How To Clean Stainless Steel Cookware

For many cooks, especially beginner cooks, washing pots and pans may become an important factor in deciding what kind of cookware they should buy. This is why the question comes up so often: “How do you clean stainless steel cookware?”

Many manufacturers state that their stainless steel cookware is dishwasher safe but if you read more closely, they recommend hand washing.
While the dishwasher will not damage your stainless steel pots, the harsh detergent might stain it a bit.

Washing these pots by hand is not difficult if you follow this method.

First, soak it. And what I mean by soaking is add hot water (not cold) to the pot or roasting pan immediately after taking the food out. In other words, don’t allow the leftover food to dry, or the soak will take longer. If the pot is very dirty on the outside, you may need to do your soaking it in the sink. Do not add a lot cold water to a very hot pan as this may warp it.

Soak it for at least 15 minutes (sometimes overnight) and then wash it gently with a brush to loosen all the stuck matter. Add soap and continue to wash off all the food remains.

If further scrubbing is needed, use a fine powder cleanser such as Bon Ami or Barkeepers Friend. Add water to form a paste and rub with a soft cloth in a circular motion.
DO NOT USE oven cleaners or cleansers with chlorine bleach. DO NOT USE steel wool. If further scrubbing is needed, nylon scrubbing pads are safe to use.

If you still have stubborn black residue, and soaking it overnight did not work, Cuisinart® Chef’s Classic™ Stainless Cookware recommends “adding water to a depth of one inch in the pan, with a tablespoon of dishwasher detergent (a non-lemon product). Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Let cool in the pan, then drain and rinse. Loosen the residue with a sponge or plastic spatula. Repeat if necessary. “

Always rinse well and dry your pots. Following this method will keep your pots and pans shiny for as long as you own them but if you want to make your life easier, here are some things you can do to prevent staining in the first place:

1. Start with low heat for one or two minutes before adding foods. In other words, let the pan heat to proper temperature, but make sure that the flame is not too high. Speeding the process will only stain the outside of the pan. If the oil starts to smoke immediately after you add it to the pan, it means the pan was too hot.

2. Make sure your stove is level. This way most of the cooking fat will stay evenly placed in the pan and you will not get burnt spots. If you have old fashion spiral electric burners, they can easily be out of level if they were not placed correctly into the slot so be aware of that.

3. Add salt after food has started to cook to prevent pitting. If you are boiling water for pasta, add the salt after the water starts to boil. Pitting are small white dots that may appear at the bottom of the pan and while pitting does not interfere with cooking performance, it can diminish the beauty of the stainless steel.

Please note that reader’s comments are welcome, however this is not a forum and questions may not get answered. Thank you.


  1. Posted January 30, 2012 at 11:39 AM | Permalink

    If you have a stainless steel pan with black deposits on the outside sometime along seams or in difficult to reach places like around handles try soaking overnight in warm water and a biological washing detergent for clothes, in the morning these deposits will come off really easily leaving you with shiny like new pans!

  2. Karen Wood
    Posted May 8, 2015 at 10:06 AM | Permalink

    I burned my “Cuisinart – FCT193-18 Stainless/Inox Induction Ready” boiling water under colander to keep rice warm! I didn’t turn off and water boiled away! Really burned my pot outside & inside! Help! Is there any chance of saving it? I love the pot! It has stripes & stains inside & out! Also burned on food on inside! (Boiled rice in pot before keeping warm!)

    Thank you in advance for your help!

  3. audrey
    Posted November 16, 2015 at 8:58 PM | Permalink

    I used my new Cuisinart stainless steel pot from France for the first time to steam broccoli with a steamer and afterwards I see it pitted the inside of the pot. I am so upset.

    What? Why?

  4. Joey La Penna
    Posted May 19, 2016 at 3:43 PM | Permalink

    Having problems conditioning my 8 inch stainless steel frying pan so my eggs don’t stick. Can I get some advice? I’ve tried getting pan hot then canola oil and kosher salt, wipe clean but still sticking. Starting the morning off with broken eggs really stinks!

  5. Alice Flowers
    Posted May 22, 2016 at 4:21 PM | Permalink

    In reply to Joey’s question, go to youtube and do a search “stainless steel seasoning” and you will find your answer. I have done mine by heating the clean pan, and adding coconut oil. Swirl it around and allow it to cool. Hope this helps.

  6. Theresa Weitkamp
    Posted June 25, 2016 at 1:37 AM | Permalink

    The best way to fry eggs is as follows…
    Heat the pan on medium high before putting any oil into it. When drops of water sizzle or bounce on the bottom of the pan, it’s ready. Remove the pan from the burner and spray with PAM or olive oil. Wait 30- 40 seconds before putting it back on the burner. Crack the egg into the pan and immediately turn the burner to medium low and cover with a lid. Allow it to cook for a minute or two, check it, turn it and allow to cook a little longer, and voila… beautiful fried eggs.

  7. R Kruger
    Posted October 28, 2016 at 3:44 AM | Permalink

    I had a lot of problems with sticking when I first bought my Cuisinart pans. A chef at Sur La Table told me to heat the pan for 2 minutes prior to adding any oil. Then when you add the oil, it should flow in what looks like “rivulets” across the pan, instead of just flowing smoothly like it does when it’s cold. If you see the rivulets, then it’s ready to cook your food.

    Ever since, I set my timer for 2 minutes every single time I’m going to cook eggs or saute something. Depending on what I’m cooking, I then add olive oil or in the case of eggs, I spray with a Canola Spray (I use Trader Joe’s). I fry and scramble eggs with no problem. I have some residue left on the pan, but not much. After the pan is cool, I fill with hot water, Method soap, and if there is residue, I add baking soda. I leave it to soak and the pan cleans with just a swipe of a dishrag. This system has worked for me for 10 years now and my pans are all still in beautiful condition. I also put all of them in the dishwasher after wiping out any residue. I’ve found Lemishine to make my pans look so shiny and new.

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