How to Clean Stainless Steel Pans with Vinegar & Baking Soda

Do you want to clean your burnt stainless steel pans to look like new ones? This blog post is for you.

Today, I’ll share the right way of using baking soda and vinegar to clean them. BUT, the twist is that you’ll know the truth about how to use these two iconic, non-toxic cleaners to clean any utensil in your kitchen correctly.


This means you can use either of these two, but not both, to get cleaning done. Besides this, I’ll share the most effective methods to clean burnt pans

Are you curious to know more?

Keep reading this article.

The Truth about Cleaning Pans with Vinegar & Baking Soda

While a combination of vinegar and baking soda can be an effective cleaner for some people who have not discovered the truth, it’s not always the best choice for cleaning pans, pots, and utensils, especially those made from certain materials. Here’s why:

Reaction Can Be Overwhelming

When vinegar (an acid) reacts with baking soda (a base), it produces carbon dioxide, gas, water, and salt. This reaction can create a fizzing action that releases gas. This reaction can help lift dirt and grime, but it might be too vigorous for some kitchen items, potentially causing splattering and mess.

Abrasive Action

The fizzing action from the reaction between sodium bicarbonate and vinegar can create a slightly abrasive mixture. It can be helpful for cleaning some surfaces, yet it might not be suitable for materials that can easily scratch or get damaged, like nonstick coatings or certain types of pans and pots.

Metal Reactivity

Some kitchen items are made of metals that can react with acids like vinegar. For instance, if you use vinegar on aluminum cookware, it can cause discoloration or damage to the finish.


After the vinegar and baking soda reaction, some residue might be left behind. This residue could be difficult to clean off and require additional rinsing or scrubbing.

Better Alternatives

There are specific cleaning agents designed for different types of cookware and utensils. Using baking soda alone, dish soap, mild abrasives, or specialized cleaning products might be a more effective and safer choice.


While vinegar and baking soda can help with some cleaning tasks, they might not be as effective at cutting through grease and tough, baked-on residues as compared to products formulated for such tasks.

If you’re looking to clean your pans, pots, and utensils effectively, it’s generally best to follow the manufacturer’s cleaning instructions and use cleaning agents appropriate for the material.

If you’re interested in natural cleaning solutions, you can find many eco-friendly cleaning products on the market specifically designed for kitchen use. Always do a small test in an inconspicuous area before using any new cleaning method to ensure it doesn’t damage your items.

Top 3 Methods to Clean Stainless Steel Pans with Vinegar and Baking Soda

The previous discussion makes it clear that you can either use vinegar or baking soda to clean the pan. So here I’ve listed the 4 most workable methods for cleaning stainless steel burnt pans.

1. Boiling Water, Baking Soda, and Dishwashing Detergent–Most Effective Method

Cleaning stainless steel pans using boiling water and baking soda is the simplest and most effective method that requires minimal effort. This technique utilizes the combined power of boiling water and baking soda to tackle stubborn stains.

Boiling water helps to loosen grime, and baking soda provides a gentle abrasive action. It’s an efficient way to restore the shine and cleanliness of your stainless steel pans.

Here’s how to do it:

Get Supplies

Get baking soda, water, dishwashing detergent or any available detergent, a stove, a pot or kettle, and your burnt stainless steel pan.

Boil Water

Fill the burnt stainless steel pot or kettle with enough water to cover the stained areas of your pan. Bring the water to a boil on the stove.

Add Baking Soda

While the water is boiling, add a generous amount of baking soda and detergent into the water.

Let it Boil

Allow the solution to boil for around 15-20 minutes. This gives the combination time to work on loosening the stains.

Scrub Gently

After the waiting period, drain the water. Then, gently scrub the pan’s surface with a soft cloth or sponge. Use circular motions and a bit of pressure to remove the softened residue.

Rinse and Dry

Rinse the pan thoroughly with warm water to wash away the baking soda mixture. Dry it with a clean towel to prevent water spots. If you desire extra shine, you can buff the pan with a dry cloth after it’s completely dry.

Keep your stainless steel pans looking their best by regularly cleaning with this method and avoiding abrasive materials.

2. Hydrogen Peroxide and Baking Soda Paste–Runner-Up Method

The combination of hydrogen peroxide and baking soda creates a potent cleaning paste that effectively tackles even challenging stains. The hydrogen peroxide helps to break down stains, and the baking soda provides a gentle scrubbing action. This method is a fantastic way to restore your stainless steel pans to their former shine and cleanliness.

Follow these easy steps:

Gather Materials

Collect hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, water, a soft cloth or sponge, and your stained stainless steel pan.

Create the Paste

In a small bowl, mix ¼ cup of baking soda with some hydrogen peroxide to create a paste. Stir well until it’s a consistent mixture.

Apply the Paste

Spread the paste evenly over the stained areas of the pan, focusing on spots with stubborn residues or discoloration.

Allow Soaking

Let the paste sit on the pan for approximately 20-30 minutes. This gives the mixture time to break down and lift the stains.

Scrub Gently

Using a soft cloth or sponge, gently scrub the pan’s surface where you applied the paste. Employ circular motions and light pressure to avoid scratching the stainless steel.

Rinse Thoroughly

After scrubbing, rinse the pan thoroughly with warm water to remove any leftover paste and residue.

Dry and Shine

Dry the pan with a clean towel to prevent water spots. For an added shine, you can buff the surface with a dry cloth. To maintain the gleam of your stainless steel pans, avoid harsh cleaners and abrasive materials. Regularly using this method can prevent stubborn stains from accumulating.

3. Vinegar and Water Solution–Effective yet least Recommended

Cleaning stainless steel pans with a vinegar and water solution is an easy and natural method to remove stains and bring back their sparkle. Follow these simple steps:

Gather Supplies

Collect white vinegar, water, a soft cloth or sponge, and your stainless steel pan that needs cleaning.

Mix the Solution

In a spray bottle, mix equal parts of water and white vinegar. For instance, if you use 1 cup of water, add 1 cup of vinegar. Give the bottle a gentle shake to combine.

Spray the Solution

Liberally spray the vinegar and water solution onto the stained areas of the pan. Concentrate on spots with stubborn residue or marks.

Let it Sit

Allow the solution to sit on the pan’s surface for about 5-10 minutes. This gives the vinegar time to loosen the stains.

Scrub Gently

Take a soft cloth or sponge and gently scrub the pan where you sprayed the solution. Use circular motions and moderate pressure. Avoid using abrasive pads to prevent scratches.

Rinse and Dry

After scrubbing, rinse the pan thoroughly with warm water to remove any vinegar residue. Dry it with a clean towel to prevent water spots.

Add Shine

To add extra shine to your pan, you can wipe it down with a dry cloth once it’s fully dry.

Prevent Future Stains

Maintain your stainless steel pans by avoiding harsh cleaners and abrasive materials. Regularly using the vinegar and water solution can help prevent tough stains from building up.

Vinegar’s natural acidity helps break down stains while being safe for stainless steel. This method is great for light to moderate stains and is an environment-friendly way to maintain the beauty of your stainless steel pans.

Why Shouldn’t You Use Aggressive Material to Clean Stainless Steel Pans?

Using aggressive materials to clean stainless steel pans should be avoided because they can cause damage to the pan’s surface. Stainless steel might seem tough, but it can actually get scratched easily. When aggressive materials like harsh scouring pads or abrasive cleaners are used, they can create tiny scratches on the surface of the pan. These scratches not only look bad, but they also provide places for food and dirt to stick to, making the pan harder to clean in the long run.

Additionally, aggressive materials can remove the protective layer that stainless steel naturally forms, which can lead to staining and rusting over time. This means your pan might not last as long or stay looking nice.

To keep your stainless steel pans in good shape, it’s best to use gentle cleaning methods like baking soda, vinegar, or hydrogen peroxide, as they clean without scratching. Soft cloths or sponges are also better than harsh scrubbers. Treating your pans kindly will help them stay shiny, clean, and in good condition for a much longer time.

Why Shouldn’t You Use Baking Soda Paste to Clean the Pans and Pots?

Baking soda is like a cleaning superhero. It’s a powdery substance that’s great at breaking down greasy and sticky stuff. When you mix baking soda with a small quantity of water, it creates a kind of paste. This paste is like a cleaning potion that helps to remove the dirt and grime from the stainless steel pan.

But the problem is that this paste can dry out quickly. So, the trick is to use baking soda and water as a solution, along with some dishwasher detergent, and let it boil for 15-20 minutes. Later, you can scrub away the burnt food residue without scratching or damaging the shiny surface of the pan. It’s like giving your pan a nice, soothing spa treatment to make it sparkle again.

Final Thoughts

When it comes to cleaning stainless steel pans, vinegar, and baking soda are your dynamic cleaners, but you must use them without creating a duo. The simple, natural methods shared in the article are gentle on your pans while being tough on stains. Whether you’re using vinegar’s acidic power or baking soda’s gentle scrubbing action, both cleaners can help you restore the shine and cleanliness of your pans without causing any harm. 

Remember, a little patience and the right materials go a long way in maintaining the beauty and durability of your stainless steel pans. 

So, next time you’re facing a stubborn stain, reach for the vinegar or baking soda and watch your pans sparkle again!

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Cashmere Muhammad
Cashmere Muhammad

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