How to Remove Stubborn Cooking Pan Stains

Written by susan brockett
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If a watched pot never boils, then an unwatched pot must boil over and create a mess. If your pots and pans have stubborn stains, don't throw them away. Try these simple steps to get them clean.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Baking soda
  • Vinegar
  • Chlorine bleach
  • Dish soap
  • Nylon scrubbers

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    Cleaning stained cookware

  1. 1

    Remove all the food. Try to remove all the bits that are stuck on.

  2. 2

    Fill the sink with warm soapy water. Soak the pan for about 15 minutes. If the stain is near the top of the pan, invert it into the water. If the stain is on the bottom, allow the soapy water to cover the stains. This loosens most of the bits so you can scrub them away with the nylon scrubbers.

  3. 3

    Make a paste from baking soda, water and some dish soap. Use it to scrub the stains. Rinse well. It should be clean.

    This formula works for most metal and enamelled cast iron pots and pans. For seasoned cast iron pans and skillets, use salt instead.

  4. 4

    For other cooking stains, consider the type of material the pot is made of.

    Remove stains on aluminium pans by filling them with a vinegar and water solution and leaving to soak overnight. A solution of bleach and water removes stains on enamelled cookware.

    In any case, make sure that you rinse the pan well before cooking in it.

  5. 5

    Add heat to these formulas for really stubborn stains. Fill the pot with water and vinegar or bleach, and then bring to a boil. Let cool and rinse well.

    For aluminium pots, cooking a high-acid food like rhubarb will remove stains.

Tips and warnings

  • Allow the pot to cool. Plunging a hot pot or pan into water can warp the pan.
  • Avoid abrasive cleansers as they will scratch the finish.

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