How to Remove Water Sedimentation From Stainless Steel Cooking Pots

Stainless steel cookware is durable and attractive, and many cooks prefer stainless steel pots and pans. If your home has hard water, however, you may end up with sedimentation stains (lime scale) on your cookware. You can buy products that are specially made for cleaning stainless steel pots---prices vary and some are more effective than others. Or you can use common household products to easily remove water stains from your cookware as a less expensive, environmentally friendly alternative to chemical cleaning products. Consider three ways to clean water stains from your stainless steel pots using items you already have in your kitchen.


Stainless steel pots have an attractive shine when you clean them properly.

Pour 1 pt. of water and 1/2 cup vinegar into the pot.

Put the pot on the stove, and heat on low for 30 minutes.

Pour the liquid down the drain, allow the pot to cool and wash it with dishwashing soap and a dishcloth. Do not use abrasive scrubbers, which could scratch the pot's finish.

Lemon Juice

Cut the lemon in half.

Rub the inside of the lemon half over the stained area, and repeat with the other lemon half. Or pour 1 tbsp. of bottled lemon juice on a dry dishcloth and rub it over the stained area.

Wash the pot with a wet dishcloth and dishwashing soap, and rinse.


Put 1 tbsp. ketchup or tomato juice on a dry paper towel. You can replace steps 1 and 2 of this process by cooking tomato sauce in the stained pot.

Rub the ketchup over the stained area, and let it sit for 15 minutes.

Wash the pot with a wet dishcloth and dishwashing liquid, and rinse.

Things You Will Need

  • ½ cup vinegar
  • 2 pts. water
  • Dishwashing soap
  • Dishcloth
  • 1 lemon, or 1 tbsp. bottled lemon juice
  • A sharp knife
  • 1 tbsp. ketchup or tomato juice
  • Paper towel


  • After each time you use your stainless steel pot to boil water, add ½ cup vinegar to the pot, fill it the rest of the way with hot tap water and let it soak for half an hour before you wash it, which will help to prevent lime scale buildup.
  • Dry your stainless steel pot thoroughly with a dishtowel after you wash it to prevent water spots.


  • While salt can be effective for cleaning cast iron cookware, never use salt to clean your stainless steel pots. Salt can cause pitting in the surface of stainless steel cookware if it stays in contact with the surface too long.
  • You can use lemon juice to clean water stains on your stainless steel cookware, but never soak stainless steel pots in lemon juice. The acid in lemon juice will damage the finish if it stays in contact with the pot for too long.

About the Author

Melissa Sandoval began writing professionally in 1996, dabbling in fiction and writing for new media and magazines. She has published work in "mental_floss magazine" and on websites such as TLC Family and TLC Style. Sandoval has work published in English and Spanish, including online topics guides en Español. Sandoval has a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Wittenberg University.

Photo Credits

  • a pan full with tasteful mussels image by Gabees from Fotolia.com