To clean burnt-on residue off stainless steel cookware, boil water in the pot or pan and scrub the cookware with baking soda and a mesh cloth. Alternately, use baking soda and vinegar.
Boiling water and some elbow grease can often remove burnt-on residue from stainless steel. Start by filling the pot or pan with water and bring the water to a boil on the stove. Boil the water for 20 minutes. Check to see if any of the residue starts to loosen and scrape at the bottom with a wooden spoon. Drain the water from the cookware. Pour baking soda in until the entire bottom is coated. Scrub the baking soda into the pan with a mesh cloth. Rinse the pan when all of the residue is gone.
Vinegar can help remove very persistent residue. Add enough water to the cookware to fill the bottom and add 1 cup of vinegar. Bring the mixture to a boil. Take the pot or pan off of the heat, and add 2 tablespoons of baking soda to the vinegar mixture. It should start to fizz. Drain the pot, and scrub any remaining residue with a scrubber and baking soda until the bottom is clean.