How to Clean The Outside of Stainless Steel Pots and Pans

Stainless steel pans and pots look so shiny and bright when new, but over time, this cookware can get brown spots and discolored areas on the outside that just can’t be removed by routine cleaning. Thankfully, there is an easy and super cheap way to get your pots and pans looking clean again, no matter how burnt or stained they are.


The most important secret to restoring shine to the outsides of stainless steel cookware? Bar Keepers Friend. This is a non-abrasive, non-bleach cleaner you can for around $2 at any hardware store.

What you need:

  • Bar Keepers Friend
  • Rubber gloves (these are optional, but recommended
  • Scrubbing pad (ideally, a non-abrasive sponge or a Dobie pad to minimize scratches)
  • Water
  • Elbow grease

How to clean:

  1. Pour a some water into the pan or pot, then add in a few shakes of Bar Keepers Friend
  2. Mix the powder and water to form a paste. Ideally, you should use a very small amount of water to from a firm paste texture
  3. Collect the paste on an abrasive sponge and use it to spread the paste all round the outer sides of the pot or pan and at the bottom.
  4. Now apply some elbow grease on the sponge and start scrubbing away the stains. This could take anywhere from 5 – 10 minutes. Apply a few more shakes of the cleaning agent to the sponge to remove the determined and burnt out stains typically found at the bottom of stainless steel cookware.
  5. Rinse the pot or pan, and then dry it.

More Cleaning Tips For Stainless Steel Cookware

  • You can also use baking soda to clean this type of cookware. Simply apply three parts of baking soda to one part water apply it to the outer part of the pots and leave it on for about 10 minutes. After this, use a non-scratch sponge to scrub the pans the rinse.
  • Never use ammonia or chlorine on a stainless steel pan, the chlorine interacts negatively with steel at the molecular level to corrode it. Ammonia may get into your lungs and interact harmfully with the linings
  • When buying stainless steel cookware, spend a little more and buy pans and posts with copper bottoms or cores. This is because stainless steel is not a very good hat conductor have adding copper to the bottom ensures that the food cooks evenly without staining in overheated spots.
  • Soap-impregnated steel wool is very effective at removing burnt spots from the outside of pots and pans. However they cause scratching and should be used for very tricky messes only. You can minimise damage by working the surface of the pan or pot while the steel wool is submerged in water. When scrubbing, fight the natural inclination to bear down n the pad, rather move it lightly over the stained area, allowing the steel wool to do the work for you.
  • Dobie pads are the best cleaning sponges to use. They are covered with plastic netting that safely scours the surface without scratching it


There you have it, if you have a toasted, roasted pan bottom; this is the easiest way to clean it. While marks and stains on the outside of the pot don’t affect cooking, it is more of an aesthetics thing. Do this on a regular basis to keep your cookware shining as bright as new!

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