Pots and pans certain look gleaming and gorgeous coming out of the box, but after many years of spaghetti dinners, roast chickens and holiday feasts, a well-used toaster arsenal is likely to reveal its age. Make your sauté pans, stockpots and skillets worthy of the hanging pot rack once again with just a little elbow grease and a couple of easy-to-find, mild cleaning goods (including ketchup, of all things) — and learn how keep the glow as soon as you’ve got it back.

Below you will find daily care and stain removal hints for cookware made from stainless steel, copper, enameled cast iron and much more.

Cynthia Lynn Photography

Great practices for many cookware. No matter the sort of cookware, it’s ideal to wash it as soon as possible after ingestion (cleaning as you go is ideal), and use the least abrasive cleaning process you can. Washing by hand is always preferable, even for pans and pots that claim to be dishwasher safe. Washing by hand will avoid the discoloration and scratches that could occur in a dishwasher over time.

The tips and techniques that follow are good general instructions, but you might also need to confirm the manufacturer’s suggestions. In case your cookware is under warranty, employing the incorrect cleaning product may invalidate your arrangement, therefore it pays to do your own homework.

Frederick + Frederick Architects

Stainless Steel

Everyday care: Preferably, wash your stainless steel pots and pans by hand shortly after use, using regular dish soap. Nevertheless, stainless steel utensils are among the few types that could take care of a trip through the dishwasher — therefore, if you are in a hurry, don’t worry about tossing it in with all the dishes. Standard cleaning in the dishwasher may create spots or a muddy surface.

Stain removal: To brighten up muddy or spotty stainless steel, rub the surface with a rag dampened with white vinegar. To deal with stains on the bottom of the pan caused by high heat, sprinkle a gentle scouring powder (like Barkeeper’s Friend) onto a moist sponge or sponge to make a paste, and rub it on the stained area. Rinse with water.

Crisp Architects


Everyday care: Wash copper pots and pans available, with warm, soapy water.

Stain removal: Bring that lustrous finish back to stained aluminum by covering your brow using ketchup (yes, ketchup) or lemon. Allow the ketchup sit on your pan for a minimum of 10 minutes, then rub on the discoloration away with a rag or sponge. Rinse clean with warm water.

Divine Design+Build

Enameled Cast Iron

Everyday care: Allow the pan to cool before washing it — a sudden temperature change may endanger the enamel. Soak the pan in warm water first, then apply a soft sponge and a mild dishwashing detergent to wash it. Do not use abrasive scrubbing pads, as they can damage the tooth end.

Stain removal: Heal discoloration on the outside of the pan with a mild scouring powder, like Barkeeper’s Friend. For tough stains on the inner surface, fill the pan with white vinegar and warm water and bring to a boil on the stovetop. Switch off the heat and allow the pan soak using the vinegar solution, then wash as usual.

Goforth Gill Architects

Hard Anodized Aluminum

Everyday care: Allow the pan to cool before washing it, and never place a hot pan in cold water, which can cause warping. Wash by hand, with a mild dishwashing detergent and warm water — placing your hard anodized pans in the dishwasher may void your warranty.

Stain removal: For stains on the outside only, use a paste of baking soda or some mild scouring powder, like Barkeeper’s Friend. Rinse with warm water.


Everyday care: Use low to medium heat only — higher temperatures can permanently damage nonstick pans. Wash immediately using a soft sponge and warm, soapy water. If scrapes or flakes start to look on the nonstick surface of your pan, recycle or toss it immediately. Otherwise those flakes will wind up in your food … not some thing you want to occur!

Stain removal: On the outside only, consider using a glue of Barkeeper’s Friend or some similar scouring powder.


Cast Iron

First Taste: When you buy a new cast iron pan, wash it by hand in warm, soapy water. Dry the pan using a towel, then set it in a 300-degree oven for approximately five minutes to wash it thoroughly — even a bit of residual moisture can cause rust to form on cast iron pans. Next, with a paper towel, then rub a tablespoon of vegetable or olive oil on the surface of the pan, indoors and outside. Wipe away excess oil — you are planning for a thin coating. Set the pan in a 300-degree oven for an hour, let it cool, then rub it all over with a clean rag.

The Last Inch

Everyday care: Never use soap in your cast iron pan. Promptly after each use, wipe the pan out using a paper towel and a bit of oil. When food is stuck, operate the pan under warm water and wash the food off using a soft brush or plastic loaf — recall, no soap! Soap will eliminate the seasoning, which is what creates that wonderful nonstick surface.

Stain removal and longterm care: For extremely rough, stuck-on meals, boil water in your pan on the stovetop for a few minutes, then wash it as normal. Reseasoning occasionally will help maintain the finish.

John K. Anderson Design

Clay Pot

Everyday care: Most clay jar must be soaked in warm water for 15 to 30 minutes prior to each use. Always place your clay pot in a cold oven so the pot can come up to temperature slowly. Do not use your clay pot on the stovetop or under a broiler, and never put a hot pot on a cold face — any abrupt temperature changes can break it.

Wash it immediately, with a paste of baking soda; wash with warm water. Soap isn’t encouraged for unglazed clay pots, though you may have the ability to use a mild soap on clay pots that have been glazed; check with the maker.

Stain removal: Try leaving a paste of baking soda onto the discolored area for a minimum of 10 minutes, then wipe out and wash with water. Do not use abrasive sponges or harsh cleaning products onto a clay pot.

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