One of the best investments you can make in your kitchen is stainless steel cookware. As long as you treat it properly, stainless steel can last for decades. You won’t need to worry about replacing your pots and pans every few years. You’ll also get the benefits of stainless steel’s superior durability and overall construction.
It should be noted, however, that stainless steel only lasts for decades if you treat it correctly. The cookware can become prematurely damaged if it’s cleaned improperly. You may have heard conventional advice saying that stainless steel cookware needs lengthy soaking before it can be cleaned.
But this isn’t correct. Long periods of soaking can cause hard water stains, which might ruin your cookware aesthetics.
Oftentimes, we need our pans and pots to be quickly cleaned so we can use them to cook again. We don’t have time to wait for a lengthy dishwasher cycle. Many of us don’t even have a dishwasher to begin with.
We scrub our pans with dish soap, a sponge, and hot water. But there are so many sponges available on the market, how can you tell which is the best to use on your stainless steel cookware?
What to Avoid
You may have noticed brown marks on your stainless steel cookware. It might be tempting to use an abrasive sponge to attack these, but you should avoid abrasive surfaces. Abrasive sponges scratch the surface of the pan or pot.
Instead, use a sponge with a soft pad, non-abrasive bleach cleaner, and hot water. If food has been burned onto the surface, you might use steel wool pads, but only sparingly! Using them too often will lead to surface damage.
Stainless Steel Cleaning Tips
The best method for cleaning stainless steel cookware involves soaking it for short periods of time. If you let it soak for too long, there will be permanent watermarks. Let the cookware soak just long enough for any burnt-on food to loosen.
Rather than using steel wool pads to remove stains, add a baking soda solution to a soft sponge and do some light scrubbing of the pot. This helps remove the dirt while keeping the surface scratch-free. Baking soda lifts stains and provides a lovely shine for your cookware.
Once the cookware has been thoroughly scrubbed, you should rinse it with warm water. To keep water marks or spots from forming, dry the cookware immediately using a cloth or paper towel.
It’s also important to make sure the cookware has completely cooled before you wash it. If you submerge a hot pan or pot in cold water right away, it can cause warping. This causes the cookware to be unusable.
If discoloration of your stainless steel cookware is an issue, you can use vinegar to wash it out. Discoloration is often a result of overheating, but high-acid materials can help get rid of it.
Regular Sponges or Steel Wool?
Regular sponges tend to combine a soft side and abrasive side. Steel wool is another product entirely. Each has advantages and disadvantages.
Steel wool tends to be a bundle of thin, flexible threads made out of steel. These cleaning devices are the best for tough messes like baked-on food. However, they do have the potential to damage your cookware if you use them too often. As long as steel wool isn’t your day-to-day go-to for sponges, it’s okay to use once in a while.
Combination sponges are a more versatile option, designed to handle everyday cleaning as well as tough messes. For the hardest cleaning jobs, though, the abrasive side might not be enough.
Another drawback of these sponges is that their material begins breaking down after just a few uses. They tend to come in multi-packs to make replacement easy.
One type of sponge you may not have heard of is a Dobie sponge. This is the most versatile cleaning device on the market. It’s gentle enough to handle your everyday cleaning needs, but it can also tackle the messes suited for steel wool.
The Best Sponges for Stainless Steel Cookware
A variety of high-quality sponges are available on the market. However, many of them deteriorate after just a few days of use. This means that your sponges should be replaced each week or two. It’s important to find the right balance between sponge quality and price.
Your best sponge option for stainless steel pans is the Dobie Cleaning Pad from Scotch-Brite. These cleaning pads can tackle your stainless steel surfaces and much more.
They’re long-lasting, available in a number of sizes, and highly absorbent. The durability is what makes them the ideal sponge when you’re cleaning stainless steel cookware.
A Dobie pad lasts much longer than cheap alternatives. You’ll still need to replace them every few weeks, but you won’t run through them the same way you will cheaper sponges. As time goes on, you’ll find yourself spending less money on replacement sponges.
The Dobie pads are available in a number of different sizes and colors. One great cleaning option is to color coordinate each sponge. Your kitchen is full of different bacteria, and it helps to keep those bacteria from mixing. For example, sponges shouldn’t scrub pots and pans if they have raw meat on them.
You can also use your sponges for other tasks around your home. They can be used to clean your counters and windows, so they’re more versatile than many other brands.
If you use them with non-abrasive bleach, you can lift almost every kind of stain from your cookware. You’ll be left with cookware that’s as shiny as the day you got it!
Dobie sponges are your best option if you want to clean your stainless steel kitchenware correctly. You don’t have to replace them as often as many alternatives, and they won’t scratch your cookware.