How to Clean Burnt Pans? (the Do’s/Dont’s and Everything Else)

How to Clean Burnt Pans

No matter how good you are in the kitchen – you probably end up leaving your pans on the stove once in a while.

The worst thing about a burnt pan is the mess that is left behind.

Not only is it gross to clean a burnt pan, but it also smells! But fear not, there are several ways to get rid of this mess and make your pans look brand new again.

You can use chemicals to clean your burnt pans, but if you believe chemicals might damage the surface of your pan or want to keep chemicals away from your food, there are various natural ways to clean burnt pans.

With the right product, cleaning your pan will be easy, quick and efficient. Read ahead to learn more about all kinds of pans and how to clean them!

Different Types of Pans

There are various types of pans and they all have specific uses. Here is a guide to help you differentiate between each one!

Small, Medium and Large Pans

A small pan is usually used as a frying pan and is less than 8 Inches. It can be used to cook eggs or fry anything under 8 inches.

A small pan is most probably stainless or non-stick. If you’re cooking for two people, small pans are the way to go.

A medium pan is around 10 inches. It can be used to cook for at least 3 people. Medium pans are mostly stainless or non-stick.

Large pans are around 12 inches big. If you’re cooking a huge amount of food, use a large pan. Make sure you spread enough oil or butter across the whole surface of the pan to prevent the food from sticking to the surface of your pan.

Non-stick Pans

Non-stick pans come in various sizes and are easily available everywhere.

These pans are mostly used for food items like fried eggs because these are easier to stick to the pan.

They are also pretty easy to clean. Non-stick pans don’t cause too much trouble but might not be able to withstand the high oven heat.

Make sure to know your pan’s limit before putting it in the oven.

Related: Is It Ok to Put Non-Stick Pans and Pots in the Dishwasher?

Stainless Steel Pans

These pans are mostly ovenproof pans because they can easily withstand the high oven temperature.

These can be used for dishes that need to be prepared in the oven. Stainless steel pans are also dishwasher friendly, which means they’re pretty easy to clean.

Make sure to not scrub too hard when cleaning your stainless steel pans because that can easily cause damage to the surface.

Always remember to let the pan cool off before touching it or washing it!

You can even let it soak in water before cleaning it if it’s hard to scrape the food off.

Aluminum Pans

Aluminum pans are probably the most common cookware.

Not only are these pans durable, but they are also dishwasher friendly.

They are also pretty affordable compared to all the other pans and are easily available everywhere. Make sure to wash your aluminum pans often though, otherwise, they might get stained.

Cast Iron Pans

The best thing about cast iron pans is how evenly they divide heat.

Not only are they great heat conductors but they also stay like that for a long while. You can use them for slow cooking and even baking.

Cleaning cast iron pans is a little tricky but totally worth it. Don’t soak them in the water for too long because they might get rusty.

You can rub them with a paper towel to clean them or wash them with soapy water and dry them instantly. Cast iron pans are either bare cast or enamel coated.

Bare cast iron pans are easier to wipe with a wet cloth, whereas enamel coated cast iron pans do not need that sort of maintenance. Avoid putting acidic food in cast iron pans and make sure to season your pans before adding your ingredients.

Related: Can You Season a Cast-Iron Pan with Olive Oil?

Tricks to Clean Your Pans (Easy and Natural Methods)

Different methods will require different techniques, but it will be more or less the same. To clean a burnt pan, you need:

  • Dish soap
  • Washcloth
  • Hot water
  • Wooden spoon or spatula

Use Heat and Water

A very simple way to clean a burnt pan is by adding dish soap to it and filling it with hot or warm water.

Make sure to scrub the pot while the water and dish soap is inside and then keep it on the stove to boil. While the water is boiling, you can easily scrape it with a washcloth or a wooden spoon.

Using a wooden spoon will help keep the damage to your surface to the minimum.

Use Vinegar

If heat and water don’t get rid of the food that is stuck on the pan, fear not. Using vinegar is next on the list.

Vinegar is acidic, which means it is an amazing solution that helps with burnt items. Make sure to add vinegar very carefully. If your pot is burnt all over, you can use 2 cups, but 1 cup will most probably be fine to clean the whole pan.

After adding the vinegar, add water to your pan and leave it on the stove to boil. After letting it boil for a couple of minutes, take it off the stove and leave it to cool.

The good thing about vinegar is that it can be used with several other solutions like lemon juice, baking soda and even with salt.

Vinegar on its own works fine, too.

Use Vinegar and Baking Soda

This is a pretty common way to clean burnt pans. Baking soda and vinegar make a great combination to clean not only burnt pans but also other kitchen items.

You can use them to clean all your aluminum pots and pans and even the stove.

Add 2 tablespoons of baking soda to the boiled water and remove it from the stove. This will most likely cause the water to fizzle, but don’t worry – this is exactly what you want.

Make sure the fizzle doesn’t get too out of hand, though, otherwise you’ll be cleaning a lot more than just a burnt pan! This solution should be left idle for a good 30 minutes before you scrub it with a pad.

Use Salt and Dish Soap

If you want to clean a burnt pan and don’t want to ruin the seasoning, we have got just the solution for you.

You can combine salt and dish soap to clean the burnt pan. Using salt will help preserve the seasoning of the pan, too! Here’s what you need to use to make sure the seasoning doesn’t get damaged:

  • Dish soap
  • Salt
  • Small container
  • Paper towel or cloth

Mix the salt with the dish soap in the small container. Blend them until they turn into a paste. You can directly pour the paste onto the pan. Make sure to lightly scrub the burnt areas with a washcloth until the stain goes away.

If the grease still refuses to go, you can always add salt without dish soap and scrub it again. Salt can also be used with flour and vinegar!

Use Lemon and Water

Adding cut up lemon slices to your pans is a great way to make sure your burnt pans and pots stay clean and smell fresh. Not only is lemon juice a great option to remove stains, but it also gives amazing results when it is mixed with vinegar.

Both of these sour foods are a great option to go for if you want your pots to smell fresh and feel brand new.

Cut up 2 or 3 lemons – it depends on how big your pot is, but the standard amount would be 2 lemons. The width of your lemon slices does not matter as long as you’re using the whole lemon.

Make sure to add water to the bottom of your pan and then boil it. After boiling the water, remove the lemons and simply scrub the burnt grime away. This will easily remove all the food and grime that is stuck to your pots.

Use Dryer Sheets

This method might seem unconventional but it works. These are the items you need to use to clean burnt pans with dryer sheets:

  • Hot water
  • Dryer sheets
  • Dish soap
  • Brush

The first step would be to add a few drops of dish soap to your burnt pan or pot. Make sure to also add hot water on the burnt areas and then add the dryer sheet.

Make certain to submerge the dryer sheet in the hot water completely. Leave the pan to sit for at least an hour. After an hour, the burnt parts from the pan will simply peel away without any scrubbing!

Use Bleach-Free Cleansers

Bleach free cleaners are a quick way to clean your pots and pans.

They not only protect the surface of your pots but also don’t damage stainless steel. Mix the bleach-free cleaner with water and create a paste. These bleach-free cleansers can easily remove any rust, dirt, and grime that are stuck to your pan.

You can also use bleach-free cleansers on aluminum and copper pots and pans.

Make sure to scrub the pan with a soft cloth and then with water. If you feel like the pan is still burnt, keep scrubbing and your pot will be clean in no time.

What NOT to Use to Clean Your Burnt Pans

There are a few materials that you should never use to clean your pots.

These materials include steel wool and scouring pads.

These can easily ruin the seasoning on non-stick pans and even cast-iron pots.

Avoid using hard surfaces on your pans; otherwise, they might permanently damage your cookware.

Common Materials to Use When Cleaning Your Burnt Pans

You can clean your pans in many different ways, but the materials you use are pretty much the same.

You almost always need hot or warm water.

You also need a soft scrub or a washcloth to clean your pots. This can reduce damage to the seasoning of your pots and will also reduce peeling.

You can also try a wooden spoon or a spatula to remove burnt food, but make sure to not scrape too hard!

Difference between Cleaning Aluminum Pans vs. Stainless Steel Pans

If you spend time in the kitchen, you must be aware of how each one of your cookware needs special attention.

Whether it’s an iron cast pan or an aluminum pan, make sure to use different materials to wash each and every one of them.

Just remember that the material of your pans and pots will determine what cleaning products to use.

Stainless steel can be cleaned with most materials, but make sure to avoid steel wool. This will damage your pot and make it unusable.

When cleaning aluminum pots, make sure to not use baking soda.

It is not hard to choose the right material to clean your pan as long as you follow the right technique. You can always stick to essentials like vinegar, baking soda, salt, lemon slices, and even a dryer sheet.

These tricks to clean your pots are not only easy but also effective. Try them today and see the difference yourself!

Happy cleaning!

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