How do I clean severe stains from my stainless steel pans?

Joined Sep 2, 2011
I have 2 different problems: I heated one pan too long before I started to use it, so when I touched my turner to it, it melted right onto it. (Not sure what the material is, its like a hard plastic...) I used baking soda (after it cooled), but it only eliminated about 40% of the burnt-on plastic. 

My other problem is I (once again!) let my pan (a different one) heat too long before I put butter in it to cook eggs. Right when I dropped the butter in it, very dense whitish gray smoke began to billow wildly. My husband said I almost had a grease fire... Now, the  pan has a strange tint to it. Have I permanently damaged it? (I tried cleaning this with baking soda, as well, but to no avail. 

Does anyone know how I can fix both pans? My set is less than a year old. Thank you!!! 
Joined Jul 22, 2011
Depending on the type of plastic and exactly how it's burned on, you can try to pry/scrape it off of the pan with something else. I've used steel spatulas and old, beat up spoons before. Problem with that is you're likely to scratch the pan in the process. If you can get under it and pry it off in one piece, you're in business.

For general heavy duty stuck on goop at home, I use Bar Keeper's Friend and SOS pads. The steel wool can leave scratches on polished metal, but honestly my All-Clads look pretty nice despite having given them the SOS treatment on numerous occasions. Some messes are easier to scrub off if you heat the pan with a little water in it first, but I wouldn't recommend it with the plastic. In the end, elbow grease is really the best cleaner you can use for pans.

It's hard to say about the tint. Some pans will get a very slight off color with use that doesn't affect cooking. It still looks like metal though. If you can tell that there's an actual layer of stuff, usually brown with a different texture from the metal, then you got yourself some burnt on butter. Scrub it til it sparkles so you can burn some other stuff on it.
Joined Feb 13, 2008
Steel wool scouring pads are pretty tough on nice pans. If a Scotch-Brite pad with BKF won't do the trick, try an oven cleaner like Easy Off. Use the hot oven method. Oven cleaner works great on copper too.

For the melted plastic -- if you can't remove it completely, you'll have to toss the pan. That stuff is poison. Why do women love plastic utensils? Especially if they're already partially melted (the utensils, not the women -- a partially melted woman is a good thing as far as I'm concerned). Don't use them. No. Just don't.

D. O.

N. O. T.

U. S. E.

T. H. E. M.

They're flimsy and they make you spill things. Plus they wreck your pan. They will never show up on time, will always look at other women, and will leave the party with someone else. Get decent, metal utensils from restaurant supply stores -- and if you must -- buy them leather jackets.

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Joined Sep 2, 2011
Thank you both very much!! I really appreciate your advice! I haven't tried either tip yet, though. Chasing around a toddler makes is pretty hectic, and I seem to keep procrastinating!   But thank you so much!!
Joined Aug 21, 2011
Well, I've just returned from some vacation time, so feeling ambitious decided to give my pans a little more shine so your question seems timely.  Don't know about removing the plastic, but I would agree with the last post---don't use it, it's toxic.  In fact, if you have birds, get them out of the room pronto next time you decide to burn the spatula or even a teflon pan.  The fumes alone can kill them.  NOW, if that didn't scare you-------

But, I digressed.  Try these products for getting your pans back to sparkly.  Flitz (paste best, liquid still good).  Available in most big box hardware stores.  It's the best for cleaning any metal without scratching.  Next choice would be Barkeepers Friend or Bon Ami.  Make a paste of it, don't just throw it on dry like cleanser.  A paste will work better and faster.  You may have to do it in several go's, ala a little elbow grease, rinse, and repeat. Rather than steel wool, try scraping the plastic off with a bit of sharp wood.  If it is a small area, a few toothpicks may do the trick.  If it is worse, make a really big toothpick.  Wood tends not to scratch the metal like steel wool will.  If you must use steel wool, get something finer than an SOS pad.  Again to the big box home store for some 0000 grit steel wool.

Hope it helps.  Will give you something to do when the kids are napping---like there's nothing else to do for a mum of toddlers!
Joined Sep 2, 2011
Thank you very much! Such great practical tips!! And the wood idea sounds like it might be the best one! Thank you so much!!!

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