Stainless steel is where it’s at in our kitchen. Suffice it to say, our stainless steel pots and pans are constantly in use. As you probably know, stainless steel pots and pans are not non-stick. There are times when things don’t stick, but cooking the pans are generally covered with ‘stuff’ that doesn’t want to come off.
A little TIP for cooking with stainless steel: heat the pan first and then add cold cooking oil.
How to clean stainless steel pots and pans the green way
For the past umpteen years I’ve been using good ol’ fashioned elbow grease to clean our stainless steel pots and pans. I usually let the pans soak overnight and then in the morning wash with hot, soapy water. I never wash the pans in the dishwasher-this could damage the stainless steel finish.
Friends of ours were visiting a few weekends ago and we cooked dinner together. One of the pans took a beating and was a challenge to clean even after soaking overnight. We decided to look into a few other ways to clean stainless steel.
- Cover the bottom of the pan with vinegar. Sprinkle in some baking soda. My kids love to watch the interaction between the vinegar and baking soda-they will fizz and bubble. Let the mixture sit for 2-3 minutes. Rinse it out and wash.
- Heat the pan after use and then pour in hot water. Once the water is hot use a wooden cooking spoon to scrape the bottom of the pan to loosen and remove excess food. After you’ve loosened most of the food, dump the water from the pan and wash in warm, soapy water. Don’t put hot stainless steel into cold water in the sink-this could warp the pan.
- Fill the dirty pot or pan with 1 part vinegar to 3 parts water. Bring the mixture to a boil. Let it cool to the touch, then wash thoroughly with hot, soapy water and dry.
- For tough stainless steel stains and burns: Mix together equal parts baking soda and water to form a paste. Apply it to the burned or stained area. Allow the paste to sit for 15 minutes before scrubbing it away with sponge or a clean cloth. Wash the pot with warm, soapy water or poor in a cup of vinegar and sprinkle in baking soda. Add a half cup of water, and allow it to simmer on the stove for at least 20 minutes. Pour the mixture out and scrub the pot clean.