Stainless steel cookware is a popular kitchen staple due to its durability. It is generally easy to clean and doesn't require much maintenance, which saves lots of time and energy. However, despite its name, it does tend to appear stained from time to time with rainbow hues or small white spots on the surface of the steel. Luckily, these discolorations are easily removed, so you can bring your pots and pans back to their stainless state quickly.
Use Distilled White Vinegar
Vinegar is a versatile cleaning product that is gentle on nearly every surface. Use it to combat unsightly blue or rainbow hues on your pan by adding some to your pan and scrubbing the affected area. Make sure to use a nonabrasive cloth or sponge to avoid scratching and further damaging the surface. Rinse off the vinegar with clean water and dry your item.
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If the problem is small white water spots in the bottom of a pot or pan, you can use vinegar to fix these marks too. Combine 1 part vinegar with 3 parts water in the pan and bring it to a boil on the stove. Let the pan and the solution cool before washing out the pan with soap and water and then drying it.
Try Tomato Sauce
It may sound like a very alternative method, but rest assured that tomato sauce can work as well as vinegar to remove stainless steel discoloration. What makes the tomato sauce effective is the acidic base of tomatoes. Simply pour tomato sauce into the discolored pot or pan until the sauce completely covers all the discolored portions. Let the sauce simmer for approximately 10 minutes before removing it. Then clean and dry the pan as usual.
There are a few ways help prevent discoloration of your stainless steel cookware in the first place. One of the most important ways to care for your stainless pots and pans is to wash them with nonabrasive brushes or cloths and dry them immediately after washing. Avoid using harsh scrubbers, like steel wool, which will leave scratches on the surface of the steel.
If you're cooking with salt, wait until the water has begun boiling before adding the salt. Putting salt in beforehand can cause irreparable pitting corrosion in the bottom of your pan. Cold foods are also more likely to stick to the bottom of a pan, so remove your food from the fridge 10 to 15 minutes before setting it in the pan. It's also helpful to heat your pan before you add cooking oil and then let the oil get hot before adding the food to the pan; this will prevent the food from sticking to the stainless steel surface.