I recently bought two stainless steel pans, and have used them about two or three times each. Today, I got them out of the dishwasher and boiled water in each of them. When I removed the water, they looked like the photos below.

I didn't really check them when getting them before grabbing them out of the dishwasher, but one of them looked pretty clean. However, they'd been sitting there (mostly dry) for a day or so. I'm concerned they're mold spots, but others online say you can get white build up on stainless steel, and to clean it with vinegar.

Are the spots mold?

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  • Isn't mold black (or even just dark)? I have had a number of stainless steel pans and there are often whitish spots on them. Usually cleaning them with an SOS pad (steel wool with soap in it) removes them or at the very least lightens them. I suppose it depends on the quality of the stainless steel. As long as the spots aren't rusty I would imagine you are OK. Sep 21, 2023 at 20:13
  • No, mold isn't always black. It can be white, green, yellow or a bunch of other rarer colors. As for the quality, I think it's decent, and it's supposed to be dishwasher safe. I'll try cleaning it, but I'm a little more concerned about what to clean it with, because if it is mold, that makes it more complicated.
    – flow-straw
    Sep 21, 2023 at 20:22

1 Answer 1


Those are hard water spots, left by minerals in the water, or soap spots left by your dishwasher soap. They are harmless, so one of your choices (the one I'd make) is to simply ignore them. If you want your steel shiny again, though, they can be removed with vinegar, baking soda, and/or CLR cleanser.

  • 1
    I was sure we'd have a prior answer on this one, but I couldn't find it.
    – FuzzyChef
    Sep 21, 2023 at 23:07

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