HOME > Chowhound > Cookware >
What have you made lately? Tell us about it

Cleaning SS Cookware Inside

Seitan Jan 21, 2012 07:45 PM

I've had a set of Cuisinart Multiclad cookware (original handle) for several years now. Whenever I wash them (by hand) and let them air dry (or towel dry), I notice bluish-purplish splotch stains all over the inside. I assume these are some kind of heat stains that affect the color of the S/S. The stains are not deep enough to make any kind of permanent mark. Just putting water in the pan makes the stains disappear again. But the minute the pan begins to dry, the discoloration shows. When I first bought them the sales clerk said just to boil some vinegar in them the first few times and the stains would go away.

Well, using vinegar definitely removes the stains and brings the S/S back to its original glean even after the pans are dry. But after almost a decade of this practice, I find I still have to boil vinegar in the cookware after every wash so that the stains won't appear when dry.. It's getting to be a drag, and I feel I shouldn't have to do this extra step after washing them each and every time.

1). Is there anything I can do to prevent the stains/discoloration from appearing in the first place, or removing them permanently? I've tried using S/S cleaners, but it won't permanently remove the discoloration.

2). The Cusinart Multiclad cookware has a somewhat more shinier chrome finish on the interior than most cookware. Could this be a possible factor ?

Anyone have any similar experiences with other cookware?


  1. e
    Erieside Feb 14, 2013 12:09 AM

    My cuisinart came with flaws in the pans. Very disappointing. I am taking them back. Never had to treat my old revere ware with kid gloves like this stuff made in china and I had the revereware for over 40 years. Too bad I already threw out the old. I was smitten with the shiney finish.

    1. 4
      4plates2table Jan 22, 2012 06:13 AM

      I have All Clad cookware which has a stainless interior and sometimes I get these stains. It's caused by your heat being too high. I agree about using Bar Keepers Friend. This stuff is great! I use the powdered Bar Keepers (don't like the liquid) and sprinkle it in the pan with dish soap. It removes the stains perfectly with no effort. Here's a link to a quick product review:


      Great cookware shouldn't need scorching heat to perform properly. Try turning your heat down a little and that should do the trick. Here's a link to a cookware product guide on my site if you'd like additional information.


      Hope this helps.

      4 Replies
      1. re: 4plates2table
        Seitan Jan 22, 2012 03:00 PM

        Ok, interesting news....I was at a local cooking store this morning where they had just finished putting on a demo. Since I noticed they were using All-Clad, I happened to ask one of the cooks about my problem. She thought it might be my using too high heat. I replied I just cooked normally, using whatever was appropriate heat for the ingredients and never used higher heat than necessary.

        I saw an assistant washing the pots, so I asked if I could see the pan (a fry pan) when she had dried it. Well, sure enough the All-Clad fry pan did not have any noticable rainbow stains in it. When I held it up to the light, I could make out some barely visible slight rainbow discolorations, but I had to look very carefully at it in the light. Completely unlike my Multiclads, where the stains are obvious and garish.

        It's my cookware.

        I'm off to buy some Barkeeper's Friend, and maybe in the not so distant future some new cookware as well.

        Thanks everyone!

        1. re: Seitan
          Chemicalkinetics Jan 22, 2012 03:18 PM

          One more thing, Seitan.

          Sometime we talk about high heat, but it is really high temperature more so than high heat. If my memory serves me right, there is one more thing I like to share with you. When I first got my Calphalon triply stainless steel cookware, it would give me rainbow color very often. Now, I rarely see them. I don't know if it is because I cook differently and don't realize, or the cookware changed in time.

          1. re: Chemicalkinetics
            Seitan Jan 23, 2012 10:10 PM

            No idea what the difference between high heat and high temperature is.

            I've had this cookware for ten years. Bought them when they first came out. They've always had rainbow stains since day one. I waited and waited for the rainbow stains to go away. They never did.

          2. re: Seitan
            unprofessional_chef Jan 22, 2012 09:40 PM

            Are you cleaning your SS right away? I sometimes deglaze with a splash of hot water then wash it right away with a sponge and warm water over the sink.

            It depends on what you are cooking too. When cooking tomatoes, the acid cleans the SS. Meats always leaves burnt oils/fats and discolors the bottom. Don't worry about the color stains it's probably just light burnt in oil kinda like seasoned cast iron.

        2. tanuki soup Jan 21, 2012 10:14 PM

          I agree with CK. This bluish-rainbow discoloration occurs frequently with stainless steel cookware. IME, it tends to appear after boiling starchy foods, like corn. OTOH, cooking something acidic, like heating up some tomato sauce, removes the discoloration. It's really nothing to worry about.

          1 Reply
          1. re: tanuki soup
            Seitan Jan 21, 2012 11:59 PM

            Thanks. I'm not worried about the pots or the stains themselves, I know there is no problem with them being there. I'm just tired of having to remove them all the time. The rainbow stains just look like hell, so I feel the need to clean the pots with vinegar after every use. Its just a hassle, that's all.

            The other cookware I had before (Lagostina) never stained nearly as bad.

          2. Chemicalkinetics Jan 21, 2012 08:29 PM

            "bluish-purplish splotch stains all over the inside"

            oxidization. Some people describe the color pattern as rainbow because it looks like a range of color:


            "1). Is there anything I can do to prevent the stains/discoloration from appearing in the first place, or removing them permanently? I've tried using S/S cleaners, but it won't permanently remove the discoloration."

            White vinegar works, but I find Bar Keeper's Friend a bit more effective. For one, you don't have to boil. Now, you can remove the stain, but this stain will reappear/recreate when the cookware is overheated. It is unavoidable.


            "2). The Cusinart Multiclad cookware has a somewhat more shinier chrome finish on the interior than most cookware. Could this be a possible factor ?"

            I don't think so. It could be the grade of the stainless steel. Not all 18/10 stainless steel are exactly the same.

            On the other hand, my best advise for you is to stop worry too much about. It really does not change the cooking performance of the cookware. Even if you want to clean the stain out, I would only do it once week or once a month. Every time is just too much.

            Show Hidden Posts