How to clean the outside of pots & pans

Updated February 21, 2017

Burnt-on stains and hard-water deposits build up on the outside of pots and pans. Black marks from burnt food and white scale deposits mar the shine of the cookware. Normal hand-washing or cleaning with a dishwasher normally fails to remove the blemishes from the pots and pans. Cleaning products with enough grit to remove stains without damaging the surface are generally needed. A household condiment also brings shine back to the outside of cookware.

Fill a sink with hot water and 2 tsp liquid dish-washing soap. Add 2 tbsp baking soda to the water and stir with your hand to dissolve it.

Place pots and pans into the water, and scrub with a dishrag. Pour additional baking soda onto stains on the outer section of the pots and pans, and rub with the dishrag.

Rinse the pots and pans in hot water and dry with a dish towel.

Apply 2 to 3 tbsp ketchup to a paper towel, and apply to any hard-water deposits on the outside of the pots and pans. Allow the ketchup to remain on the surface for 20 minutes. The acidic properties in the ketchup dissolve the mineral stains on the pots and pans.

Rinse the ketchup from the pots and pans, and wash in the dishwasher or in the sink with hot water and 2 tbsp liquid dish-washing soap. Rinse with hot water, and dry with a dish towel to prevent water marks.


Remove water drops from pots and pans quickly to avoid mineral deposits.

Things You'll Need

  • Liquid dish-washing soap
  • Baking soda
  • Dishrag
  • Dish towels
  • Ketchup
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About the Author

Constance Barker, located in the hills of southern Ohio, is the owner and writer of several financial, credit report and travel websites. She started writing in 1999 for private clients and began creating website content in 2004. She gained expertise in home improvement after she and her husband built their home themselves.