It’s surprisingly easy to learn how to clean pots and pans like the pros—and you probably have all the supplies you need in your pantry.
1. Embrace a cooling period
Before embarking on your cleaning journey, grant your pots and pans a moment to cool down. Plunging hot cookware into cold water can shock the material, potentially leading to warping or weakening.
2. The power of a soak
For stubborn residue, fill your pot or pan with warm, soapy water and let it soak. This gentle approach will loosen the grip of food particles, making them easier to remove later.
3. Go easy with scrubbing
When it’s time to tackle the remnants, opt for soft materials like a sponge or non-abrasive scrubber. Stubborn stains can often be coaxed away with a bit of gentle pressure and patience.
4. Befriend Baking Soda
For those tougher situations, enlist the help of baking soda. Create a paste with a bit of water and apply it to the affected area. Let it sit for a while before scrubbing, and watch as stains fade away without causing harm to the cookware’s surface.
5. Avoid harsh chemicals
Steer clear of harsh chemicals and abrasive cleaners, as they can strip away the pan’s non-stick coating or damage its finish. Opt for natural cleaning agents whenever possible.
6. Using lemon
Mixing pure lemon juice into your cleaning routine yields some impressive results. It’s a powerful cleaning tool that acts as an antibacterial agent as well as an antiseptic. Lemon works best for cast iron pots and pans and as an added bonus, cleaning with lemons leaves a bright, fresh scent in your home.
- Lemons or lemon juice
- Scouring brush
- Cut up a lemon, and place the slices in the pot.
- Fill the pot with a few inches of water.
- Boil the mixture for 5–10 minutes.
- After burnt food particles rise to the top, rinse the pot.
- Then use a scouring brush to remove excess burns.
Pro tip: Lemons are also great degreasers for your pans, pots and even your stovetop.
7. Using Coca-Cola
While you may want to think twice about chugging this sugar-laden drink, cleaning with soda is a great idea. There are plenty of surprising things you can do with a can of Coke, and cleaning charred cookware is one of them. Coca-Cola is excellent at loosening tough stains, as it is extremely acidic, this soda is best for any type of pots and pans, except nonstick.
- Scouring pad
- Pour some Coca-Cola into your burnt pot.
- Turn on the heat, and let the Coke simmer for 15 minutes to loosen the stain.
- Rinse the pot, and scrub at the burn.
Pro tip: Watch the heat! Do not bring it to a boil, as Coca-Cola can thicken and turn into a sticky syrup, which will further burn your pan.
8. Dish soap and vinegar
Dish soap and vinegar work best for non-stick pots and pans. Again, you need to be very careful when cleaning nonstick cookware so you don’t accidentally damage its protective coating.
- Dish soap
- Soft, natural or nylon sponge
- Add dish soap with warm water to the pan.
- Scrub with a non-abrasive sponge to avoid scratching the surface.
- For tougher stains, boil an equal mix of water and vinegar in the pan.
- Using a wooden spoon, remove remaining bits of food.
- Repeat the first two steps until all the burnt food has been removed.
- Wash and dry thoroughly.
Pro tip: Avoid using metal utensils when cooking. These can scratch the nonstick coating and shorten the life of your cookware.
ALSO SEE: The right way to pack your dishwasher
Written by Maegan-Leigh Jacobs
Feature image: Unsplash