clean steel cooking pot

How To Remove Hard Water Stains From Stainless Steel Pots And Pans

If you are using hard water, you must have noticed a build-up of a white substance on your cooking utensils. This means that you need to know how to remove hard water stains from pots and pans.

This might seem like an impossible task, especially if the calcium deposits have been on the cookware for some time. You might be frustrated because you feel that your cooking gears are not clean.

Some people ignore the obvious scum buildup on the cookware, while others find ways of changing the water they use. Some people may not have this option, and others consider it too much work.

The good news is that you can get rid of those mineral deposits. All you need are the right tools.

Here are the steps you can take to remove the calcium buildup on your pots and pans and have them sparkling again.

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What causes hard water stains?

Hard water is water that has a high level of dissolved minerals. The most common ones are magnesium, iron, and calcium. One property of water is that it is a good solvent. Therefore, as it finds its way between the soil and rocks, some minerals from these two get into the water.

This solution eventually goes into your water supply. You will not see the minerals after they have dissolved in water.

When washing your pots and pans, the water eventually goes down the drain. However, the minerals remain behind. You will now see them in the form of white residue not only on your cooking gear but also on your glasses. They are also present in your pipes.

Sometimes the mineral deposits can be blue or orange in color.

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How to remove hard water stains from stainless steel pots and pans?

You can use various techniques to clean the white residue from your pots and pans. Here are some of them.

Water and vinegar

This is the number one solution that most people turn to when they see calcium buildup in their cookware. This is because the solution of water and vinegar is effective in getting rid of mineral deposits as well as discolorations.

First, you should assess the level of water stains on your cooking utensils. If there are fewer stains on the cooking gear, then use equal amounts of vinegar and water. If the pots have many mineral buildups, use only vinegar to clean them or use vinegar and less water.

Experts recommend white vinegar to clean the pans because it won’t stink as much as other vinegar.

Put the mixture of vinegar and water on heat and let it boil gently. 15 minutes should be enough for it to simmer. Turn off the heat and allow the solution to cool.

After the mixture has cooled, pour most of it into your cooking gear. You’ll see the stains lifting. You can wipe away any spots that might have been left behind. After the spots are gone, clean your pots and pans as you usually do.

Alternatively, you can soak the cooking utensils in the vinegar mixture.

Repeat the exercise if there are still white spots after following these steps. If you prefer to let the pots soak in the solution, you can leave it overnight to ensure all the hard water stains get off.

Related Reading: Stainless Steel Cookware Pros and Cons

Using Tang

Tang has a high concentration of ascorbic acid. This acid is strong enough to eliminate calcium mineral deposits. You can use Tang while cleaning your cookware in the dishwashers. It comes in powder form.

A soft piece of cloth

Best stainless steel cookware manufacturers will tell you not to use abrasive cleaning solutions or material on the pots. You might be tempted to use harsh abrasives when you see stains on your cooking gear but don’t do it. This way, you will just damage your utensil and expedite its demise.

Just take a soft sponge or piece of cloth and try to gently remove the calcium deposits.

How to prevent calcium buildup on stainless steel cookware

Keeping hard water stains away from your pots and pans may seem difficult. However, it is not impossible. These are some of the things you can do to accomplish that.

Keep your cookware dry

Calcium deposits form in moist places. Therefore, you should thoroughly dry your cooking gear to prevent the formation of white stains.

Clean with solutions that fight calcium buildup

A vinegar and water mix is an excellent solution for cleaning pots and pans. Lemon juice also serves to keep hard water stains away.

Remember to avoid cleaning solutions with harsh chemicals.

Soften your water

If you cannot prevent water stains from getting on your pots, you can consider putting a water softener in the hard water. It will remove unwanted minerals and turn the water soft.

Do frequent cleaning

Cleaning your pots and pans frequently will prevent calcium deposits from accumulating in them.


Seeing white spots in your clean cookware can be frustrating. You might feel like something has invaded your kitchen and taken over your cooking gear. However, you should not despair because you can get rid of the hard water stains.

The directions provided here can help you deal with the problem of mineral deposits on your cookware. You don’t have to suffer anymore.

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