At The Table With: Ty Schmidt, Creator of SchmidtyBakes

At The Table With: Ty Schmidt, Creator of SchmidtyBakes

We’re kicking off Pride Month with a spotlight on one of our most colorful creators—Ty Schmidt, founder of SchmidtyBakes! We talked about the importance of acceptance, the joy of sharing a meal and who he’d invite to a dinner party.

How To Clean And Care For Your Stainless Steel Cookware

Aug 23, 2023

how to clean and care for your stainless steel cookware

Stainless steel cookware has long been a favorite in kitchens across the globe—not only because of its shiny, sleek appearance (it really does look great in every kitchen), but also due to its durable and non-reactive nature. However, like all good things, it requires proper care to keep it in tip-top shape.

Whether you’re a professional chef or home cook, knowing how to properly clean your stainless steel cookware is essential to maintaining its quality and extending its lifespan. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the steps to effectively clean and care for your stainless steel pots, pans and other kitchen essentials to keep it sparkling and performing well for years to come.

Hungry for more? Upgrade your cookware with the stainless steel of your dreams! From brand favorites like All-Clad and Cuisinart to Viking and Demeyere, there’s something for every kitchen.

Explore Our Stainless Steel Cookware

how to clean and care for your stainless steel cookware

EVERYDAY MAINTENANCE FOR STAINLESS STEEL

When you first purchase stainless steel cookware, you’ll likely notice its bright, shiny and often mirror-like finish. This shiny appearance is one of the most attractive features of the cookware itself, giving it the sleek and classic aesthetic it’s well-loved for.

Over time and with use, the shine might diminish due to factors like scratches, residues or mineral deposits from hard water. But, with proper care and occasional polishing, it’s possible to maintain or restore much of its original luster.

Everyday care of stainless steel cookware is the place to start—and while simple, it can dramatically extend the life of your pots and pans. Here are some tips to help maintain the beauty and functionality of your stainless steel cookware:

  1. Choose handwashing over dishwashing: While many stainless steel items are labeled as dishwasher safe, handwashing is recommended. The aggressive environment inside a dishwasher, combined with harsh detergents, can eventually dull the cookware’s finish. Besides, handwashing provides more attention to detail so you can catch spots or residues that a dishwasher might miss.
  2. Ensure your cookware is fully cooled before cleaning: After cooking, allow your stainless steel cookware to cool down before cleaning. Immersing a hot pan in cold water can cause warping due to the sudden change in temperature. Once cooled, use warm, soapy water, which is gentle yet effective in removing grease and food particles
  3. Use gentle cleaning agents: For everyday cleaning, soft cloths or sponges are ideal. Avoid abrasive pads like steel wool or scouring brushes, as they can scratch the surface and diminish the cookware’s shine over time. Remember, with stainless steel, a little gentleness goes a long way.
  4. Address the water spots: Hard water can leave spots on stainless steel. To prevent these, always dry your cookware immediately after washing using a soft, lint-free towel. If spots do appear, a quick wipe with a cloth dampened with white vinegar will help restore the cookware’s shine.
  5. Preheat the pan: To prevent food from sticking, it’s essential to understand a bit about the cooking process. Always preheat the pan before adding oil. Once the oil is heated (it may shimmer or ripple slightly), you can add your food. This method creates a natural, temporarily nonstick surface, making both cooking and subsequent cleaning easier.
  6. Store your cookware properly: When storing your stainless steel cookware, ensure there’s minimal contact with other pans, especially those made of harder materials. If you’re stacking them, using soft cloths, felt pan protectors, or paper towels between pots and pans will prevent scratching.
how to clean and care for your stainless steel cookware

HOW TO CLEAN STUBBORN RESIDUE AND BURNS

Even with meticulous care, stainless steel cookware can occasionally fall victim to stubborn residues and unsightly burn marks. While these might seem daunting at first, there are proven methods to restore your pots and pans to their former glory. Here’s how to address these culinary mishaps:

  1. Start by soaking: If your pan is cooled and you have stuck-on bits that seem totally cemented to your pan, begin by soaking the affected pot or pan in warm, soapy water for an hour or longer. This will help soften and loosen up some of the residues, making subsequent cleaning easier.
  2. Scrub with gentle abrasives: Cleaning agents like Bar Keepers Friend or baking soda act as a mild abrasive that can help scrub away stubborn stains without damaging the surface of your stainless steel. If using baking soda, start by making a paste by using equal parts of water and baking soda, then apply the paste to the affected area. Using a soft cloth or a non-abrasive scrubbing pad, gently scrub the area in a circular motion and rinse with warm water before drying.
  3. Cut through burnt foods with a vinegar solution: Vinegar, with its acidic properties, can help break down burnt-on food and stains. To clean your pan with a vinegar solution, first fill the pan with a mixture of one-part vinegar (white or apple cider vinegar works well) to three-parts water. Then, bring the mixture to a boil and let it simmer for a few minutes. Using a wooden spoon, scrape the food bits from the bottom of the pan—they should come off easily. You can also simply allow the pan to cool, and then scrub gently with a non-abrasive pad.
  4. Be proactive through prevention: While it’s reassuring to know that there are methods to clean stubborn residues, prevention remains the best strategy. A few key tips to remember:
    • Always preheat your pan before cooking.
    • Avoid cooking on excessively high heat.
    • Use oils with higher smoke points for frying.
    • Ensure food is at room temperature, especially when searing, to prevent sticking.
how to clean and care for your stainless steel cookware

TIPS FOR CARING FOR STAINLESS STEEL COOKWARE

To maintain that gleaming finish on your stainless steel cookware, proper care is essential. Here are some crucial prevention tips to ensure the lasting beauty of your stainless steel, along with methods to keep it looking as radiant as the day you purchased it.

  1. Heat gradually: Avoid exposing your stainless steel pots and pans to sudden high temperatures. Instead, heat them gradually. Begin at a low or medium heat and increase as needed. Sudden temperature spikes can lead to warping or discoloration.
  2. Salt after boiling: Adding salt to cold water can cause pitting on the stainless steel surface. Pitting is a form of localized corrosion where small pits or holes form on the surface of the metal. Always ensure the water is boiling or nearly boiling before adding salt, ensuring it dissolves quickly and doesn’t concentrate at the bottom.
  3. Preheat before cooking: Always preheat your stainless steel pan before adding oil or food. This helps create a temporary nonstick surface and minimizes the risk of food sticking and leaving residues.
  4. Avoid extended dry heating: While it’s good to preheat your pan before adding oils or foods, refrain from heating an empty pan for prolonged periods, as this can cause discoloration and reduce the shine. It also risks damaging the pan’s core if it has multiple layers.
  5. Avoid longer cook times of acidic and salty foods: Avoid storing or marinating acidic or salty foods in stainless steel for extended periods. These can cause the metal to react, leading to possible discoloration and pitting.
  6. Ensure regular cleaning: This may go without saying but be sure to clean your cookware after every use. This prevents the build-up of food residues or minerals which can dull the surface over time. As previously mentioned, use warm soapy water and a soft sponge for the best results.
  7. Maintain the shine: You’ll occasionally want to bring back that new, shiny appearance of your stainless steel cookware—and there are a few simple household ingredients to help you bring back the sparkle.
    • White vinegar: If you notice water spots or calcium buildup, dab a cloth in white vinegar and wipe down the cookware. Rinse with water and dry with a soft cloth. This process helps in restoring the natural shine of stainless steel.
    • Club soda: For an enhanced shine, especially after a deep cleaning, rinse your pots and pans with club soda. Wipe them dry immediately with a soft cloth to reveal a brilliant sparkle.

 

Hungry for more? Upgrade your cookware with the stainless steel of your dreams! From brand favorites like All-Clad and Cuisinart to Viking and Demeyere, there’s something for every kitchen.

Explore Our Stainless Steel Cookware

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