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How to clean stainless steel that is discoloured from heat

Stainless steel has an advantage over other forms of metal in that it resists rusting. Stainless steel is used in any area where metal comes into contact with other materials on a regular basis. Cooking utensils made from stainless steel are also popular because they are low-maintenance. However, stainless steel can become streaked with unsightly heat stains. There's no reason to live with the stains. With a few simple household products, you can bring back the shine to your stainless steel pots and pans.

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  1. Wash the stainless steel using a soft cloth dipped in hot water into which a few drops of washing-up liquid have been dissolved. Do not use abrasive cleaners on the stainless steel, or else the stainless coating will come off of the metal and it will eventually rust.

  2. Dry the stainless steel object with a towel.

  3. Dip a soft cloth in vinegar and rub over the surface of the stainless steel. The heat streaks should start to rub off of the metal and transfer on to the cloth. Continue to rub the surface of the steel vigorously until no more streaks come off of the surface.

  4. Pour a small amount of sparkling water over a clean, soft cloth. Rub the cloth vigorously over the surface of the metal until all traces of heat damage are removed. The metal should shine and look mirror-like once more.

  5. Pour a small amount of olive oil on another dry, soft cloth. Rub the oil into the surface of the stainless steel to provide additional protection from heat damage and to remove any streaks caused by issues other than heat damage.

  6. Remove any excess oil with a dry cloth before storing the stainless steel.

  7. Tip

    Use a stainless steel polish to remove stuck-on stains such as food, tar and scratches from the surface of stainless steel. These cleaners are sold at most DIY or hardware shops, and contain tiny abrasives that lightly scratch the surface of the stainless steel. This removes the contaminants from the surface and leaves the metal shiny.


    Don't clean the inside of a stainless steel pan with anything that is not safe for consumption, such as stainless steel polish. Olive oil shouldn't be used inside a pan because it can become rancid and ruin the taste of food.

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Things You'll Need

  • Vinegar
  • Olive oil
  • Sparkling water
  • Paper towels
  • Soft cloth
  • Washing-up liquid

About the Author

Brenda Priddy has more than 10 years of crafting and design experience, as well as more than six years of professional writing experience. Her work appears in online publications such as Donna Rae at Home, Five Minutes for Going Green and Daily Mayo. Priddy also writes for Archstone Business Solutions and holds an Associate of Arts in English from McLennan Community College.

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