how to clean discolored stainless steel pots

How to Clean Discoloured Stainless Steel Pots

Stainless steel pots and pans are not resistant to staining. The metal’s reaction with acidic foods such as tomatoes or citrus fruits causes a chemical reaction that can leave your stainless steel looking dull and unappealing.

Fortunately, there are easy ways to clean this nasty residue off of your pots and pans in just a few minutes!

After reading this blog post content, you’ll know how to keep your beautiful stainless steel pans shining like new again.

To start, let’s look at the different types of stains that can occur on your stainless steel cookware, including rust, water spots, burned-on foods, calcium deposits from hard water, tarnish from silverware.

Most household cleaners are ineffective in removing these types of stains, but luckily, a cheap solution works wonders. Let’s start it now;

Reasons for Discolouration of Stainless Steel Cookware

Stainless steel cookware is a popular choice among chefs and home cooks because of its durability, versatility, and classic look. It’s also dishwasher-safe! However, if your stainless steel cookware has started to lose that shiny lustre or even become discoloured in spots over time, it may be due to one of the following reasons.

1. It may be due to the improper care of cookware.

2. It could also be because of the food you are cooking in it.

3. Browning and scorching can cause a pot or pan to discolour as well.

4. If your pots and pans have been scratched, then that is another reason for them to turn brownish-greyish in colour.

5. The metal used in your cookware might be the culprit if they’re not stainless steel.

6. A buildup on some pots and pans can also cause them to turn brownish-greyish in colour.

1. Cleaning with baking soda and vinegar

Baking soda and vinegar is a great eco-friendly solution to remove hard water deposits on stainless steel pots and pans. If you’ve noticed your pots or pans are discoloured, follow these instructions for how to clean them with baking soda and vinegar.

  • Baking Soda: 1/2 cup of baking soda mixed in 2 cups of hot water Vinegar.
  • Fill the pot with half an inch of vinegar.
  •  Let it for 5 minutes before scrubbing away any residue.
  • After 5 minutes scrub it and wash it with hot water.

2. Cleaning with salt and lemon juice

Cleaning cookware is a tedious chore, but it doesn’t have to be with the right tools and ingredients. There are many ways to clean your pots and pans. One way is by using salt and lemon juice on stainless steel or copper pots and pans. This will help to remove any stains from cooking or burnt bits on the bottom of your pan.

  • Boil two cups of water for each cup of salt in a saucepan over high heat until the water boils.
  • Stir in lemon juice (a half-cup), then pour into each dish that needs cleaning after stirring it around inside the pot or pan for twenty minutes.
  • Rinse well with hot water before placing them back for storage. It’s also important to dry these cookwares before stroing.

3. Cleaning with dish soap and water

Clean your cookware with dish soap and water is also very helpful. There are a few things that you should know before starting this process:

  • Make sure that the pots or pans are clean of any food particles before beginning to wash them.
  • Use a scrub brush for more difficult foods like burned-on grease or baked-on sauces.
  • Don’t forget to rinse all items after cleaning!
  • Wash with water and then dry it.

4. Cleaning with hydrogen peroxide and a rag 

Cleaning cookware with hydrogen peroxide and a rag is so easy; anyone can do it. There are three steps involved in cleaning pots or pans that have been used for cooking meat on the stovetop: boiling water and hydrogen peroxide.

  •  First, fill a pot with water and bring it to a rolling boil.
  • Then add 2-3 tablespoons of 3% hydrogen peroxide, stirring until the bubbles disappear from the surface of the mixture.
  • Now take your dirty pan out of its usual spot in your sink or dishwasher, pour some of this bubbling concoction into it, let it soak for 15 minutes, and wipe down your cookware until it shines!

5. Cleaning with salt, baking soda or ammonia

A stainless steel pot is a cook’s best friend. It will never rust, and it won’t make a mess of your stovetop with burnt-on food from the bottom of the pan, but keeping them pristine can be difficult.

The most effective method to clean stainless steel pots is boiling them in water for an hour with  baking soda, vinegar and ammonia

This will remove any stains that have been left behind from cooking sauces or past meals. But don’t forget to scrub the inside of the pot beforehand!

6. Rinsing cookware after every use (never let food sit)

It’s easy to keep your stainless steel pots looking shiny and new. After every use, rinse the cookware with hot water, dry well with a clean cloth or paper towel, and add a thin layer of vegetable oil.

The most suitable oil for this purpose is one that will not go rancid or turn dark quickly. You can also rub the pot down with mineral salt if you prefer.

Make sure to give it enough time to soak in before wiping off any excess!

Tips for maintaining stainless steel cookware

1. Clean with a non-abrasive scrubber and hot water.

2. Dry right after washing to avoid water spots

3. Do not use metal utensils on your cookware

4. Avoid using abrasive cleaners or steel wool pads, as these can scratch the surface of your cookware

5. Use plastic or silicone cooking tools instead of metal ones for more durability and protection against scratches and dents

6. Store your cookware in a cabinet rather than on the countertop to avoid scratching it from contact with other objects such as knives or forks that may be nearby


As you can see, discolouration on stainless steel pots is a common issue. We’ve gone over the top reasons why this happens and how to fix it for your kitchenware to look its best once again. Please leave a comment if you still have issues and questions related to cookware with stained stainless steel cookware despite our tips!

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