Frequently cleaning stainless with white vinegar..will it harm?

Hi all.

Some times ago I bought my first pair of stainless steel pans. I really like them, there is only one thing I’m still trying to get use to. The white and blue marks that stains the pans after use.

It’s become a habit to finish the washing of them with hot water and a bit of vinegar. That removes the stains.

But can frequent/daily washing stainless with a bit of vinegar mixed with hot water harm the pans over time?

Thanks :+1:


I wouldn’t.

After washing, just wipe them with a paper towel and a very small splash of safflower oil. Wipe until the oil is almost gone.

Why not?

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Wipe it with a paper towel after cleaning it with vinegar and see for yourself.

And what exactly would I see?

Probably not much at first, but over time the vinegar will cause the steel to corrode.

Try it and find out.

The short answer is: No, it won’t hurt your stainless steel cookware in practical sense.

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The alarmism here is amazing.

You are fine. Do you use Bar Keeper’s Friend? BKF has a pH of 1.5 to 2.5. Distilled white vinegar? 2.4. Wines (You know, the stuff fermented and stored in SS)? 3 to 4.5. Strawberries are about 3.5.

How long would you say yor pans are in contact with vinegar? A few seconds at a time?

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Well, I fill the pan half with water, pour a few cl of vinegar. Clean it with a sponge drain it and wash it with soap. So maybe 10-20 seconds.

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Rest easy.


FWIW, I have been using vinegar when needed to remove hard water residue from my stainless steel pans for years (some All-Clad, some no-name brand) without issues. Plain old distilled white vinegar does the trick for me. I do rinse off the vinegar/vinegar solution before drying the pan.

Washing by hand and drying with a soft dishcloth helps me also, rather than cleaning pans in the dishwasher.

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Vinegar is an amazing all around. I use it on stainless. Haven’t seen anything weird. I think Charlie has a good solution to the discoloration, though.

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Look, folks, just use a blue pad and some Dawn. Or a plain sponge. Rinse well. Run it through the DW if you want to. Give it a wipe with a little oil and move on.

If you somehow think you need to clean stainless with vinegar every time you cook with it (or ever for that matter), the problem is you, not me. Nobody does this kind of $hit. I’ve never seen it done. It’s silly and unnecessary.

I don’t use it much for my pans and pots, but definitely useful for my stainless steel kettle. I use vinegar once awhile when I start to see the white hard mineral buildup.


Yes, absolutely. Coffee pots too. But, what, once a month tops not every time you use it.

Fry pans don’t get mineral build-up.

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I’m glad you don’t experience that build up.

However, my pans tell a different story. If you have hard water, cooking with some water in the pan or a bit of stock that’s been prepared with that water can leave a minerally residue. It’s a thing, sigh.

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seems like this practice of briefly rinsing with a little bit of vinegar should not be damaging with quality stainless steel pans or other utensils. I would be at a loss for pans to cook acidic food with if stainless steel could not be used. Thinking tomato sauce, pickling, and the like. But maybe it is not necessary every time you use your pans?


Have you ever heard of baking soda? Put a healthy pinch in the water.

You are the cook. If something isn’t working, fix it.