Here’s the truth:
Stainless steel is amongst the most durable, long-lasting, and versatile materials for kitchen equipment.
However, all of these benefits come at a cost; and that’s good care.
Good maintenance for stainless steel usually involves using the right sponge for washing and proper cleaning techniques.
But what are the best sponges for cleaning stainless steel? And what are those proper techniques?
Keep on reading to find out!
The Best Stainless Steel Sponges
|1. Scotch-Brite Dobie||Sponge||Cellulose|
|2. Scotch-Brite Non-Scratch Scrub Sponge||Non-Scratch Sponge||Cellulose|
|3. O-Cedar Multi-Use Scrunge Scrub Sponge||Non-Scratch Sponge||Cellulose|
|4. Scrub Daddy The Original FlexTexture Sponge||Sponge||Polymer|
|5. 3M Scotch-Brite Stainless Steel Scouring Pad||Scouring Pad||Stainless Steel|
|6. Multi-Purpose Scrub Sponges by Scrub- it||Sponge/Scouring Pad||Polyester/Polyurethane|
|7. Scotch-Brite Non-Scratch Scour Pads||Scouring Pad||Scrubbing Fiber|
1. Scotch-Brite Dobie
A dishwashing workhorse, there’s no dirty dish that the Scotch-Brite Dobie can’t shine. The main reason why the Dobie is so successful at cleaning almost every kind of dish is its super-soft foam that prevents stainless steel from scratching.
However, it’s exterior has a unique texture that can get rid of the toughest stains from dirty dishes. But what truly makes it stand out is how long-lasting it is. Instead of giving in after a few days like regular sponges, the Scotch-Brite Dobie can easily last for several weeks before needing any replacement.
2. Scotch-Brite Non-Scratch Scrub Sponge
An all-in-one scrubbing sponge, the Scotch-Brite Non-Scratch is perfect for getting rid of stains on almost any delicate surface. The scouring side can remove most stains from stainless steel cookware, as well as Teflon and chrome-plated surfaces while perfectly preserving the finish.
On the other side, you’ll find a sponge that can easily absorb liquids and is great for lathering up dirty dishes. The sponge is also quite easy to clean and getting any gunk or grime off the scouring pad just requires you to rinse it off with water.
3. O-Cedar Multi-Use Scrunge Scrub Sponge
A highly praised sponge in the dishwashing world, the O-Cedar Multi-Use Sponge is perfect for removing stubborn stains from delicate surfaces. In fact, this sponge is the only sponge that’s endorsed by Teflon for cleaning non-stick cookware.
It’s scouring side has a brilliant rippled design that easily lifts off tough stains without clinging to food particles. It’s cleaning sponge side works flawlessly on polished surfaces like stainless steel to remove stains without leaving a single scratch. They’re also capable of staying odor-free for up to 2 months with proper care.
4. Scrub Daddy The Original FlexTexture Sponge
Probably the most versatile sponge out there, the Scrub Daddy FlexTexture is perfect for getting rid of the most troublesome stains from stainless steel. Featuring a temperature-controlled sponge, the Scrub Daddy can become super-firm in cold water for getting grease and tough stains off your cookware.
But as soon as you put it in warm water, the sponge goes soft so you can clean your delicate dishes like stainless steel and Teflon pans. The ergonomic design of the sponge also makes it super-efficient at cleaning hard to reach areas. And with proper care, the sponge has shown to resist odor for up to 8 weeks with proper maintenance!
5. 3M Scotch-Brite Stainless Steel Scouring Pad
If your stainless steel pans have stains that seem to never go away, perhaps it’s time to switch to something more robust. And that’s the 3M Scotch-Brite Stainless Steel Scouring Pad.
Built specifically for removing stains left by burnt food and grease, it leaves your cookware spotless while leaving little to no scratches on your delicate surfaces like stainless steel. They’re also splinter-free and do not rust that easily despite how aggressively you use them.
The scouring pads are also great for cleaning cast iron cookware and grills which can accumulate quite a bit of gunk over time.
6. Multi-Purpose Scrub Sponges by Scrub- it
Unlike other sponges, the Scrub-it Scrub Sponge features a unique two-in-one scrubber and sponge in one. The non-scratch scouring side is made for breaking down even the toughest stains without ruining your delicate stainless-steel cookware.
The sponge side is covered with a soft microfiber cloth layer for lathering and softer scrubbing. It’s also dishwasher and machine washable so you can keep things hygienic and bacteria-free. The sponge is also built from premium materials, helping it outlast regular kitchen sponges by a fair margin.
7. Scotch-Brite Non-Scratch Scour Pads
For occasions where you need to clean very delicate equipment, extra precaution never hurts. And Scotch-Brite’s Non-Scratch Scour Pads provide exactly that. Made from 100% recycled scrubbing fibers instead of stainless steel, the pads are much less abrasive on delicate metals and surfaces where preserving finishing is the priority.
They’re great for use on non-stick surfaces as well as all kinds of stainless-steel cookware and cutlery. And since they’re not made from stainless steel, they’re much more long-lasting as there’s less chance of the wire untwining.
Buying the correct sponge is crucial to helping your stainless-steel cookware and cutlery maintain it’s glossy shine. If these are cared for correctly, stainless steel can look brand new even after decades of regular washing and scrubbing!
However, cleaning stainless steel is not nearly as easy as it sounds. Since the material is highly susceptible to scratching and staining, it’s important to use a combination of good cleaning techniques and cleaning material.
Tips on cleaning stainless steel
First, here are some do’s and don’ts on cleaning stainless steel that can help keep them in pristine condition:
- Soak before scrubbing: When you’re dealing with tougher stains or even normal ones, it’s better to first soak the stainless-steel cookware in water for a couple of minutes. This helps any food that’s stuck on the surface to loosen up. So, when you’re scrubbing, you won’t have to apply excessive force which might cause scratches.
- Dry after cleaning: Leaving patches of water on stainless steel can cause permanent watermarks. To avoid this, it’s important that you dry up any water after cleaning the cookware with a paper towel or tissue paper.
- Vinegar and baking soda for discoloration: After a couple of years, stainless steel can develop some stains. The best way to remove these is to use vinegar to lightly scrub off the stains without damaging the finish. It’s also a good practice to use baking soda while removing tough stains to restore the natural shine of stainless steel without scratching it.
- Don’t soak it in water for too long: Leaving stainless steel submerged or containing water can leave permanent watermarks on it. Whenever you’re soaking it for cleaning, do it for no more than an hour to two.
- Preheat on low heat before cooking: Like all metals, stainless steel expands on heat. When you overheat it, the cold ingredients stick to the surface. And when the time comes to clean it, you’ll have to use excessive force to get rid of the burnt-on ingredients damaging your stainless steel in the process.
- Using steel scrubbing pads over excessively: Steel scrubbing pads are great for removing stubborn stains from time to time. But doing so over excessively, even after using cleaning solutions can scratch the stainless steel and ruin its finish with time.
Types of sponges
There are two basic types of sponges used for cleaning stainless steel cookware:
The most essential tool in a dishwashing arsenal, the regular sponge can be found in every single kitchen. Each of these has two sides, a scrubbing side for getting rid of grease and food, and the other softer sponge side that’s used for lathering up the dishes.
Most of these are made from cellulose and are relatively quite cheap. They usually last about a week or two when used properly, though some expensive sponges can last for more than a month.
Although these are great for cleaning all kinds of dishes, using them for stainless steel or Teflon on a regular basis isn’t advisable, particularly if they’re the heavy-duty type. For that, we recommend a non-scratch scrubbing sponge instead.
Non-scratch scrubbing sponges
Design and construction-wise, non-scratch and regular sponges are the same. However, the scrubbing side of these sponges is much gentle and does not scratch even when you’re really digging into the surface.
If your stainless-steel cookware is frequently getting dirty or burnt, it’s better to do the aggressive scrubbing with a non-scratch sponge instead of a regular one.
Stainless-steel scouring pad
Scouring pads are for those rare occasions where cooking accidents cause food and oil to glue itself to your cookware. In these situations, a non-scratch sponge won’t help you.
To get rid of the gunk, you’ll need a scouring pad. These are made from twirled wires of stainless steel. Since this is much more abrasive, it’s great at getting rid of layers of charred food. However, it’s also great at scratching your cookware too.
Therefore, scouring pads should only be used in desperate circumstances. Using vinegar and baking soda would also be a good idea in these situations. Though with good scouring pads like the 3M Scotch-Brite Scouring Pad, you’ll be able to keep scratches at bay while effectively getting rid of all gunk from your stainless-steel cookware.
Can vinegar damage stainless steel?
No, cleaning stainless steel with a vinegar solution does not damage it. However, leaving it soaking for long time periods can ruin the finish.
What should you not use to clean stainless steel?
Never use harsh steel wood or steel brushes on stainless steel as they can create deep scratches. You should also avoid using harsh chemicals, bleach, and other abrasive cleaners on stainless steel.
How do you polish stainless steel?
Using a few dabs of olive oil and rubbing it with a piece of cloth can bring back the glossy shine of your stainless-steel cookware. You can also use mild cleaning solutions for this purpose.
Can you use Windex on stainless steel?
Yes, Windex is a fairly mild cleaner and can be used to polish and remove oil smudges from your stainless-steel cookware and give it a nice shine.
Can you use a magic eraser on stainless steel?
Although a magic eraser can effectively remove tougher stains from stainless steel, it can leave behind tiny scratches that can ruin its finish with time.