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What's the best way to clean stainless steel cookware?

People are sometimes surprised to discover that stainless steel can be stained. Thanks to the fact that stainless steel is a very resilient material, cleaning isn't normally a problem.

As far as the causes of stains, we've discovered that often there are chemicals in tap water that can cause stainless steel to stain. Through experience, we've learned that baking soda mixed with liquid dish soap can make a good paste to gently rub on stains. Be sure to rinse the stainless steel surface thoroughly, and towel dry. Water left on stainless steel can also cause stains. If the stains still remain try using vinegar to clean the pots. Remember to thoroughly rinse and towel dry.

If stains still remain we recommend trying a stainless steel cleaner and polisher. The brands, Barkeeper's Friend or Bon Ami, are good powder formulas that can clean without scratching. Be sure to follow the directions, rinse thoroughly, and towel dry. These methods should help remove the discolorations.

Occasionally you may have that burned-on-stubborn-food-stain that you just can't seem to remove. Many of our customers are reporting that all you have to do in this case is take a few tablespoons (depending on the size of your pot or pan) of dish washer detergent or a powdered cleanser - mix, then heat the substance in the soiled pot on your stove-top for several minutes. Let the mixture stand in the pot for several hours up to six hours, depending on the severity of the burned-on-food-stain. If there is still residue left on the pot's surface, it can be cleaned off with a cloth or sponge.

Heating Tinting (bluish or purple rainbow type tinting)

Concerning the tint that often shows up on surgical stainless steel cookware, we assure you that your cookware is not damaged when it acquires this tint.
The color tint is very common, and is formed when stainless steel is heated, not always, but sometimes over a length of time. The colors are related to the oxidation of the steel. The heat tint or temper color formed is actually a progressive thickening of the surface oxide layer and so, as the temperature is increased over time, the colors usually change.

Many experts on surgical stainless steel say that the bluish tint is a tempering of the surface of the steel as a result of overheating, and cannot be removed. If you have a gas stove, you should never put the gas flame up higher than the bottom of the pot or if electric, always keep the heat down. Food is cooked better on a low flame or heat setting, of course, although it may take a bit longer. At any rate, the bottom line is that heat itself is the cause of tinting of a stainless steel utensil.

Below is a collection of tips which our customers have sent to us over the years concerning cleaning surgical stainless steel and as a result of our own research. We cannot guarantee any of these suggestions, we are only adding them for your consideration.

(1) When cleaning food stains as well as tinting from stainless steel cookware, it is best to rinse in hot water then wash with a non-abrasive cleaner, such as Bon Ami or Bar Keeper's Friend, with a damp sponge and hot water. For stubborn or cooked on food, a nylon scouring pad may be used as steel wool may scratch the surface.

(2) Allow the pan to soak in a tablespoon or two of either lemon juice or a strong vinegar solution for several minutes. Then clean thoroughly with hot soapy water and rinse completely again, with hot water.

(3) Always rinse the soap off the pans thoroughly with hot water only.

(4) Nothing will do a better job than vinegar when it comes to removing stubborn stains on your cookware. Here's how to put the power of vinegar to use:
Mix in 1 teaspoon white vinegar for every cup of water needed to cover the stains. Let it boil for a couple of minutes, then rinse with cold water.

NOTE: To avoid white dots or pits from forming on the pot's stainless steel interior, be sure to bring water to a rolling boil before adding salt and stir well.
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