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How to Clean a Burnt Pot: 6 Ways

How to Clean a Burnt Pot: 6 Ways

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While cleaning a pot is a pretty straightforward thing to do, things might get trickier if you really want to scrape off the burnt bits of food or sticky food like caramel that you used to make candy. 5-Minute Crafts will show you how to clean all the parts of your pots.

A. Basic daily cleaning

This is the most common technique when cleaning a pan. Simply use a non-scratch scrubber sponge and hot soapy water to clean your stainless steel pots and skillets.

  • Tip: If you’re worried about scratching the pan you can do a test by just scrubbing a small part of the pan.

B. Cleaning the outside

Small spills that run down the outside of a pot can burn and oil can polymerize. These things blacken the exterior of your pot. To get it back to normal, you’ll have to scour the exterior with a scouring powder containing, among other ingredients, oxalic acid.

What you’ll need:

  • Scouring powder
  • A sponge

Instructions:

  1. Get the pot wet.
  2. Sprinkle a small amount of scouring powder on the dampened surface.
  3. Rub gently with a sponge. You can add more product, if necessary.
  4. Rinse thoroughly within one minute of application, then wipe the pot dry.
  • Tip: If all else fails you can spray an oven cleaner on the exterior of the pot and let it sit for a while for it to work. Then wash the pot and scrub the carbonized bits off. DO NOT let the oven cleaner anywhere near kids and avoid all contact with your skin, as it can burn you. Always make sure to wear gloves when using products like this.

C. If your pot is burnt inside

1. The dishwasher detergent method

This is a pretty simple and cheap method that doesn’t involve any special material besides powdered dishwasher detergent.

What you’ll need:

  • Dishwasher detergent (powder, not liquid)
  • A sponge
  • Your regular dish soap

Instructions:

  1. Fill the pot with water.
  2. Add a generous sprinkling of powdered dishwasher detergent.
  3. Let the pot sit overnight with the water and detergent. The next day you should see the burnt parts lifted away.
  4. Wash as you normally would with a scrubber sponge (see method A) to remove the remaining burnt bits with no effort, if needed. Otherwise, just rinse off.
  • Tip: Alternatively, if your pot’s bottom is really burnt, you can try scrubbing it with a dishwasher tablet (again, powdered tablet). Just cover the bottom with a bit of water and warm it up on low heat. Then remove from the stove, scrape the tablet across the burnt on bits, and rinse. Then wash normally (see method A).

2. The boiled lemons method

This is the easiest of all the methods listed in this section, however, some burnt bits might still remain in the pot after finishing it. The good news is that, in most cases, these are pretty easy to remove.

What you’ll need:

  • 2 or 3 lemons
  • Your regular dish soap
  • A sponge

Instructions:

  1. Quarter 2 or 3 lemons and place in the pan.
  2. Fill with a few inches of water and bring to a boil.
  3. Let boil for 5-10 minutes or until you start to see food particles float to the surface.
  4. Discard water and lemons, rinse, and wash normally (see Method A) to remove any leftover burnt bits.

3. The aluminum foil method

While this method has proven to be one of the most simple and effective ones, it does have a downside: it cannot be used on any non-stick skillet or pan.

What you’ll need:

  • 2-3 tbsp of baking soda
  • Aluminum foil
  • A sponge
  • Your regular dish soap

Instructions:

  1. Cover the burnt area with the baking soda and add just enough water to make a thick paste that coats the area you’ll be treating.
  2. Crumple up the aluminum foil to make a sort of metal foam and use it to scrub the burnt pan until all of the food bits and stained areas are clean.
  3. Rinse the pan with warm soapy water (see method A).
  4. Repeat the process, as needed. Baking soda gets dirty very quickly and it’s hard to see the areas that still need to be treated.

D. If it has candy (or any other sticky stuff)

After making a batch of caramel sauce, caramel apples, fudge, toffee, peanut brittle, butterscotch, or any other stovetop candy, you’re in for a messy pot. While many people tend to try to scrub the leftovers out of the pot, that’s not advisable. Instead, try boiling the candy out.

What you’ll need:

  • A spoon or spatula
  • Water
  • A sponge
  • Your regular dish soap

Instructions:

  1. Fill the pot with water and bring it to a boil. The simmering water will remove the hardened candy from around the sides and the bottom of the pot.
  2. Scrape off any leftovers around the edges with the back of a spoon or spatula. Candy will be half-melted, soft, and pliable enough to do that.
  3. Drain the hot water and wash normally, if needed (see method A).
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