So what do we do? My cookware has white spots which I can't get out, and
there's the discoloration. Is it OK to keep using the pans and cookware or am I just being paranoid?
Step 1: Look for Common Problems
Often there are only a handful of reasons your cookware starts to become stained and become filled with build up.
This is caused by several reasons:
Most often this is from what we call "hard water". The definition of hard water from Wikipedia is:
"Hard water is water that has high mineral content (in contrast with "soft water"). Hard water is formed when water percolates through deposits of calcium and magnesium-containing minerals such as limestone, chalk and dolomite."
The second most common problem is when "chefs" decide to add salt to the water to the pot before the water has been brought to a full boil. This is a surefire way to leave sodium marks in the base of your cookware.
Step 2: Get the Right Supplies for Stainless Steel and Other Metals
There is a secret that master chefs love to keep to themselves and only pass on to close friends. That product is Bar Keepers Friend.
Bar Keeper's will remove anything you put in its path. Burn the pan by tossing a few eggs in and going for a job....Bar Keepers Friend will not even blink.
Do not have Bar Keepers Friend on hand?
Vinegar is a great alternative! Cheap and usually found in most households vinegar has the acidity to remove most tough to budge stains and residue left in cookware.