How To Remove Burn Marks on Stainless Steel Cookware

The origins of stainless steel can be traced back to 400 CE in India, where the then reigning king, Kumara Gupta I ordered the erection of the Iron Pillar of Delhi. This Iron Pillar was both strong and non-corrosive because of the different metals it was composed of. Around 1,821 metallurgists started implementing the use of alloys, or combinations of different metals on different everyday materials such as cutlery. Eventually due to their non-corrosive nature they were used on cookware, such as pots and pans.

The stainless steel alloy in stainless steel cookware is generally composed of a minimum of 11.5% chromium. Other alloy variants such as 18/8 (18% chromium, 8% nickel) and 18/10 (18% chromium, 10% nickel) exist. The combination of steel, chromium and nickel allow us to mix, fry, or boil our food without the fear of the cookware rusting and contaminating our food.

However, even if your stainless steel pots and pans are rustproof, they aren’t burn-proof. Leaving your stainless steel too long on top of your stove may leave ugly black marks around and inside your cookware. Here is how you can remove these unwanted and unsightly burn marks on your stainless steel cookware.

  • Put some powdered dishwashing agent in the steel cookware. Then, fill the cookware up with water just enough to cover the burn marks.
  • Bring the cookware to the stove and heat it under medium high heat. Wait for it to boil. Then, let it sit overnight without spilling the heated water with detergent. Soaking the cookware with the detergent solution will help in the loosening up of burnt pieces of food. This will also initially remove some of the burn stains out.
  • In the morning, throw out the detergent solution and scrub out the burn marks. The softened stains inside the cookware are now loose and can be easily removed.
  • Fill a container with warm water. The size of the container will depend on how many stainless steel cookware you will clean. Add three cups of vinegar. Believe it or not, vinegar is a very potent cleaning agent. Put the cookware in and let it sit there for several hours. Change its orientation every now and then to soak all the sides of the cookware in the vinegar solution.
  • After soaking the pans in vinegar, do not throw it just yet. Remove the cookware from the container and scrub them with baking soda. Do the scrubbing in circular motion. Use a generous amount of baking soda such that it would leave a thick layer of baking soda paste both on the inside and on the outside of the pan. Let it dry together with the baking soda paste.
  • Using the vinegar and water solution, rinse the stainless steel cookware. Fizzing is normal so do not be frightened.
  • Throw out the vinegar and water solution and wash the cookware. Scrub it again to make sure there are no burn marks left.

You may need to do these steps several times before your cookware will look nice again. Do not be disappointed if your cookware don’t clean up as fast as you expected.


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