How to Clean White Mineral Deposit on Cooking Pans?

White spots all over your cooking pans can be annoying.

These cloudy, white spots are mineral deposits, also known as lime, calcium, or protein deposits, that often form on the outside and inside of stainless steel pans.

Although this white mineral deposit isn’t harmful, it can make your cooking pans appear unsightly.

So, let’s look at a few tried and tested ways in which you can get rid of these white spots.

How to Clean White Mineral Deposits on Cooking Pans

Here are some surefire methods that will allow you to effectively clean the white mineral deposit on your cooking pans.

Water and Vinegar

Vinegar consists of 5% acetic acid, which is an exceptionally great cleaning solvent.

It is strong enough to easily dissolve those stubborn white mineral deposits off your cooking pans.

1. Apple Cider Vinegar

Most people often opt for white distilled vinegar to carry out their cleaning chores.

However, using apple cider vinegar that is sitting somewhere in a lonely corner of your pantry is a much more effective way to clean your stainless steel pans.

Apple cider vinegar works wonders when it comes to getting rid of stubborn mineral deposits that have formed on your cooking pans.

In fact, it is 5%- 10% times more acidic than distilled white vinegar, depending on your preferred brand.

So, let’s explore how you can clean your cooking pans with apple cider vinegar.

Here are the things you will need to clean your cooking pan:

  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Water
  • Plastic scrubber or scrunched up aluminum foil
  • Dishwashing liquid (optional)
  • A stained cooking pan

Pour some apple cider vinegar in your stainless steel pan and give it a nice whirl. Let the vinegar sit in your pan for about 5 minutes.

Use the plastic dishwashing scrubber to gently but thoroughly scrub your cooking pan.

You could also use scrunched-up aluminum foil if you don’t have a plastic scrubber.

It won’t scratch the stainless steel since aluminum is not as hard as steel. However, the best and safest choice is to use a soft plastic scrubber.

After a few seconds of thorough yet easy scrubbing, the vinegar will pick up all the deposited minerals and turn your scrubber or foil into a dark color.

If you are using scrunched-up aluminum foil, some of that color will be due to the aluminum reacting with the apple cider vinegar.

After a good two minutes of thorough cleaning, simply wash your cooking pan with some lukewarm water and a little bit of dishwashing liquid.

That’s it; your cooking pan is now clean and shiny!

2. White Vinegar

A white vinegar and water solution is inarguably known as the perpetual cleaning solution. It can clean just about anything under the sun!

It’s especially ideal to use this solution if you don’t want your cooking pan to retain that pungent scent of vinegar – white vinegar definitely stinks a lot less than other varieties of vinegar. It targets tough and white mineral stains, specifically.

Here’s what you will need to clean your cooking pan via this method:

  • White vinegar
  • Water
  • A stained cooking pan
  • A piece of soft cloth

This method involves boiling the vinegar and water solution. Pour a 50/50 mix of water and white vinegar into your stained cooking pan.

Put your pan on the stove on medium-low heat. Slowly heat up the solution until it starts to boil gently.

Then, allow it to bubble for around fifteen minutes. Finally, remove your cooking pan from the heat and allow the solution to cool down.

Once your solution is at room temperature, pour out a majority of the solution from the pan and down your kitchen drain.

Next, use a piece of soft cloth to wipe away any remaining spots of mineral deposits. That’s it, your cooking pan should now be squeaky clean!

Once you have cleaned the white mineral deposits off your cooking pan, you can wash it again with lukewarm water before using it for cooking.

Pro Tip: Make sure not to let the vinegar sit in your cooking pan for prolonged time periods, as that will do the opposite of the required result and will damage your pan!

Vinegar and Salt

A salt and vinegar paste can also work wonders to clean your cooking pans.

This mixture will get rid of the pesky white mineral deposits and leave your pan spotless.

Things you will need for this method:

  • Coarse salt
  • Vinegar
  • A stained cooking pan
  • A clean paper towel

Here’s how you can use a salt and vinegar paste to get rid of the white mineral deposits from your pans.

First, thoroughly dry your cooking pan so that there is no water residue in it. Next, sprinkle some coarse salt into it.

Add in any variety of inexpensive vinegar – it should be enough to wet the salt and form a paste.

Use a clean paper towel to scrub your pan with this paste. Keep scrubbing for about 30 seconds or more.

The salt will act as a mild abrasive, while the vinegar will dissolve the cloudiness of the mineral deposits.

Once you have cleaned your pan, simply rinse it with lukewarm water and let it dry. That’s pretty much it; after this process, you will have a clean, spotless cooking pan at your hands!


One of the quickest and easiest ways to get rid of white mineral deposits from your cooking pan is to use Tang!

You can use the delicious fruit drink powder like any dishwashing detergent or soap in your dishwasher.

The reason why this method is so effective is that Tang is high in ascorbic acid. This acid eats away the mineral deposits on your cooking pans.

Plus, since Tang is a powdery fruit mix, you can easily use it in your dishwasher.

Simply put your pan that requires cleaning into the dishwasher and add Tang in place of your regular dishwashing detergent.

Wait for the powdery goodness of Tang to weave its magic. It will leave your cooking pan spotless!

Also read: Dating Lodge Cast Iron Skillets

How to Prevent Your Cooking Pan from Pitting

The cleaning methods mentioned above work well for most types of mineral deposits that you can find on your cooking pans.

However, there is a time when these methods won’t work. This will happen when the metal of your cooking pans has become hollow or pitted from repeated use.

There isn’t a whole lot that you can do to fix a dented or scratched stainless steel pan once it has sustained significant damage – the damage is definitely permanent.

The best way to handle this situation is to prevent it from occurring in the first place.

You can do this by being extra careful when adding salt to boiling water during cooking.

Always make sure to add salt only after the water has stopped boiling. This will prevent your cooking pan from pitting.

Another solid tip is to avoid using abrasive materials to clean your stainless steel cookware.

Stainless steel pans and pots are among the cookware that is most susceptible to these white mineral deposits.

When you are cleaning any stainless steel cooking utensil, don’t use any harsh abrasives since they will leave unsightly scratches on your pristine cookware.

A scratched or pitted stainless steel pan, regardless of the “stainless” tag, is more susceptible to stains.

So, instead of using a rough cloth to clean your cooking pans, try using a sponge or soft cloth to thoroughly and gently scrub away the mineral deposits.

Also read: Are Aluminum Pans Safe

Where Does the White Mineral Deposit on Stainless Steel Cooking Pans Come From?

The pesky white mineral deposit usually forms on the surface of your pans after boiling hard water.

The white spots appear as a result of calcium and salt deposits.

A solid tip to avoid salt buildup in your cooking pans is to bring the water to a boil before adding salt to it.

Hard water is water that is high in mineral contents— it is tap water that has high amounts of calcium, magnesium, and limestone in it.

The white residue that you find on your cooking pans is usually a result of the magnesium and calcium-containing minerals found in your tap water.

If these mineral deposits have baked on the surface of the pan, then a normal dishwasher cycle probably won’t be enough to get rid of them.

In fact, using natural dishwashing soap or detergent and then washing your pans with tap water might even worsen the residue.

In Conclusion

Stainless steel cooking pans are highly susceptible to white mineral deposits.

Now that you know how to get rid of these white spots, you can keep your stainless steel cooking pans spot-free!

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