How to Clean White Spots On Stainless Steel Pans 

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Struggling with stubborn white spots on your stainless steel pans? A quick and effectiveway to get rid of them is vinegar and water. This easy method involves boiling a mixture of vinegar and water directly in the affected pot.

The acidic properties of the vinegar interact with and dissolve mineral deposits such as calcium and lime, commonly found in tap water. This approach is not only effortless, requiring no scrubbing, but also safe for your cookware.

But this is’nt the only way to make your cookware look like new, read on for detailed instructions and additional tips to keep those pesky white spots at bay.

white spots on stainless steel cookware

Use Vinegar and Water

One minimal effort way to clean white discoloration from stainless steel pots is to boil a mixture of vinegar and water.

The acid in the vinegar reacts with the basic nature of the minerals and pulls them off the surface. We love this method because it doesn’t require any elbow grease or scrubbing.

What you’ll need:

  • 1 cup of white distilled vinegar
  • 3 cups of water


  1. Fill the pot with vinegar and water
  2. Heat the pot on high until the mixture boils
  3. Turn the heat off and allow the mixture to cool
  4. Use a rag to wipe the exterior of the pot with the mixture as needed
  5. Dump the mixture and wash the pot with soap and water as normal
  6. Dry the pot using a clean towel to prevent new hard water stains from forming

Tip: If you have hard tap water, hand dry your stainless steel pots after every use. This will prevent much of that white discoloration from coming back.

With Baking Soda and Water

By mixing baking soda with water, you can create an abrasive paste that works very well to scrub white residue from the surface of your cookware. Don’t worry about scratches. This paste isn’t abrasive enough to scratch your stainless, so it is completely safe to use.

What you’ll need:

  • Baking soda
  • Water
  • Rag


  1. Sprinkle baking soda onto a small plate and add a dash of water to create a paste
  2. Dab the paste with a damp rag and scrub the discolored areas of the pot
  3. Rinse well with cool water and hand dry the pot with a clean towel

Read more: Clean Your Stainless Steel Pans With These 8 Common Household Ingredients

Try Vinegar and Salt

salt and vinegar to remove white spots on cookware

This method combines the best of both worlds. The vinegar brings the acid that helps break down the mineral deposits while the coarse salt creates an abrasive texture to help scrub the stains from the surface.

What you’ll need:

  • Coarse sea salt
  • Distilled white vinegar
  • Water
stainless steel pan with salt and vinegar


  1. Coat the bottom of the pan with coarse salt
  2. Add enough vinegar to create a thick mixture
  3. Use a damp rag to scrub the bottom of the pan, bringing the mixture up the sides to clean as needed
  4. Rinse the pot as soon as you have finished and clean it with soap and water
  5. Dry immediately with a clean dry towel

Tip: Do not leave the mixture of salt and vinegar to sit in the bottom of the pan for too long, as this might damage the surface of your pan.

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Sara Seitz is a freelance writer and novelist. She lives with her husband and wildling toddler in Colorado where she spends her days working on their house, gardening, and reconnecting with nature.

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