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I have a KitchenAid skillet that I love. But I can't seem to get it cleaned easily. It looks much like this one, but with a brushed exterior and the bottom of the interior is grooved or ribbed.

For now, I run cold water on it when hot but I still end up needing light use of a ScotchBrite pad. I'm concerned I'm ruining the pan by doing so.

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Be careful with cold water in a hot pan - since the pan is metal, you shouldn't have to worry about cracking, but you will get a nice burst of steam in your face!

Your best bet is to deglaze the pan immediately while it's still hot, or heat it back up and deglaze it. There are some tips in this thread. As a bonus you're going to get a delicious pan sauce as part of the deal.

You're never going to get it store-bought perfect, but I've had a lot of luck cleaning stains that seemed permanent by using Bar Keepers Friend, which in my opinion is one of the best commercial cleaners available.

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    Cold water on a hot pan can crack pans. This happens more often in brittle materials (especially glass, but also cast iron and other metals to a lesser extent). Pans should be cooled at least a bit before they contact water or cold surfaces. – Adam Shiemke Aug 23 '10 at 19:11
  • @Adam: Thanks for the info - I was always told that was the case (even with metal), and I avoid cold water with hot pans as a general rule in my house. I know I would never do it with cast iron as it's a relatively brittle metal, but for some reason assumed stainless steel was safer - then again, I know people who have some warped stainless steel pans and I can only imagine that's how they warped them. Still, I was afraid to say that with certainty because I wasn't 100% sure. Always good to get clarification! – stephennmcdonald Aug 23 '10 at 19:56
  • Thanks a bunch. I'll try that Bar Keepers stuff to clean up what's in there now. Bear in mind, I wasn't dunking the pan in water, but while still somewhat hot, swishing a few tablespoons of water around. – hometoast Aug 23 '10 at 21:06
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    Thumbs up for Barkeepers Friend, that stuff is excellent. – Michael Natkin Aug 24 '10 at 3:55
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First, you shouldn't be trying to clean it to a mirror finish like it was when you first bought it.

It's quite simple to keep them clean as long as you clean them promptly after use. Deglaze them while the pan is still hot using water, wine, or vinegar. This can be used as the base of a pan sauce.

If you're trying to clean the brown stains of burnt oil off, that is answered here:

How can brown stains be removed from pots and pans?

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Deglazing with water while the pan is hot is the best way to get rid of large stuck-on/burnt debris.

Once the pan cools down, spray the enterior with a nice even layer of aerosol oven cleaner/degreaser and set aside for about 10 minutes. Then use your scotch brite or stainless steel scrubber on it and it should come clean of debris and good as new.

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I have been using quickleen-s stainless steel cleaner from australia this is totally eco friendly it is used by a lot of hign end catering companies because it remove burn stain and discoloration as well as remove stuck on food.

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I'm a bit low-tech about these things. My trick was always to pour a shot or two of ouzo, vodka or other strong licquor into the pan after it's cooled off. After about 10 minutes, it'll be much easier to clean. The advice isn't much different than with commercial cleaning products, but it is definitely less toxic.

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As suggested, deglaze with water to soften any residue and then let it soak. Then scrape with a plastic scraper (e.g., the plastic spatula) and then clean with a dishwashing brush or nylon scrubber. Use a blue 3-M (non-scratching) sponge for stubborn spots (but not green, which will scratch the pan.) Then polish with copper cleaner (I use Wright's, but Twinkle works well, too) to remove heat discoloration and hard water deposits, and polish the surface. Cooked-on spots can be softened with a paper towel saturated with ammonia, leave the soaked towel on the spot for 10-15 minutes. To avoid scratching the pan, I try to avoid using any pumice-based cleaners like Bar Helpers, Bon Ami or Ajax. (I just tried using bathroom tile cleaner, and it also worked to remove hard water deposits.) If your pans have an anodized aluminum exterior, try to avoid using oven cleaner or anything with lye in it.

If you pan has an aluminum core, don't leave the lid on when you are soaking the pan or soak cooking utensils or flatware in the pan overnight, since it will cause the aluminum edge to oxidize. If the aluminum edge is getting discolored, you can polish it with a tiny piece of SOS pad, being careful to avoid scratching the exterior surface of the pan.

Whenever possible, I try to avoid using metal utensils in our SS pans (exception: the balloon whisk I use for making sauces.)

Most of our All-Clad still looks almost like new after 25 years of regular use.

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I use the Lagostina stainless steel cleaner and a scrubbie (kind used to clean glass top stoves). get it wet, get the sponge wet and squeeze out a bit, sprinkle about 1 t cleaner and scrub away. You don't want it to be too watery, a thin paste works best. TTFN

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