Dear MetroKitchen: What are the Water Spots on my Stainless Steel Cookware?

This is a first in a weekly series of questions we’ve received relating to products, maintenance, and care.  Enjoy!

All-Clad Fry Pan in UseDear MetroKitchen:  I have these weird spots on my stainless steel cookware that look like water spots.  I thought stainless steel was supposed to be just that, stainless.  What can I do to get rid of these spots?

Sometimes certain substances will cause stainless steel to discolor.  This is not all that unusual.  Stainless steel cookware may look like it has water spots or may have a bluish color after cooking certain foods.

These spots and discolorations will typically come off rather easily.  Usually if you use a cleaner made especially for stainless steel, that  will remove any spots or discoloration.  MetroKitchen sells a substance called Copper Glo that cleans stainless steel, copper, brass or other such metals.  Manufactured by Barkeeper’s Friend (a popular cleanser which works very similarly), both are acid-based bleach-free cleansers unlike other cleansers like Ajax and Comet.

If spot or discoloration on your cookware will not come off with normal washing or with stainless steel cleaner, try mixing white vinegar and water in the pot or pan and bring the mixture to a boil.  Use one cup of vinegar to four cups of water or some other one-to-four ratio.  After that, of course, wash the pot or the pan with a little dish soap and water.