{Eco-Tutorial} Non-Toxic Way To Clean Stainless Steel Pans

All my pots and pans are stainless steel. I ditched all the non-stick Teflon pans years ago because of PFOA, “perfluorooctanoic acid“. a solvent used to make Teflon coated pans that are toxic to our health.

I admit; it took months of getting used to stainless steel pans because, as you can imagine, everything sticks to the pan if I’m not careful. But time to time, I get distracted and things DO stick on the bottom. And what’s worse, the stain gets baked into the pan. And no matter how much I scrub, it does not come off, unless I use Brillo pads, which I hate to use because I don’t like the soap that comes with Brillo pads. I even tried using copper scouring pads but it didn’t work either. It just scratched the pan. Boo Hoo!

So, I decided to try the Non-Toxic Silver Polishing method, on my pots and pans.

If you had one of ‘those’ days like I had recently, I know you had pots and pans that look like these. Don’t lie. But don’t worry. This formula will take these burnt and baked on food stains right off.

What you’ll need:

Size and amount will vary depending on the size of your pans and the stains

  • 1/4 C Salt
  • 1 Tbsp Baking Soda
  • 1 Qt. Boiling Water
  • 6″ Square Aluminum Foil

Scrape off the caked on food as much as possible with a food scraper after soaking the pan.

Add the ingredients.

Let the solution stand for about five minutes.

See? Baked on foods came right off. You can gently scrape off any stuck-on pieces with the aluminum foil without scratching the surface. Between you and me, if the pan is burnt like these, I am just glad to have the pan back, with or without the scratches. :)

No Kidding. This really is the pot that is on top….after I cleaned it using this method.

Next time, I promise not to watch Dancing With the Stars while cooking. May be. 😉

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About Karen Lee

As a former Captain of Eco Etsy and one of the current leaders for the team, I am really excited to be hanging out with like minded team members to share ideas on how we can leave the least amount of carbon footprint.

I sell eco-handmade and vintage goodies in my Etsy shop and consult small business owners on Karen Lee Consulting where popular Etsy Starter Kit is sold. And as a retired Chiropractor, I share natural health news and green tips on drkarenslee.com. Check out my past posts on Eco Etsy!


  1. Great idea and tutorial!
    Now that you mention it I remember watching Mr. Wizard use the same method to “magically” clean silver forks. It’s as cool now as ever.
    Now where did I put that aluminum foil….

  2. I did try this today and I have to admit – I could not believe how shiny and silver this pot turned out with no effort at all.
    THIS is incredible.
    Thank you so much it changes my pot life for ever.

  3. Wow! It’s a miracle! I’ve had many days like that. So I’ve been just soaking my pans in water overnight, then scraping with my truly amazing bamboo scraper. While it does a good job, it’s definitely not as quick and easy as your method. Thanks so much for sharing!

  4. Ooh great tutorial – I had given up on ever getting my pot stains off- I am definitely doing this.

  5. Love this tutorial! Thanks for sharing! Yes Indeed!baking soda is the best invention! 😀

  6. Catherynne says:

    Another way my mom used to do was to place 1/2 cup or so of water and two teaspoons of allum into the pan and boil it until it is totally evaporated (you have to watch for this) you let it go a little further, to dry out but not continue to burn and take it off the heat and let it cool. The burned on food substance now flakes off easily.

  7. Fantastic tip! Baking soda is like the best invention on the planet :-)

  8. Great and very useful tutorial!
    The only problem is to remember it next time I face this problem…