How To Clean Tough Burnt Stains Off Stainless Cookware

updated Jun 21, 2023
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I have this pot I use all the time in the kitchen. And it undergoes some pretty rough treatment. Everyday cleaning with dish soap gets it clean enough. However, heavy use leaves it blackened and burned over time. Every once in a while, I like to give my burnt pot a deep clean that leaves this trusty standby looking like new. To do so, boiling water does the trick; aside from that you would need baking soda and a mesh dish cloth to remove the burnt stains. Here’s how.

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Do you have a pot that looks like this? Rescue it! (Image credit: Emma Christensen)

How To Clean Tough Burnt Stains Off Stainless Cookware

What You Need

Stainless steel cookware with blackened, burnt-on stains
Baking soda or Bar Keeper’s Friend
Boiling water
Mesh dish cloth




1. Put your dingy old pot or pan on a stovetop burner. Fill to the top with water.

2. Turn the burner on and bring to a boil. Let boil for 20 minutes.

3. After 20 minutes, the brown and black staining should be loosened from the pan. Test this by scraping lightly with a wooden spoon.

4. Remove from heat and pour off the now-brackish liquid. It may look gross, but it’s evidence that this is working!

5. Coat the bottom of the pan with baking soda or Bar Keeper’s Friend and scrub with a mesh dish cloth.

6. Rinse well and get cooking with your gleaming “new” pan!

Additional Notes

• If your pan is particularly stricken and one round of boiling water doesn’t do the trick, you can repeat the process but this time pour enough vinegar to cover the bottom of the pan prior to adding the water. Some people find boiling water with vinegar is great for really tough stains.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

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(Images: Emma Christensen)