are not significant and by and also big, stainless steel is thought about a safe material for cookware.

According to many accounts, a pitted pan is still safe to usage and will certainly not shed its function though of course, it won’t look as great as prior to. The chromium in the stainmuch less steel would already have created a new layer of chromium oxide layer over the pits and in concept, your pot is as corrosion resistant as prior to.

Others, however, warn that a heavily scratched and pitted pot will leach even more of these metals and also you need to dispose of them. Personally, I am going to toss my pitted stainmuch less steel sauce pan, I don’t desire to take the possibility.

Stains on Stainmuch less Steel Cookware #3


Yes, that’s ideal, rust. Stainless steel by its nature is corrosion resistant. But not corrosion proof and periodically it does rust. If you are wondering what would make stainless steel rust, I’ve talked about it in my article here.

Two questions come to mind:

How to remove rust spots from stainless steel pans; andIs a rusty pan safe to use?

How to rerelocate rust spots from stainmuch less steel pans

If you view a little bit of rust on a stainless steel pan, your first instinct should be to reach for a pad of good old SOS steel wool, right?


The first point to carry out is to protect against making use of any type of steel wool, difficult steel brushes or abrasive cleaners on your stainmuch less steel pan. These will make the pan even more prone to corrosion.

Tright here are couple of choices. If you desire to go the organic path, make a thick paste of baking soda through water and also cover the rusted sections. Use a toothbrush, plastic scrubby or soft towel to rub the mixture onto the rust. The rust must come right off.

Another choice is to usage Bar Keepers Frifinish which works just also.

Is a rusty pan safe to use?

According to the professionals at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, little of rust is not harmful and also is rather benign in tiny amounts. Rust is basically oxidized iron and also is just harmful if your body is unable to remove iron successfully.

Having shelp that, you don’t want to be consuming huge quantities of it, so make certain you follow the over procedures to make certain the rust has been cleaned off the pan before you usage it aacquire.

Personally, yet, I would avoid making use of a pan that mirrors indicators of rusting. In my opinion, a pan when rusted is always going to be susceptible to rusting aacquire, also if you rerelocate all the corrosion. Also, I prefer to play it safe. In this short article at prevention.com, toxicologist James H. Woods, PhD, of the department of eco-friendly and also job-related wellness scientific researches at University of Washington claims that while he is not conscious of any kind of health concerns regarded eating food made in rusted pans, why would you take the risk? He recommends buying brand-new cookware

So perform I.

Stains on Stainless Steel Cookware #4

Heat Tint

If you’re acquainted through warmth color, it’s that ugly rainbow-prefer discoloration on your stainmuch less steel pan brought about by extreme warmth or by heating a pan also conveniently. It doesn’t affect the performance of the pan nor the foods cooked in the pan. Just the aesthetics. To be honest, most of my stainless steel pieces look like they are heat tinted and I can’t say it has actually really ever bothered me much.

What precisely causes warm tint?

Stainmuch less Steel is an alloy of steels including iron, carbon, chromium and also nickel (you can check out more around SS here). The chromium in the steel combines with oxygen in the air to create a thin, invisible layer of chromium oxide which renders the product passive and stays clear of the air from further reacting with the metals.

Now, when stainmuch less steel is heated, the oxidation boosts and also the peak layer becomes thicker. As the layer becomes thicker, the wavelength of light that it shows transforms and thus we check out a selection of colors. As the temperature increases over time, the oxidation boosts and the colors readjust, normally in a variety from yellowish to blue.

How to remove warm tint?

It seems you deserve to usage Bar Keepers Friend for just around anypoint to perform via cleaning a Stainmuch less Steel pan. Heat color have the right to be cleaned via a little of BFK and also some tlc. Alternatively, a mixture of white vinegar and also water additionally functions just fine.

Stains on Stainless Steel Cookware #5

Burnt Food

Ah, this is by far my favorite (not!). But certainly the one I have the a lot of endure via and, in my opinion, the many complex stain to clean from a stainless steel pan. If you’ve also been tempted to just throw out a SS pan through stubborn charred on food, you’re not alone. I’ll go as much as to admit that I when could actually have actually thrown out a perfectly great SS frying pan for that extremely reason!

The more interesting question, but, is exactly how to clean stainmuch less steel cookware that is burnt. I find that baking soda functions fairly well. Cover the base of the pot through water and also sprinkle it generously with baking soda. Let sit for at least 30 minutes. Scrub it off gently with a plastic scrubber. For really poor burns, leave it in for much longer.

Anvarious other choice of course is Bar Keepers Friend. Here’s an awesome video that mirrors just how effective this wonder cleaner is for rerelocating scorch stains from a pan. The pan in the video is an enamel pan however the principle remains:

Stains on Stainless Steel Cookware #6

Black or Grey Residue on New Stainless Steel Cookware

Now this is an odd one and one I haven’t skilled myself. But I’ve watched many queries about just how to clean a stainless steel pan that has a black or grey residue, so it warranted some deeper study.

Here’s what quite a couple of users have actually experienced: They buy a brand-new set of stainless steel cookware and, as supposed, wash it through heat soapy water prior to the first usage. All excellent so much. Then comes time to wipe the inside and they discover babsence or grey residue coming off on the paper towel.

The interesting thing is, the residue is still there after multiple washes and also cleanings.

What is the babsence residue on brand-new stainmuch less steel cookware?

When SS cookware is made, a mechanical polishing process utilizing very fine abrasives is provided to make it shiny. Sometimes this procedure leaves a residue that cannot be rerelocated by hand also or dishwashing.

How to clean a stainless steel pan that has actually black residue?

Here’s what KitchenAid recommends: spread a tiny amount of olive oil on the inside of the pan. Let it sit and also then wipe the oil out. After that, proceed to wash through dish soap and also warm water.

Other references are to gently scrub using a mixture of lemon juice and salt and then wash.

Some SS cookware comes with instructions to scrub it gently via a 1:1 mix of baking soda and also warmth water prior to using the pans.

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Some final words of caution:

So there you have actually it – the most widespread stains on stainmuch less steel and also how to remedy them. While it seems that some stains on stainless steel cookware are unpreventable, below are some last words of caution:

Don’t usage oven cleaner on your cookware as it can be abrasive.Don’t use chlorine based cleaners like Comet and also Ajax as chlorine is corrosive on SS. Use acid based cleaners choose Bar Keepers Friend or simple white vinegar.Likewise, don’t bleach your cookware through chlorine bleach.Avoid the usage of abrasive steel wool. That strips the protective top layer of chromium oxide and provides your pan susceptible to corrosion and rust. A plastic scrubby is recommfinished.When including salt to boiling water, bring the water to a rolling boil before adding salt and also stir well. This prevents the pan from pitting.

Happy Cooking!