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Hard water stains on stainless steel cookware

Sonia Jan 27, 2005 04:22 PM

Whenever I boil water in my stainless steel cookware (All-Clad, Cuisinart), tiny hard water rings appear where the bubbles came up. Some really vigorous scrubbing with a nylon pad usually gets most of them out but I'd really rather not... I live in an extremely hard water area (LA city) and this is something I have to deal with a lot. I've tried ignoring the problem but it's really unsightly and was wondering if there's an easier, safer way to remove these stains. And please don't say to get a water softener. I'm putting that off until we remodel the kitchen. TIA

  1. Chemicalkinetics Dec 28, 2010 04:38 PM

    If it is just hard water mineral, you can juse white vinegar or Bar Keeper's Friend to remove the mineral/salt. If it is steel oxidization due to over heating, then try Bar Keeper's Friend.

    1. r
      RGC1982 Dec 28, 2010 04:11 PM

      Fill the pot with a white vinegar and water solution and leave it alone for a while -- overnight if you have to. This is how I clean hard water stains out of my SS electic kettle. They settle there quickly. The minerals should just dissolve, as scrubbing seems to be useless.

      1. s
        sreese68 Dec 28, 2010 04:04 PM

        I use a product called LemiShine. You can find it at Target and some grocery stores. I have to use it in my dishwasher every time I run it, or I get hard water deposits on my glasses. I also run it through my electric kettle, coffee maker, washing machine, etc. And I dissolve it in water in my cats' water dishes and let it sit awhile to remove build up from time to time. I really need to soak my shower head in some, but I've been lazy.

        1. j
          Jacky2221 Dec 28, 2010 11:52 AM

          Okay so I had the same problem only scrubbing did nothing for my problem. I thought this really expsive stainless steel cookwear set that I just purchased was doomed. So I continued to try everything from scrubbing to using harsh chemicals like Pledge. One day I was in the mood for a little snack and I boiled Saurerkraut in one pan and hot dogs in another. The pan that I boiled the saurerkraut in was completely free of any water marks after I emptied and washed it out. I couldn't believe it! So now when the problem arises I go out and buy a cheap can of the stuff and boil it for a few minutes and wash it and...well brand new pans.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Jacky2221
            tanuki soup Dec 28, 2010 03:50 PM

            If you don't feel like making sauerkraut, try Kleen King Stainless Steel & Copper Cleaner. Squirt a bit in your pan, scrub lightly with a sponge, and all the white spots are gone. Works much better than any of the other cleansers I've tried (or vinegar or lemon juice).

          2. a
            applehome Jan 27, 2005 10:51 PM

            You might want to consider a small undersink reverse osmosis filter for drinking/cooking water. It's cheaper than bottled water. The softener is an ultimate solution for washing (yourself and clothes) - the single most effective and impacting expense I've ever made (I have hard/acidic well water), but even after softening, I still keep my R/O going in the kitchen for the ultimate in clean, filtered water.

            1. b
              BluPlateSpec Jan 27, 2005 07:36 PM

              Make a tomato sauce. The acid from the tomatoes won't mar the stainless surface and will definitely clean every crevasse in the pot. If you can't do that, then boil the vinegar/water combination mentioned in another post. Cover the pot and make sure to set the timer, a stained pot is better than a burnt one. Try not to let the deposits accumulate for too long otherwise they'll become a part of the utensil.

              3 Replies
              1. re: BluPlateSpec
                kattie Feb 3, 2005 10:40 PM

                I was looking for answers on how to clean hard water stains off of toilet & bathtub, this is the only link close I was able to find. My house is only two years old and the stains look like ten years old. I have tried everything from bleach to Lime-a-way, including as seen on T.V. products. Nothing works. Do you have any new suggestions? Any ideas would be very much appriciated.
                Thanks in advance for your advice.

                1. re: kattie
                  Anon Feb 12, 2005 01:38 PM

                  Try using a toilet cleaner called "The Works". It is sold at Wal-Mart.

                  1. re: kattie
                    Anon Feb 12, 2005 01:45 PM

                    Just to clarify, my msg is in response to the question on how to remove hard water stains from a toilet.

                    Try using a toilet cleaner called "The Works". It is sold at Wal-Mart. I found that it did wonders for the hard-to-remove stains in my toilet bowl. It has 20% Hydochloric acid in it, so make sure you wear safety goggles, a household face mask and gloves to protect yourself when applying the product.

                2. s
                  Sam D. Jan 27, 2005 06:57 PM

                  I live in L.A. too. I don't usually bother but when I do want to eliminate those hard water stains and restore the shimmer and shine I use Zud. I also use it for the stainless steel on my boat. Works great!

                  1. m
                    Michelle Jan 27, 2005 06:30 PM

                    I had the same problem with my pan until one day I heated some lemon juice in there. When I cleaned the pan, all the spots were gone.

                    1. m
                      Ms. Ghost Jan 27, 2005 05:00 PM

                      We live in an area with lots and lots of limestone outcroppings that translate into VERY hard water with many minerals. Every time I put water in a pan to do ANYTHING, I add a tiny bit of vinegar. If it really builds up, I just put water and a lot MORE vinegar in the pot and boil it. Seems to do the trick without any scrubbing.

                      1. f
                        farmersdaughter Jan 27, 2005 04:37 PM

                        Try Barkeepers Friend; I think that's what All-Clad recommends as a cleaning product for the inside of the pans.

                        The other thing I used to do when I lived in LA was to cook tomato sauce in my pans when they got really ugly, because the acid helps get rid of that stuff.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: farmersdaughter
                          twinmommy Jan 27, 2005 07:14 PM

                          I second this recommendation. I use it for my all clad pot, but I also recently used it for stains on my shower tile (we have well water) and it helped get it off. Someone else here recommended vinegar- I've used that with success on hard water buildup in the shower so I imagine it would be good for your cookware.

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