How to Clean Discolored Stainless Steel Pots and Pans: Easy Guide

Have you ever seen a stainless steel pot or pan that looked yellowed, darkened, stained, or corroded? It’s not attractive. Fortunately, cleaning them is easy with the right tools and techniques.

This article will provide step-by-step instructions on how to clean discolored stainless steel pots and pans of any make or model! It’s going to be easy to follow and a simple process to implement.

Easy cleaning of discolored stainless steel pots & pans

Stainless steel is a great material for pots and pans because it’s durable, easy to clean, and doesn’t react with food. Sometimes though, stainless steel can get discolored from the oils in your food or from years of use.

cleaning stainless steel pan

Here are some simple steps that will help restore your stainless steel pots and pans to their original glory:

1. Fill your stainless steel pot or pan with hot water and add a couple of tablespoons of baking soda.

2. Bring the water to a boil on your stovetop.

3. Boil for approximately 20 minutes while stirring occasionally, making sure that all surfaces are exposed to boiling water.

The baking soda will help lift stains and discoloration from the surface of your stainless steel pots or pans.

Make sure you don’t skip this step! It’s crucial to the cleaning process.

4. Let the water cool down, then use a clean kitchen sponge to thoroughly scrub the pot or pan. Rinse off with cold water and this is it!

While this may not get rid of scratches or deep-set stains, it will help lighten up your stainless steel pot or pan and make it nice and shiny again!

You can read a more in-depth article about general cleaning of stainless steel appliances here.

It’s easier to prevent than clean!

Make thoroughly cleaning your stainless steel pots and pans part of a weekly routine. This way, you won’t have to deal with tough stains and discoloration. Your pots will look better and you’ll be able to use them for longer, without any worries.

A quick soak in hot water, baking soda, and a clean sponge should do the trick!

how to clean stainless steel pots and pans

You can also use rubbing alcohol to clean your stainless steel pots and pans. Add a few tablespoons of rubbing alcohol to the pot or pan with some hot water, let it sit for 20 minutes, and scrub off any remaining discoloration, before rinsing your appliance well.

To prevent stains from forming in the first place, use a paper towel to wipe down the surface after each use, after properly cleaning them first.

This will prevent stains and discoloration from oil that can get into stainless steel pots and pans over time.

Related reading: Learn how to make your own magnetic knife strip at home.

Additional tips & tricks for proper stainless steel maintenance

Don’t use abrasive sponges or metal scouring pads. If you scrub too hard with these, it could damage the surface of your pots and pans!

Instead, clean with detergent only to remove any residue that may be leftover from cooking.

Use a soft cloth to wipe away stains before they set in for good (stains are harder to remove once they’ve set). If regular detergent is not enough, you can try the method recommended above.

Check the manufacturer’s instructions. Some stainless steel pans can go in dishwashers or be cleaned with metal scrubbing pads, which would make things easier.


The bottom line is that discoloration and stains are natural when using stainless steel pots and pans.

Thanks to hot water, baking soda, and a gentle scrubbing, you can easily rid your stainless steel appliances of any stains or discoloration.

Proper maintenance will prevent these unsightly marks from accumulating in the first place and it’s better to prevent than to clean or remove them. But now you know what needs to be done and those stains or discoloration won’t give you any headaches anymore.

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