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Caring for Stainless Steel Cookware

Posted by Rachel Schwartz on 8/6/2020

Stainless steel cookware may be the most common type of cookware found in a residential or commercial kitchen. Most stainless steel pots and pans are made up of steel mixed with various other metals to reduce the risk of corrosion and increase the strength of the metal. There is almost always at least 10% chromium in the mix though other metals can include nickel, aluminum, silicon, sulfur, and manganese. It is the combination of these metals that determines the grade of the stainless steel itself. Regardless of the grade of the stainless steel, stainless steel cookware can begin to rust or wear thin with time. Luckily, caring for your stainless steel pieces is easy and can help them last for years. 

If you have just finished cooking, wait until the pan or pot has cooled before washing it. Adding cold water to a hot pan or putting a hot pan into a sink full of water can cause warping. Once the pan has cooled, wash it using warm, soapy water and a dish cloth or a non-abrasive sponge. Using something like steel wool can scratch the finish off which is not good for the pan or for you as it compromises the cookware. Rinse with clean water and dry with a towel or let it air dry in a dish drain.

If there is food stuck or burnt on to the pan, you can fill the pan with some warm water and sprinkle a bit of baking soda into the water. Let this soak for around 10 minutes or so before using a non-metal spatula to try and loosen the food. Similarly, to remove calcium building (chalky white spots) from your stainless steel cookware, fill the pan with 3-parts water and 1-part vinegar. Bring this mixture to a boil and let it cool before washing the pan like normal.

There are some pots and pans that can be put in the dishwasher, but most manufacturers recommend hand washing stainless steel cookware to preserve it. 

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