How to Remove a Rainbow From Stainless Steel

High heat can damage stainless steel cookware.
High heat can damage stainless steel cookware. (Image: BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images)

Stainless steel is a metal alloy that is used for cookware and appliances because it is durable, rust-resistant and not prone to discoloration under normal wear. However, when stainless steel is used in high heat settings, a rainbow discoloration can appear on the pan. You can avoid this by using a low to medium heat setting when cooking. Salt can similarly leave marks in its path when applied to a cold pan, so it's advisable to avoid using salt in the pan until it has reached a boiling point. If your stainless steel cookware develops rainbow discolorations, however, it's possible to revive it and make it look new again.

Things You'll Need

  • Mild dish soap
  • Soft cotton cloths
  • Cream-based stainless steel cleaner
  • Lemon juice

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Wash the cookware in hot water with a mild dish detergent. Use a soft cotton cloth to rub residue, dirt and food from the cookware.

Rinse the pan well and dry it with a soft cloth.

Apply a cream-based stainless steel cleaner with a clean soft cloth, rubbing in a circular motion. Cover the entire surface of the area with the rainbow with the cream.

Rinse the cookware in cool water, removing all remnants of the cream cleanser.

Dry the cookware with a clean soft cloth and inspect for discoloration. If the discoloration still appears on the pan, continue to Step 6.

Apply lemon juice to a soft cloth. Rub the surface of the cookware with the lemon juice, covering the entire pan. Rinse the pan with cool water and dry well with a clean soft cloth.

Tips & Warnings

  • Dry stainless steel right after cleaning to avoid water discoloration spots.


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