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Semi OT - Polishing Stainless Kitchen Pans

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  • Semi OT - Polishing Stainless Kitchen Pans

    Somewhere in the past I thought I had seen an article on here about cleaning and polishing "stainless" kitchen pots and pans, but cannot find it now so thought I would ask others opinions on the best way to approach this.

    I cannot say enough good things about SWMBO. She helps out with almost everything I do, goes on "tool retrieval expeditions" both near and far with me, generally puts up with me, and does all of the usual womanly duties in the kitchen. Over the last year she has been also going back to school full time and working simultaneously which has put her time at a premium, and I have noticed that our pots and pans have suffered a bit. We are both really careful about getting the inside of them clean (I do help to a minor extent), but the outside of them have gotten covered in burned-on food "boogers" that are a royal PITA to clean off. The pots/pans in question are mostly newer Farberware "stainless" with the anti-stick teflon coating inside, with a few completely "stainless" Revere (older US, not newer Chinese).

    The question is, how is the best way to remove the boogers from the non-food contact areas on a large scale basis? I was thinking of experimenting with the buffer, but dont really care to ruin the appearance of (relatively) expensive cookware. Would I be better off with a chemical cleaner, or do I have nothing to fear about the "stainless" becoming discolored? Do I need to be concerned much about what I use, being that these are food contacting items, but the cleaning is on non-food-contacting areas?

    I would really like to surprise her sometime by cleaning them all up while she is out, so any help is appreciated.
    "I am, and ever will be, a white-socks, pocket-protector, nerdy engineer -- born under the second law of thermodynamics, steeped in the steam tables, in love with free-body diagrams, transformed by Laplace, and propelled by compressible flow."

  • #2
    Bar Keepers Friend is your friend too. Try it.

    Last edited by Pete F; 01-19-2012, 01:38 AM.
    I just like to make stuff.


    • #3
      I've found the expanded melamine foam (such as Mr. Clean Magic Eraser) does a great job of pulling out stains on pans that I couldn't even get out with Comet.
      Esoteric Garage


      • #4
        Oven cleaner.

        Warm the pan, soak it with oven cleaner, let it sit for a while, wash it off, and hand buff any stains that might be left.


        • #5
          glass bead blast?


          • #6
            Hit your local restaurant supply store. Can't think of the trade name offhand but some one there should be able to help. Up here, Gordon Food Service carries some good gubbin cleanser.


            • #7
              Zep Stainless Steel cleaner-


              Can usually be found at Homedespot and other fine big box stores.$5-7/can
              I just need one more tool,just one!


              • #8

                Water is the "universal solvent". Soaking in water for an hour or two should make everything come of fairly easily, maybe with a little Scotchbrite. Hot water should do even better.


                • #9
                  + 1 on the Barkeepers Friend


                  • #10
                    Lemon juice can be used to clean stainless.



                    • #11
                      Take them out to your shop and leave them there. Buy her new ones exactly the same. Use the old ones to collect stuff or to soak things.

                      Less work and you will have some brownie points and some pots in your shop!
                      Location: The Black Forest in Germany

                      How to become a millionaire: Start out with 10 million and take up machining as a hobby!


                      • #12
                        We like the stainless steel wads for scrubbing things. It may somewhat dull the finish, but we've never seen it to be of concern. We throw the wads into the dishwasher to clean them and they keep on going.


                        • #13
                          Harbor Freight sells "non-woven abrasive" balls that fit in your drill. They work ok but you need to finish with the finest grade and then buff because they do leave scratches. I have done this on her All-Clad.

                          This will also work but is usually more than I want to do (we keep the pans up pretty good).

                          get a lawn/leaf plastic bag.
                          put pans in it along with a bunch of ammonia and tie off real good
                          leave overnight.


                          • #14
                            ALL of the various "scrubbers" will give a texture to the surface that is somewhat different from the originall finish. If it is dried or cooked-on food, NOT BURNED-ON, then I recommend a thorough soaking in warm water with a couple of tablespoons of TSP added. Leave them an hour or so. Then, with rubber gloves, (TSP will strip the oil out of your skin,) and elbow grease and a rough cloth, you should get the lumps off.
                            As for that "new-pan" shine, there are several stainless steel cleaners. I believe that the industry uses a citric acid based cleaner.
                            Duffy, Gatineau, Quebec


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Duffy
                              ALL of the various "scrubbers" will give a texture to the surface that is somewhat different from the originall finish.
                              Does that include the melamine foam erasers? I am dubious it is hard enough to appreciably change the finish - unless I've been using it wrong?
                              Esoteric Garage