Is there anyway to restore the Stainless finish to a pot that has been cleaned in a self cleaning oven. I burned it so badly it was the only way to salvage the pan. Still works great and didn't warp but it has a bad stained finish on the inside. Anything I can do to restore the nice finish??

4 Answers 4


A self cleaning oven won't clean pans put in it, only the bits of oven wall that have the right surface and get hot enough. If the pan you put in was dirty, all you've done is burn the food on to it.

Stainless isn't a finish, it's a material, so you may be able to remove the discolouration by polishing or sanding it. But if you make the surface rough, food will stick to it.

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    +1 for cleaning pots in a self cleaning oven - it's meant to clean the oven itself, not things inside it. I typically clean my badly stained stainless with a baking soda paste and steel wool (or soft abrasive if you'd rather not scratch but want to put more elbow grease into it). I don't mind the look of shiny, wool scratched pots (reminds me of working in a restaurant) but yeah you'll have to go to town with arm power.
    – kettultim
    May 19, 2017 at 9:59
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    @kettultim I've never had any scratching with coarse steel wool on my stainless. However, there are various alloys called stainless, and steel wool hardness varies as well. Jun 14, 2018 at 23:27

As Chris H already mentioned, the self-cleaning cycle of your oven won't be of much help here. You need some abrasion to get the burned bits out.

Use a coarse salt, such as Kosher Salt, scrub... rinse and repeat.

Start by pouring a good amount of the salt into the pan, and then use paper towels, a real towel, or a sponge to scrub. It may take a bit, and the salt will become black/grey after a bit... rinse it out, and repeat the process until it's all clean.

The salt is fairly abrasive, and will help chew through whatever is burnt onto the pan, but not hard enough to damage your pan (test in a small section first, if you're worried about the finish of the pan).

This method is commonly used to clean out heavily burned-on food bits in cast iron pans as well.


The finish can be made uniform but probably not be able to match the original. So you can lightly sand the whole surface with silicon carbide paper. You can get it at any auto store and good hardware stores; sometime called "wet or dry". 6oo grit will give finer surface appearance. 400 grit will give a more brushed appearance. I used it on my stainless appliances to remove a couple marks but it is very difficult to match the large grinding/polishing belts of the steel mills.


I put my stainless pans in on self clean cycle of my oven, works like a charm. Some discolouration of pan & handles, but is easily restored with lemon & salt, or the paste I make to clean all my coins! Comes out looking new and scratch free!

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