Stainless Steel Pots & Pans Cleaner

"I just switched to stainless steel cookware this year. I've had several instances where I get food bonded to the bottom of a pan. One day my Mother was visiting and I was complaining about it. She said, "cream of tartar". I said, "huh"? She said it just popped into her head that my Great Grandmother used to say to sprinkle cream of tartar in a hard to clean stainless steel pan put some water in it and boil it until the crud comes off. Guess what? It works everytime! *This is my favorite posting because it has helped so many people...and apparently it works on more than stainless steel. :)"
photo by HokiesMom photo by HokiesMom
photo by HokiesMom
photo by looneytunesfan photo by looneytunesfan
photo by looneytunesfan photo by looneytunesfan
photo by looneytunesfan photo by looneytunesfan
Ready In:


  • 1 tablespoon cream of tartar (depends on the size of the pan, I usually use about 1tbsp)
  • water (1-2 inches)


  • Sprinkle the cream of tartar over the stuck on crud.
  • Pour water over it. If the crud is really thick you may need more water so it can boil for while. If it's thin then you only need about an inch or two.
  • Boil over medium heat until you see the crud start to flake off.
  • Once most of it has flaked off the rest will be easy to scrub off.
  • Hope it works for you too!

Questions & Replies

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  1. Kim M.
    I always keep a spray bottle with vinegar on my counter by my dishsoap. You can spray your pan with it; add a squirt of dishsoap; let it sit for a few minutes; and it will wash clean. Just Like New!
  2. justcallmetoni
    Decided to really take this handy out on a spin and tried it on my nonstick cookware as well as a stainless steel pot. Thrilled to say it worked on both. The former is especially exciting as too often you end up ruining the non stick finish trying to get the cruddy bits off the surface. Thanks for sharing this handy technique.
  3. HokiesMom
    I thought I had lost a pan until I found this recipe. I never thought anything would be able to take over a 1/4" of built-up, overly burnt, gooey sauce cooked and stuck to the pan with hard meatballs attached to the bottom of my pan. I had soaked for 24 hours and nothing was moving. I searched on RZ and found your recipe and thought what do I have to lose. Amazing!! I thought my mistake of cooking meatballs with BBQ sauce for 4 hours on medium heat instead of LOW had ruined my pan. Then along comes this terrific cleaning recipe and now I have my pan back better than ever! Thank you so much for sharing this with the RZ community!!
  4. The Kissing Cook
    I had thought my pot was ruined. My daughter left a pot of chili on the stove and there was about 1 - 2 inches of baked in crud on the pan. I sprinkled the Cream of tarter and water...let it boil and let it sit for about an hour. I repeated this step and this "BIG BLACK BRICK" dislodged itself from the bottom of my pan. UNBELIEVABLE!!!! You ROCK!!! I owe you big time!!!! Thanks again for the best stainless steel pan cleaner around!!!!
  5. Gail11
    Bless you! I was making spaghetti sauce today and my DH decided he would help by raising the temperature so it would come to a simmer quicker unbeknonst to me! I am certain everyone knows what baked on and burned tomato sauce looks like. This recipe cleaned my expensive pan up like it was brand new. My daughters are both new to cooking and I made certain that they both have this recipe!


I'm not as active here anymore, but you can find me playing at the new I'm not a great photographer, but I love to take food photos with Freddy Cat to bring a smile to people's day. I love to cook and share good food with other people. I have a very large collection of cookbooks. I used to enjoy being able to look up recipes on Zaar by ingredients I had on hand. I miss the Zaar tag game community. Everyone was so nice, and it was super fun. Ah, the good ol' days.
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