Cleaning Stainless Steel Pans
I bought a stainless steel dutch oven a while back. Eventually, it had some burnt food on the bottom which could not be removed. I tried hot water/dishwashing liquid, vinegar, and soaking overnight. Nothing worked.
According to Cuisinart, stainless steel pans should not be subjected to steel wool or scraping with metal appliances. The instructions had vinegar, a mild acid, as a possible solution.
Visiting a Williams Sonoma store, I spoke with someone who suggested Barkeeper's Friend (BKF). Luckily, I had some. I dampened the bottom of the dutch oven with water (BKF says to apply to a damp surface), added some BKF (about a teaspoon), and scrubbed with a sponge. Wow. It worked.
BKF uses oxalic acid as its main ingredient (originally derived from rhubarb leaves) whereas Ajax or Comet is a form of bleach.