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How to Clean Stainless Steel Pans (And Bring Them Back to Life)

September 6, 2021

Okay, so you’d love nothing more than to bring your stainless steel pan back to life. It’s your favorite, but you scorched it trying to sear a piece of salmon.

You’ve tried to soak it, boil it in soapy water, and you’ve scrubbed until your fingers were raw. You’ve tried everything, but it won’t come clean. You’re certain if you tried to use it again, it would only get worse – and you’re probably right. 

So, you set it on a shelf and try to forget about it. You don’t have the heart to throw it away because you love this pan. Besides, you paid $129.00 for it. It was a gift to yourself. You just can’t seem to throw it away. Luckily, we have great news for you. Your pan can still be saved! Learn here how to clean stainless steel pans.

How to Bring Your Favorite Stainless Steel Pan Back to Life 

What you need:

  • Bar Keepers Friend Powder Cleanser 
  • Soft cloth (nothing abrasive)
  • Sink with soapy water

How to Clean Stainless Steel Pans After Use 

  • Dampen the pan in warm water.
  • Make a paste using Bar Keepers Friend and water.
  • Use a soft cloth to apply the paste to the pan.
  • Let it sit for one minute, DO NOT let the paste sit any longer.
  • Rub the paste in a circular motion from the center outward.
  • Wash in hot soapy water.
  • Rinse and repeat as needed.

Long time BKF Fan, Muhammad, has followed these very steps on his own 10-year old stainless steel pan. It’s seriously no wonder why his pan looks brand new! Check out these fun progress photos, starring his pal, Kolache the cat:

Muhammad (and Kolache) know how to clean stainless steel pans.
Muhammad (and his pal Kolache) cleaning a stainless steel pan with Bar Keepers Friend.

Don’t feel alone. It’s a story we’ve heard many times.

Learn how to clean stainless steel pans with Bar Keepers Friend
A stainless steel pot cleaned with Bar Keepers Friend Cookware Cleanser.

“Something went awry, and the bottom of the new pan went from pristine to black. We cleaned what little we could, and off it went to languish for way too long in our cabinet. I assumed cooking more with it would only exacerbate the damage… One day, I finally decided to give Bar Keepers friend a shot and, BAM! the skillet looked practically new.” — The Washington Post — One cheap product will change the way you clean in your kitchen  

Here’s another customer’s BKF show and tell, “Every cook has pots that boil over. Having Bar Keepers Friend friend on hand makes all stovetop mistakes a mere memory.” —  Now You’re Cooking Facebook Page.

What About the Bottom of Your Stainless Steel pan?

Learning to clean stainless steel pans isn't hard. Simply sprinkle BKF, scrub and rinse.
Newly transformed Emeril 10″ sauté pan from BKF Fan, Brad S.

Now, you might be asking yourself “how do you clean the bottom of your stainless steel pan?” I’m stating the obvious, but the bottom of your pots and pans take the heat’s brunt, and eventually, it shows. If you’ve ever tried to scrub it off, you know how virtually impossible it is to clean. But does it really matter? A pot or pan with a stained bottom doesn’t affect the cooking.

However, if you’re like me, it’s bothersome. I’m obsessed with cooking in a clean kitchen. I even clean up as I go – do you? There can be no dishes in the sink, nothing can be out of place, and everything must be shiny, including the bottom of my pots and pans. 

Here’s a great example from one of our happy customers – Brad S from Facebook. “My latest BKF save. A beautiful Emeril 10″ sauté pan found in a thrift store.” said Brad. Bar Keepers Friend is our go-to for just about anything.”

By the way, I looked up the cost of an Emeril 10-inch sauté pan. Bed Bath and Beyond lists it at $54.99. I’d say Brad made a pretty good investment, wouldn’t you? 

Cleaning the Bottom of your Pots and Pans

What you’ll need:

  • Bar Keepers Friend Powder Cleanser
  • A soft sponge
  • An empty Kitchen sink

How to clean the bottom of your pots and pans 

  • Set the pot or pan bottom-up in the sink.
  • Sprinkle the bottom with water.
  • Shake Bar Keepers Friend all around the bottom.
  • Scrub in a circular motion.
  • Rinse and repeat as needed.

Bring Your Stainless Steel Pots and Pans Back to Life!

So, now you know how to clean stainless steel pans with Bar Keepers Friend. Don’t throw that saucepan away – use BKF to give it a new day. Did I mention that BKF is only a couple of dollars? So, two bucks for BKF or $55.00 for a new pan. You do the math!

About the Author

Randy Clark - Headshot

Randy Clark is a speaker, coach, and author. He publishes a weekly blog at Randy Clark Randy is passionate about social media, leadership development, and flower gardening. He’s a beer geek and on weekends (after COVID-19) he can be found fronting the Rock & Roll band Under the Radar. He’s the proud father of two educators; he has four amazing grandchildren and a wife who dedicates her time to helping others. Randy is the author of the Amazon bestseller The New Manager’s Workbook a crash course in effective management.

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