When I boil vegetables including broccoli the pot gets a water repellent-like residue at the water line that is very hard to remove. There is also residue similar to when cooking beans on the sides of the pots. This is in decent, newer stainless pots including the instant pot. My mother's older stainless pots don't seem to have this problem.

Does anyone know why this is and what is the best way to clean them? I wonder with time if it will become easier to clean. Or if the manufacturer coats them with something.

  • 1
    Hard- or soft-water area? if you leave it afterwards to dry what does it feel like, what colour is it?
    – Tetsujin
    Jan 5, 2019 at 19:47
  • 1
    Shippers and stores sometimes spray food grade waxes on veggies, to preserve them a bit. But I shouldn't think broccoli? Jan 5, 2019 at 21:43
  • @Tetsujin soft water I think. The residue is sort of clear-beige but the pot itself looks like there is oil on it or something as water droplets stick to it.
    – padma
    Jan 6, 2019 at 2:13
  • 4
    Have you checked if you get this residue when boiling water with nothing in the pot?
    – FuzzyChef
    Jan 6, 2019 at 7:40
  • Are you adding salt or any other seasonings in the water?
    – Cindy
    Jan 29, 2019 at 17:16

2 Answers 2


Vegetables often have a waxy coating on stems and leaves that helps protect the plant (retain water, keep out unwanted substances, etc; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plant_cuticle). Boiling water can strip that coating. Oils and waxes float on water, so the build-up would tend to be near the water line. I've never blanched broccoli (or kale), but when I blanch (homegrown) tomatoes to peel them, the surface of the water starts to look oilier with each successive tomato and the sides of the pan get a build-up at the water line.

I'm assuming that you're using the same water and dish detergent for your mother's pans. If that's the case, I would imagine that surface texture plays a role, too. Scrub a pan enough times and you're bound to wear away even the microscopic bumps, nook, and crannies, leaving less for gunk to stick to.


I get a greasy residue in the water used to wash broccoli before cooking and in the blanching water before I freeze it. It literally only happens with broccoli so I make sure to wash it as many times as possible before freezing so it shouldn’t have any residue left when I want to cook it. I can only think that it is some sort of pesticide or preservative which is slightly worrying as I don’t want chemicals on my food! Organic is so expensive in comparison though.

  • 2
    I got a waxy greasy residue after blanching kale. Almost impossible to get off of the pot! I grew this kale myself so I know it is no type of pesticide or spray applied at the market.
    – KathyT
    Oct 22, 2022 at 17:25

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