The $8 Product That Totally Transformed My Cookware

updated May 1, 2019
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(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

I’ll confess: I like to cook over high heat. That means I get lots of burnt-on splatters on my stainless steel cookware. And they’re never easy to get out. In fact, a bunch of my skillets had marks on the outside that I just thought I’d have to learn to live with.

Just by chance, when my regular cleaner wasn’t in stock at my supermarket, I picked up Brillo Cameo Aluminum & Stainless Steel Cleaner. And, well, now this is my regular cleaner.

(Image credit: Sharon Franke)

There’s still some scrubbing involved, but when I put in a bit of effort, this stuff can get my cookware looking brand spanking new. It even got those stains out, as you can see by this half-cleaned pan pictured above.

I also noticed that, when I used Cameo, it also got rid of the incredibly hard-to-remove stains in my old white porcelain kitchen sink, which I had all but given up on. That got me thinking and I brought this magic bottle into the bathroom and instantly scrubbed off some discolorations in my bathtub.

Cameo’s balanced formula of acid and alkaline substances is what makes it work on a variety of surfaces, both removing stains and shining up metal. It comes in a powder, and I’ve found the best way to use it is to make a paste (with water) and let it sit on the dirty surface for a few minutes before scrubbing. After using it, you do have to rinse a few times to get off the residue that stays behind.

One other nice thing about Cameo is that it comes in a plastic container with a flip-up lid and a sprinkle dispenser. Similar cleaners come in cardboard packaging that gets wet and soggy.

I also like Bar Keepers Friend Cleanser & Polish but only the original formulation in powder form. And regardless of which cleaner I use, I always work with a Scotch-Brite Dobie Pad, which is effective but doesn’t scratch.

What’s your go-to cleaner for stainless steel cookware or even porcelain items?