Safe Ways to Remove Stains From Stainless Steel

Frustrated with stubborn stainless steel stains? You have come to the right place. Stainless steel is the epitome of elegance and chic look for any kitchen. From stainless steel cooktops, sinks and appliances to cookware the material is perfect for adding opulence.

However contrary to what the name implies, stainless steel does stain and discolor on use. For instance, cooktops scratch easily, sinks form stains from the cleaning mishaps and cookware rust or form stains when food gets burnt while cooking and so on. Here are some useful and environmentally safe ways to remove stainless steel stains and make your kitchen retain its original sheen.


Removing stainless steel stains from cookware

Stainless steel cookware is preferred by many over non-stick as they have minimal health hazard risks. However staining is one big issue with such cookware. Fortunately we have just the solution you need

Stains from calcium deposits

If you are using tap water for cooking, you are bound to get white lime scale or chalk deposits on the bottom of your cooking pan.

The stains are due to water breaking down the bicarbonate in it into calcium carbonate, which you see as lime scale deposits. Removing the stain is simple.

You have to add one third cup each of water and white vinegar to the stained pan, warm it and discard the solution. After wiping it clean, you will find the stains have vanished completely.

Rust stains

Even if stainless steel is resistant to corrosion, it is not completely corrosion proof. So how do you remove rust from your cookware? Rub a paste made of baking soda and water over the rusted parts and use a plastic scrubber or toothbrush or even cloth to rub the paste on the rust. This works wonderfully.

Heat tint

This is a discoloration seen in stainless steel pans in colors similar to a rainbow. It affects the sleek, smooth and shiny look.  To remove this tint, you can use white vinegar and water solution or Bar Keepers Friend cleaning solution.

Stains from burnt food

This is the most common stain as everyone tends to burn food while cooking at one time or the other. To tackle the burnt food stain, baking soda is a powerful solution. Cover the burnt portion of the pan with water. Sprinkle baking soda liberally over the stain. Let the stain soak in the baking soda solution for a minimum of 30 minutes. Use a plastic scrubber to scrub the stain. If you have stubborn stains, allow the baking soda to soak for longer time.

Black stains

Black residue is often seen in new stainless steel cookware, which is not removed with dishwashing or manual washing. The residue formed due to the use of fine abrasives on the stainless steel can be removed by using salt and lime juice mixture or baking soda and warm water mixed in equal parts.


How to remove stains from stainless steel cooktops and sinks

Removing stains from stainless steel sinks and cooktops can be tricky as you can easily leave scratches on the shiny surface. This can spoil the beautiful appearance of the cooktop, sink or cookware.  Here are some tips to get rid of the offending stains:


Vapour from steam helps to remove stains. Place a microfiber or paper towel over the stain and pour boiled water over it to wet it.  Let the water soak for about 10 minutes. When the surface cools, rub the stained surface using a paper towel. Take care to rub it in the grain’s direction.

Baking soda

Baking soda is a great cleaning aid. Use a mix of dish soap of liquid variety and baking soda and use a soft cloth or microfiber to rub the solution on the stain. Once you have scrubbed thoroughly, rinse the surface and wipe it dry.


If the above two methods fail, use Vinegar either white or apple cider on the stained area. Allow the vinegar to soak on the stain for some time. Use a soft fabric to wipe the stain.

Preventing stainless steel stains

Prevention is better than cure. This is true in case of stainless steel too. While using stainless steel cookware, sinks or cooktops make sure you follow these tips so you can avoid most of the offending stains and the difficult chore of getting rid of the stains.

  • Avoid using chlorine containing cleaning solution or bleach. Even using bleach product on a nearby surface can cause the solution to drip on the stainless steel surface.
  • Oven cleaners can wreak havoc with stainless steel surfaces. So cover the surface when you are using oven cleaners.
  • Avoid using highly abrasive cleaners on stainless steel
  • Avoid wire brushes, steel wool or any other abrasive tools for cleaning stainless steel. Vinyl pads which do not cause any scratches are best.
  • Always scrub along the grain direction just like you would with a wooden surface.
  • Wipe any stains or spills immediately so you will not have to slog to remove the set stains
  • Clean stainless steel cooktops frequently. This will prevent dust and stain build up and make your cleaning work easier.
  • Salt also helps to remove stains. But be careful with salt as it can cause scratches on some stainless steel surfaces
  • To prevent pitting of pan from using salt in boiling water, add salt only when the water is at a rolling boil stage.

As you can see, stainless steel stains are easy to avoid. If you still face the issue after taking all the precautions, the above stain removing tips are sure to help you get rid of them quickly and have your stainless steel kitchen items shining like new.