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Cleaning Stainless Steel pan?

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
Bought my first stainless steel pan (10" Calphalon try-ply), and cooked my first meal (creamy salmon/mushroom pasta sauce) in it.

Now I'm trying to clean the pan without using the abrasive side of the sponge, and it's kinda cleaning the pan but leaving some weird yellowish/brownish coloring all over the pan. If I rub my fingers inside the pan I can feel the finish is not as smooth as when the pan was new.

I don't want to ruin the pan with the abrasive side of the sponge. I'm using Palmolive. Is that the issue? Do I need another brand of detergent? Or any other tip to get the pan clean without ruining it?

post #2 of 24
Pick up a container of a cleanser called Barkeeper's Friend - it's a cleanser that is recommended by quite a few of the cookware manufacturers. I use it with a green scrubbing pad made out of nylon ( blue ones are made out of a less abrasive poly type material and can also be used for other surfaces). Sprinkle some in your pan to form a paste consistancy and scrub away.

Just make sure not to use either the cleanser or the green pad on any nonstick or cast iron pans.

Hope that helps,
post #3 of 24
Thread Starter 
Thanks Willie! This is the sponge I'm using. It's a thick regular sponge with a thin more abrasive (and darker blue) side. I looked at the package and it actually says it can be used for Calphalon non-stick; but I'm using Caphalon stainless steel.

Are you saying with that pad it's ok to use the abrasive side on the inside of the stainless steel?

post #4 of 24
Yes. You absolutely can use the "scratchy" side on your stainless. Scotch-
Brite are wonderful for stainless. It's the dutch uncle in me, I suppose, but I can't help adding that you'll get more use out of separate sponges and Scotch-Brite pads.

Your best strategy for cleaning cooked on guck is to let the pan soak for a few hours or overnight with water, then wash it with regular dish soap and you Scotch-Brite. Be patient, and just keep going over the same spot over and over without too much pressure. It will eventually soften and come out. If not, then try Bar Keeper's Friend. But again, not too much pressure.

It's well worthwhile having a few cans of BKF and a big pack of Scotch-Brite pads around.

post #5 of 24

You can use the abrasive side of that sponge for sure. If you find that that doesn't do the job get a Scotchbrite green scrub pad (doesn't have any sponge attached). They're more abrasive than what you're using now. The Barkeeper's Friend you should be able to pick up at your local market or Walmart.

Good luck,

post #6 of 24
Thread Starter 
GREAT! Thanks a lot for the help guys.
post #7 of 24
One last stainless tip:

If stuff really gets cruddy -- say around the handle rivets; or something's stuck on beyond belief -- use oven cleaner and let it sit. That'll do 'er.

post #8 of 24
Thread Starter 
Great. Thanks again.
post #9 of 24
lemon juice and salt.
post #10 of 24
One more comment re: Bar Keepers Friend.

It comes in both a powder and liquid form. The liquid sucks. Just doesn't do the job. Get the powder!

I also find it pays to transfer it from the fibre can in comes in into a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid. Otherwise it absorbs moisture and turns lumply and clumpy.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
post #11 of 24
There are a number of cleaners specifically for stainless, but Barkeeper's Friend is the best (IMHO). If you are nervous about using a scrubbing pad, BKF works well with a soft cloth too. In a pinch, you can make a paste of baking soda. That also works very well, and is non-abrasive. A paste of baking soda, with a soft cloth, is the only thing I use to polish chrome in my kitchen. If you need to soak a pan prior to cleaning, use the hottest tap water, and sprinkle in some dishWASHER detergent. Another method that has worked well for me with a scorched pan is to add some baking soda to the pan with water, and bring it to a boil, then set aside to cool before cleaning. Non-stick pans are not supposed to scorch, but stuff happens. Baking soda is safe to use in them.
"The pressure's on...let's cook something!"
"The pressure's on...let's cook something!"
post #12 of 24
Thread Starter 
Great, thanks again for all the tips!
post #13 of 24
No No No No No No No .... <LOL>

When I got my first stainless pan I had problems with food sticking. Over time I learned that scrubbing hard, abrasive sponges, and all sorts of other "tricks" and secret methods were, for me, a waste of time. Here's what I do - as has been suggested before in passing - I put some halfway decent dishwashing soap (the stuff for dishwashers is best, but regular detergent works well also) on the offending area and fill the pan with HOT water - the hotter the better - boiling is good but not always necessary. I fill the pan with a fair amount of water as the more water the longer it stays hot. Then I leave it alone, come back in the morning, later in the day, whatever - just soaking for a few hours or over night. Then it's real easy to clean out the gunk with a plin old sponge. When the pan is clean, or reasonably clean, Barkeepers Friend is used. And, in the future, even if the pan isn't encrusted, I use BKF once a week or so. I believe, right or wrong, that the slight abrasive action of BKF keeps the stainless a little smoother and less prone to get sticky crud. It works for me, even to the point of searing meat without the use of any oil in the pan. Usually a quick deglaze is all that's needed, and rarely anything more than a soak.

I refuse to use anything abrasive on my pan other than BKF powder, although once, by mistake, I used some brand or another of cleanser, like Comet or Ajax. Worked a trreat, but I'd not use it frequently or instead of BKF.
post #14 of 24
I've mentioned this before for SS cleaning.

The manufacturer of Magnalite Professional Stainless pans (a cheaper All-Clad type of pan) recommends that if you have a really tough stain or burn-on (I can achieve this fairly regularly) you put a teaspoon of dishwasher detergent and a quarter-inch of water in the pan and set to simmer on the stove. Only takes a few minutes.

You also set your vent fan on PANIC speed (or HIGH if you don't have the other) because the fumes are pretty obnoxious. If the weather is suitable, open some windows, too.

This blasts the crud off without much if any abrasion necessary. I have used it at least eight or ten times with complete success, providing I am not suffocated by the fumes. :eek: Well, so far, so good.

travelling gourmand
travelling gourmand
post #15 of 24
Put your knife sharpening "oil stones" in the very same pan to get them squeaky clean. Clean (flat) stones make for much sharper knives. Dillbert once wrote that not everyone needs to "trisect a fish scale," but who doesn't want to?

post #16 of 24
Thread Starter 
Well thanks again to everyone. I bought BKF and it definitely did the trick to get all the weird stains out of the bottom. The pan is shiny new again. Thanks!
post #17 of 24
I put all of my All-Clad stainless through the dishwasher, that's why I bought it. I have BKF, and I've used it once or twice in ten years.
post #18 of 24
I use BKF for more than just my stainless pans. Yesterday I had the urge to polish some of the copper in my kitchen. I thought I had some copper polish, but it seems to have disappeared, but I did find silver polish. I expected it to do the job, but it wasn't as affective as I'd hoped. So I put some BKF in a separate dish, and dipped the sponge first into the silver polish, then into the BKF. This made really quick work of the job, but with no abrasion marks on the copper. I had tested it on the bottom of one canister first.
I recently had to retire my favorite pressure cooker (:cry:), after more than 20 yr's constant use, because the company went out of business (:mad:) and the interior gaskets could not be replaced...not the lid ring, but the other gaskets. But it still looked great because of regular maintenance with BKF.
It really is a great product. The only thing I would change is the packaging. I don't care for the cardboard canister, so whenever I get a new supply, I immediately transfer it to a plastic container. (maybe someone else said that too?)
"The pressure's on...let's cook something!"
"The pressure's on...let's cook something!"
post #19 of 24
Just another info point: I've been using BKF for a couple-three years now, and have never experienced the lumpy-clumpy problem. However, the San Francisco Bay Area isn't particularly humid, so that may have something to do with it. Nonetheless, I may put the contents of the next can into a glass jar just in case ;-))
post #20 of 24
What will void my All-Clad Warranty? Take a look at #5:
  • If your All-Clad is used on high heat for a period of time.
  • If your All-Clad is left empty on a heated burner for a period of time, the metals may separate and cause extreme damage to your All-Clad.
  • If your All-Clad LTD, MC2, Cop-R-Chef, Copper-Core, or Non-stick pieces are used in the dishwasher.
  • If metal utensils are used on the non-stick cooking surface.
  • The use of scouring pads, steel wool, abrasive cleansers, bleach and/or oven cleaners will void your warranty.
  • Salt usage may cause pitting to the stainless steel interior. To avoid salt damage, do not add salt to your food until the liquid begins to boil. The salt pitting will not interfere with the cooking aspect of the pan, only the beauty of it.
post #21 of 24
most stainless "life time warranty" companies list a laundry list of "do-nots" that we do everyday. Calphalon tri-ply as well.

fact is....for me...barkeepers friend works.
post #22 of 24
Thanks for all the great tips :)
post #23 of 24
>What will void my All-Clad Warranty? Take a look at #5:<

Being as All Clad doesn't honor it's own warranty, why does it matter?
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
post #24 of 24
Only from the POV that there are some things that may damage the pan and one may not want to do them.

Right now I'm miffed at All-Clad:
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