How To Clean a Burnt Pot

Ian Mutuli
Updated on
Ian Mutuli

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
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If you dedicate a substantial amount of time to cooking, it's likely that you've scorched a pot on more than one occasion. Sometimes, the burn mark appears to be so bad that you mull over the idea of tossing out the pot.

However, if and when you find yourself in this position next time or are in one right now, there are several methods you can try to salvage the pot before giving up altogether. You can easily clean your pots and pans at home to restore them to their best quality.

Most times, all you need are readily available kitchen products such as dish soap, water, white vinegar, baking soda, a scouring pad, lemons, among others. This article will share some of the easiest pot cleaning methods, and we advise you to start with the gentlest, only scouring when everything else fails.

When cleaning your pan or pot, it is vital to apply a method that won't destroy it. For this, consider the material your pot is made of. For instance, you'd damage nonstick cookware if you use strong scouring pads.

1. Using Hot Water

When you burn your cookware, you can try soaking it in hot water to get the burnt food bits off. This method is best for stainless steel pots enamel pans.

To do so, place your pot on the stove on medium heat. Once the pot's base gets hot, add some water and allow it to simmer for a few minutes.

This water should be enough to deglaze it so you can use a wooden spoon or spatula to scrape the foods away. You can add a tablespoon of baking soda or dishwasher soap to make the process faster and dissolve any leftover cooking oils for even better results.

2. Using Baking Soda and White Vinegar

So, your food burns, and you don't want to spend eternity soaking and scrubbing it off? One of the best techniques of cleaning a burnt pan is using baking soda and vinegar, and it works in minutes. Here is what you will need for the operation;

  • A cup of white vinegar
  • Two tablespoons of baking soda
  • A cup of water
  • A gentle scouring pad
  • Your burnt pot

To clean the pot or pan:

  1. Set it on the stove and add a cup of water, enough to cover the burnt area.
  2. Add the vinegar, and turn on the heat until the water boils.
  3. Once it boils, please turn off the heat, add the baking soda, and allow it time to frizz. This mixture of ingredients should be enough to soften the food bits for gentle scrubbing.

If you're still left with burnt patches, you can make a paste with baking powder and water to help scrub the foods off. This method is ideal for stainless steel and cast iron pans and pots.

3. Overnight Soak

This method is ideal for nonstick cookware, primarily if there is only a thin layer of burnt foods at the bottom of the pot or pan.

To soak, add hot water to cover the bottom of the pan. For better results, you can even use with a fair amount of soap. Leave the nonstick pot overnight, and you will be able to scrape the food bits off in the morning.

4. Using Oil for Cast Iron Pots

When you've scorched your cast iron pan, you can use oil to scrub away the food debris.

Simply place the burnt pot on the stove and add a good amount of cooking oil to cover the burnt layer. Turn the stove on low to medium heat and let it sit until the oil starts forming bubbles. When the oil dries all the debris, you can then use a wooden spoon to scrape it off. Once the pot cools, you can then use a paper towel to wipe the oil and food debris off before washing gently with soap and water.

5. Using a soaked dryer sheet

Another handy solution when you want to clean your nonstick pans or aluminum pots. Dryer sheets can do the trick on your lightly burnt pots with a little soaking.

To use this method, fill your pot with water and submerge a dryer sheet to the pot's base. Leave the water and dryer sheet for several hours when moisture will soften your food particles for easy cleaning.

6. Using a dishwasher tablet

There are times when your burnt pan obeys not laws. Using dishwasher tablets can be one of the easiest ways to clean a burnt pan.

Because they are powdery, they contain the sufficient scouring power you need to clean your cookware.

To use, first place the pan on a heat source and wet it will a little bit of water. Remove from the heat and carefully scrub away the debris using your favorite tablets. A significant benefit of these tablets is that they are efficient in removing any burnt oils on your pots, so all you need to do when the debris is off is to rinse and dry your cookware.

7. Using coarse salt

If you need an easy way to remove scorch marks on your pot or pan, you can also try using salt and lemons or dish detergent.

For best results, get your burnt pot and add a fair amount of coarse Kosher salt. Cut a piece of lemon and use it to massage the salt all around your pot. Once the burns are clean, you can then clean the pot with soap and water.

8. Using a ball of aluminum foil

Finally, when you've tried all these methods, and none seems to help, it could be time to overlook elbow grease and get down to work with your aluminum foil. Here are the supplies you need;

  • A ball of aluminum foil
  • Water
  • Baking soda or dish soap
  • Gloves
  • A really burnt pot

Before you begin, understand that this technique requires time ( even up to 10 minutes) and energy, and you will end up with a good amount of elbow grease. Also, remember to wear gloves to protect your nails and skin.

Soak your burnt pan or pot for a few minutes until the debris starts to soften. Then, add a fair amount of baking soda to form a thick paste. Using a ball of aluminum foil, start scrubbing the pot all around until the stains are gone. Please note, you may need to keep rinsing your pot and repeating the process so you can clearly see which parts need more scrubbing.

Ian Mutuli

About the author

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
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