How to Remove Stains from Cooking Pans?

No matter how much you take care of your cooking pans, they are likely to get some serious stains and discoloration after working with food at high temperatures time and again.

Soap and hot water may be your go-to solution for cleaning cookware but with cooking pans, cleaning gets a little trickier.

The stubborn stains can be tough to remove even with all the scrubbing. Plus, they can get damaged if you scrub too hard.

How to Remove Stains from Cooking Pans?

Let’s give your weary arms some rest and try these cleaning hacks to remove stains from cooking pans.

These simple solutions utilize inexpensive materials that are commonly found around the home.

Deglaze with Hot Water

For an enamel or stainless steel pan, turn the heat on of a stovetop and let it get warm. Wait until a drop of water sizzles on the pan to consider it hot enough. Pour a cup of water in the pan and allow it to simmer for a while. You may add some dish soap if you want.

The hot water will loosen the stains and burnt areas. Use a wooden spoon or a nylon spatula to scrape away at those areas.

Disclaimer: this method is not suitable for non-stick pans.

Use Vinegar

Vinegar is one of the best multi-purpose cleaners that can easily remove stubborn stains on your cooking pans.

Follow these steps:

For Aluminum Pans:

  1. Mix 1 teaspoon of white vinegar for every cup of water needed to cover the stains.
  2. Boil the mixture for a couple of minutes before rinsing the pan with cold water.

For Stainless Steel Pans:

  1. Soak the dirty pan in two cups of white vinegar for 30 minutes.
  2. Use hot, soapy water to rinse it off before washing it with cold water.
  3. For burned-on grease, pour 1 cup distilled vinegar in enough water to cover the stains.
  4. Let it boil for five minutes before rinsing it off.

For Glass Pans:

  1. To remove cooked-on stains from a glass pan, pour a mixture of 1 part vinegar and 4 parts water.
  2. Bring the mixture to a slow boil and let it boil for five minutes at a low level.
  3. Once the mixture cools down, try scrubbing the stains gently.

For Non-stick Pans:

  1. To get rid of mineral stains on your non-stick cooking pans, dip a cloth in undiluted distilled vinegar and rub the utensil with it.
  2. For stubborn stains, mix ½ cup vinegar with 2 tablespoons baking soda and 1 cup water.
  3. Let the mixture boil for 10 minutes before rinsing it off.

For Broiler Pans:

  1. To remove cooked-on grease marks from a broiler pan, place it on a stovetop and heat it gently.
  2. Make a solution of 1 cup apple cider vinegar and 2 tablespoons sugar and apply the mixture while the pan is still hot.
  3. Let it sit for at least an hour.
  4. Scrub the pan gently and watch the grime slide off effortlessly.

Soak it with Soap

Also called the ‘procrastination method’, this remedy requires you to squirt a few drops of soap into the dirty pan. Add hot water and then allow the mixture to sit for a few hours. You may also ‘procrastinate’ and leave it overnight.

After you empty it, run fresh warm water and use a nylon scrubber to get rid of the burnt areas.

Try a Dryer Sheet

If burnt bits are stuck on your pan surface, consider using a dryer sheet. This fabric softener sheet works wonders and leaves the pan clean and shiny.

Simply, pour warm water in the pan before adding a dryer sheet. Make sure the sheet is under the water so that it gets fully saturated. Keep it away for a few hours before using the fabric softener sheet as a scrubber. It will loosen the burnt bits and debris and remove all kinds of stains.

Scrub with Aluminum Foil

In case you don’t have a scrub pad to clean your cooking pans, try using aluminum foil. Simply, crumble up some foil and gently scrub your pans to reveal a shiny surface.

Use Alka-Seltzer Tablets

Scouring those stubborn stains and debris from ovenproof glass pans just got easier!

Just pour some water in the pan and add five to six Alka-Seltzer tablets. Let it soak for about an hour before scrubbing the stains away. It won’t only leave your pans clean but also smelling fresh!

Try Salt

Salt is a great abrasive cleanser for cleaning cooking pans. Coarse Kosher salt, in particular, works great for removing scorch marks and greasy messes.

  • If you have burned-on stains on your enamel pan, consider soaking it in salt water overnight. The next day, boil the saltwater in the pan to lift the stains off the surface.
  • The stains of burned milk can be one of the hardest to remove but salt makes it pretty easy. Simply, wet the pan and sprinkle some salt on it. Wait for 10 minutes before scrubbing the pan. Not only will the salt remove the stains but also absorb the unpleasant odor of burned milk too.
  • If you’re using iron pans, grease marks can be a nightmare because grease is not water-soluble. To fight these stains, just sprinkle some salt over the pan before washing it. The salt will make the pan absorb most of the grease. You can then wash the pan as usual after wiping it out.

Scrub with Baking Soda

Looking for a more powerful dishwashing liquid for removing stubborn stains from your cooking pans?

The baking soda method is great for cleaning stainless steel or enamel pans. Don’t use it with aluminum pans.

Just make a paste of equal parts baking soda and warm water. Gently scrub it over the burnt areas and stains to release the mess. Rinse the pan with warm water and repeat until the pan is clean.

Use Club Soda

Food cooked in cast iron pans is always delicious! However, when it comes to cleaning the mess, it’s not fun.

You can make your cleaning task a lot easier by using club soda. Pour some of it in the pan while it’s still hot after cooking. The bubbly soda will prevent the debris from sticking to the pan’s surface, making it easier for you to clean it.

Use Cream of Tartar

Want to see your discolored aluminum pans sparkling again?

Clean them with a mixture of 2 tablespoons cream of tartar dissolved in a liter of water. Pour the mixture in the pan and bring it to boil. Wait for 10 minutes and allow the water to cool. Scrub the pan gently to revive its shine.

Try Denture Tablets

Denture tablets serve as a natural solution for cleaning stained enamel pans. Pour warm water in the pan and add one or two denture tablets, depending on its size. Wait until the fizzing stops to see a clean and shiny pan surface.

Freeze it!

You don’t necessarily have to scrub your favorite pan roughly to get rid of the burned-on stains. You can simply put it in the freezer for a couple of hours. The mess will freeze and it’ll become easier for you to clean.

Use Ketchup

You can brighten your copper pans that have become dull and tarnished. Not only is this a cheaper option as compared to commercial tarnish removers but also doesn’t require gloves for safety.

Use a thin layer of ketchup to coat the surface of your pan. Allow it to sit for 10 to 15 minutes. The acids found in ketchup will work to remove the tarnish. Then, rinse the pan and dry it off immediately.

Use an Oven Cleaner

Are you finding it difficult to remove baked-on stains off your Pyrex or CorningWare cooking pans?

It’s time to try an oven cleaner!

Wear rubber gloves and cover your pan with oven cleaner. Place the pan in a heavy-duty garbage bag, securing it with twist ties. Leave it overnight.

Next day, take the garbage bag outdoors. While opening the bag, make sure you’re facing away from the dangerous fumes. Put on rubber gloves to remove and wash the pan.

Rub Some Lemons

Lemon can make your dull pans sparkle from inside out.

Cut a lemon in half and rub the cut side all over the pan. Then, buff it with a soft cloth. You’ll be amazed to see all the stubborn stains gone!

Use a Fabric Softener

Another cheap way of removing stains from your cooking pan is by putting a small amount of fabric softener in the pan along with some hot water.

Let the mixture sit for 15 to 20 minutes. It’ll make for less scrubbing and more shine!

Make a DIY Scrub Pad

Make a DIY scrub pad for removing stubborn stains from your non-stick cooking pan by using a pair of old yet clean pantyhose.

Crumple it up and use warm water to moisten it before adding a couple of drops of liquid dishwashing detergent. Use this scrub pad for cleaning your pan.

Fight the Toughest Stains with Baking Soda and Hydrogen Peroxide

To remove the toughest stains from your stainless steel cooking pans, make a paste of 1 part baking soda and 1 part hydrogen peroxide.

Rub this paste on the stains and allow it to sit for 20 minutes. Then, to soak, add 2 tablespoons of baking soda to 1 cup hydrogen peroxide. Let it sit for at least an hour.

Warning: Baking soda is abrasive. So, this method is suited for stainless steel pots and pans but not appliances.

Instead of muscling through the grime, try these simple tricks for removing stains from cooking pans.

Just use the right cleaning agents for different kinds of pans and you’ll never find yourself complaining about the stubborn stains on your cookware again!

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