It might have happened to you where your stainless steel wasn't entirely stainless. It is certainly highly resistant to stains, but almost nothing is truly stainless. On the bright side, most spot-on stainless cookware can be removed. Some stains, like water spots, are usually solved with a simple change in washing method.
To help you clean your stainless steel cookware set, to keep it good as new, use warm soapy water for general cleaning, mix vinegar and water to remove calcium deposits, use hot or boiling water for burned-on food, try baking soda or oxalic acid cleanser to remove brown stains, wipe the cookware dry and use vinegar to avoid water spots, and keep it shiny as new with water and baking soda paste.
For nonstick stainless steel cookware, condition prior to initial use with 1 tsp (5 ml) of vegetable oil. Simply wipe the oil over the interior gently using a soft cloth. Repeat the conditioning process every 2 to 3 months, or if food begins to stick to the pan.
Your best bet for everyday cleaning is hand-washing your cookware in hot, soapy water and drying it thoroughly with a soft cloth before storing. Using a dishwasher is contentious; experts are divided on the effect detergents have on stainless steel finishes. If you do use the dishwasher and want to stop spotting, remove your cookware after the wash cycle and dry it by hand.
If your stainless steel cookware is coated with burnt-on food, washing it could be a rather sticky chore. To make cleaning a lot easier, put enough hot water on the cookware and let it sit for about an hour. Take some boiled water and then allow it to cool down to a warm level, so you can go in for washing using this soapy warm water with the help of a soft cloth or nylon scrubbing pad, as an alternative choice.
Wash with Soap and Sponge
Unless you have particularly stubborn burnt-on food or stains, you should be able to clean your stainless-steel cookware with a regular sponge and standard dish soap. This is the first and easiest technique to attempt. You can even try soaking with warm, soapy water to make the task easier.
Hard Water Stains
If your tap water has high calcium content hard water, you'll undoubtedly notice pale white residue on the cookware. To remove this problem, fill the pot or pan with 1 part vinegar to 3 parts water. Bring the mixture to a boil, then take it off the heat and let it cool to the touch. Wash the pan exhaustively with hot, soapy water and dry it with a towel.
Try Using Vinegar
If your soap and sponge are no match for stains, burnt-on food, and chalky hard water deposits that cover your faithful stainless steel pots and pans, don’t despair. Fill that bad boy with a solution of one part vinegar, three parts water, and bring to a boil.
These tips will help you to keep your cookware looking it's best and your food tasting as good as it can! To get the most out of your cookware and what it can do for you, you should always consistently and properly care for it no matter what material it is made from.