How to Clean Dirty Pots & Pans

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The longer you wait to remove stains, the more difficult it will become.
The longer you wait to remove stains, the more difficult it will become. (Image: Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Pots and pans will inevitably suffer cooked-on food stains or scorch marks. While soap and water may seem like the cure-all for dirty pots and pans, it may not be the best solution with some materials. The way that you clean soiled cookware will depend on the material from which it is made -- such as stainless steel or cast iron. Once you determine the best way to proceed, you can be on you way to restoring your dirty pots and pans to their original appearance.

Things You'll Need

  • Rubber spatula
  • Sink
  • Stopper
  • Hot water
  • 1/2 tsp. liquid dish soap
  • Dish washing gloves
  • Sponge or dish scrubbing brush
  • Towel
  • 1 cup baking soda
  • 1 cup sodium borate
  • Container with holes in the lid

Cast Iron, Copper and Non-stick Cookware Cleaning

Scrape all the residue from the pot or pan with a rubber spatula into the wastebasket.

Put a stopper into the drain of a clean sink basin and fill it halfway full of hot water. Add half of liquid dish soap to the water.

Put on a pair of dishwashing gloves and put the cookware into the soapy water. Allow the cookware to soak for one or two minutes.

Scrub the cookware with a sponge or dish scrubbing brush in a circular motion until clean. Rinse with water and dry with a towel before storing.

All -purpose Cleaner for Pots and Pans

Mix 1 cup of baking soda with 1 cup of sodium borate and place the mixture in a container that has holes in the lid.

Wet the pot or pan with water and sprinkle the cleaning mixture inside. Scrub the inside of the pot or pan with a sponge or dish-scrubbing brush to clean.

Rinse well with water. Follow up with a dish liquid and water wash.

Tips & Warnings

  • Loosen up burned-on food by filling up the pot or pan with hot, soapy water and soaking for two hours before washing.
  • Burned-on food in cookware that is not aluminum or non-stick can benefit from a two hour soak in 1/2 cup of ammonia and 2 quarts of hot water.
  • Sprinkle salt on the inside of cast iron cookware and wipe clean. You can use this method between washings.
  • Never mix ammonia with anything other than water because a dangerous chemical reaction can occur.

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