Cleaning stainless steel cookware, mostly Wirecutter advice

Posted By on May 12, 2022

Condo1718KitchenF180924Who else hates cleaning up stainless steel cookware, especially stainless steel frying pans?

We opted to upgrade the mishmash pots and pans at the Delray Beach condo back in 2018 with a full set of IKEA stainless steel cookware. Unfortunately whenever it comes to using them, we opt for the cheap and ugly red “semi” non-stick pan because it is easier to clean. Maybe there is a better way to use them that doesn’t involve so much cleanup work?

Saving a NYTime’s Wirecutter article on the topic:

To clean most pans after cooking in them, you’ll likely need less than five minutes to wipe them out, scrub them down, and dry them off.

But removing tough stains can take longer. Whether you’re using elbow grease to scrub or boiling baking soda and water in your pans, it can take 15 to 30 minutes or more. In some cases, you may want to leave a baking soda slurry on stains overnight before washing it off the next day.


To clean a pan that you’ve just used, first scrape out excess oil with a spatula, or wipe it out with a paper towel. Then deglaze the pan by adding some hot water. Cleaning a hot pan is easier, and adding hot water won’t damage it. But always let your pan cool down before fully submerging it in cool water. Otherwise the sudden change in temperature (called thermal shock) can cause a still-hot pan to warp.

You can loosen any fond (the browned bits of food) with a long-handled dish brush—we like the OXO Good Grips Dish Brush, which we’ve used in our test kitchen for years.

Grab a green Scotch-Brite scouring pad or sponge, along with some dish soap, and scrub the inside and outside of the pan, using a continuous circular motion. A Scotch-Brite pad will lightly scratch the surface of the pan. But as long as you avoid harsh pads (such as steel wool), it won’t affect your cookware’s performance or lifespan. A softer sponge, like a Dobie pad, won’t leave scratches, but using one requires more elbow grease. And it won’t save your cookware from getting marked up by metal cooking utensils anyway.

Rinse and then dry with a clean, absorbent towel.


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