If you’re like us, you love your stainless steel pots and pans. They transfer heat well, provide a great sear on anything you put in it, and take a beating from metal utensils without hardly blinking. But over time, no matter how thoroughly you wash them when you’re done, they can get brown and splotchy – particularly if you cook on high heat with minimal oil. The splotches don’t usually affect cooking in the pan, but certainly prevent it from looking like new.
Luckily, there’s a really simple way to restore the shine to your stainless pans, using something you almost certainly have laying around your kitchen – baking soda.
Baking soda is a really gentle abrasive. Just make a paste using baking powder and water (start with a tablespoon of baking powder and a teaspoon and a half of water) and rub it on the inside of the pan with a paper towel (or soft sponge – just don’t use a scratchy sponge). This will work just as well on the outside of a stainless pan if the outside has gotten gunky. For cleaning the inside of the pan, go ahead and mix it right in the pan without dirtying another bowl. You may need a bit more water if the paper towel or sponge absorbs too much, but just make a paste and scrub away. If your pan’s only a little marked up, a small amount of paste and a little elbow grease will clean it up. If it’s really brown, you may need to scrub for a while or even rinse away the first batch of paste and make (and use) a second one. But you’ll see results immediately and even stubborn stains can be removed. Soon, your pan will be looking like new.