In 2017, I have a new goal to move my mother’s household away from Teflon completely. Teflon has been linked to all sorts of nasty things and without me really realizing it, it’s everywhere in her kitchen. The pots, pans, spatulas, etc. are all made from Teflon and as her daughter, I naturally worry about her well being.
So I recently purchased her some inexpensive stainless steel cookware online and the first thing she tried to do was clean it with harsh chemicals that are going to strip away the chromium that gives it some of its non-stick coating! Many times, cleaning cookware naturally and with items you can find around the house is less expensive and more convenient than conventional cleaners. You usually already have the items so you don’t need to go out and buy anything new and you can rest a bit easier knowing that there are no toxic chemical touching the surfaces that you use to cook your food.
Earth Friendly Cleaning for Stainless Steel Pots and Pans
Clean Stainless Steel Cookware Naturally (The Old Fashioned Way)
I feel like our grandparents knew something we didn’t and a little old fashioned elbow grease goes a long way when cleaning things naturally in the kitchen. Even though most manufactures will advertise their stainless steel cookware as dishwasher safe, and while this is probably true, I prefer to wash them by hand. The dishwasher can easily damage the finish and washing them by hand will guarantee that your cookware keeps it shine and stays beautiful for years. The old fashioned way is not only green, but pretty basic:
- Let the pots and pans soak in warm water overnight.
- In the morning, finish the job with warm soapy water made from an an eco-friendly dish soap.
The Vinegar and Baking Soda Paste Method
This paste is great for when the food is stuck on a little tougher and you need something extra to get it off.
- Pour a thin layer of vinegar to cover the bottom of the pot or pan.
- Sprinkle in just enough baking soda to get a reaction between the two going.
- Let the mixture site for 3-5 minutes and wash out with warm soapy water.
Heating the Pan After Cooking
Another great method for tougher or burnt food.
- After cooking, reheat the pan.
- Once the pan is hot, add room temperature water.
- Once the water is hot, use a wooden utensil to scrape the food bits off.
- Once you have the majority removed, wash the pan with warm soapy water.
The Boiling Vinegar Method
This is a great tactic if you are trying to clean a large stainless steel pot or large vessel.
- Make a mixture of one part vinegar to 3 parts water.
- Bring the mixture to a boil, turn off the heat, and let it cool down.
- Empty the solution and clean with warm soapy water.
The Kitchen Sink Method
This method is for the absolute toughest stains and burnt on food. It generally isn’t necessary, but we have all burnt that one pan a little too bad at one point or another. These steps should take care of it in short order.
- Make a paste out of water and baking soda. A 1:1 ratio should work well.
- Rub it in thoroughly into any burnt food or stains on the cookware.
- Let the past sit for 20 minutes while it does its thing.
- Rub away the paste with the soft side of the sponge or cloth.
- Add a cup of vinegar and water and bring the mixture to a simmer.
- Let it simmer for at least 20 minutes. The worse the burn the longer you will need.
- Pour out the mixture and wash with warm soapy water.
Keeping things green and cleaning stainless steel cookware naturally doesn’t have to be hard OR expensive.
If you are looking to clean your stainless steel appliances in an eco-friendly fashion, check out the YouTube video below.
If you have any other green cleaning methods we should know about please let us know in the comments!