8 Tricks for Cleaning Pots and Pans

Kira-Yan/iStock via Getty Images
Kira-Yan/iStock via Getty Images / Kira-Yan/iStock via Getty Images

By Bruce and Jeanne Lubin, Quick and Dirty Tips

Having trouble cleaning your pots and pans? Here are eight scrubbing tricks using everything from club soda to Windex to remove stains and gunk from your kitchenware.

1. Club soda cookware cleaner.

Here’s a dishwashing trick that will save you a lot of scrubbing time. After you’ve finished cooking, add some club soda to empty pots and pans (just enough to cover their bottoms). By the time you’re done eating, the bubbles in the soda will have loosened the grime, making your cleaning job much easier.

2. Getting gunk off glass dishes.

To remove baked-on stains from a glass casserole dish, fill it with warm water and add two tablets of Alka-Seltzer or denture cleaner. Leave for an hour and the stains will be gone.

3. Removing stains from aluminum pots.

To remove stains from aluminum pots, fill the pot halfway with water and add a quarter cup of vinegar or lemon juice. Bring to a boil, and simmer for several minutes before washing as usual. For particularly stubborn stains, try cream of tartar. Sprinkle a few teaspoons of cream of tartar on the stain, and add a cup or two of water. Bring the mixture to a boil for a few minutes, then wash as usual.

4. Cast-iron cure.

The best way to clean cast-iron pans is to cover any stain with a paste of cream of tartar and white vinegar. Apply liberally, let it sit, then scrub with a damp, soft cloth.

5. How to get burned food off pots and pans.

Feeling hopeless about the seemingly permanent baked-on gunk on your pots and pans? Don’t trash them yet: Hydrogen peroxide will come to the rescue! Mix peroxide with baking soda until the mixture forms a paste. Coat your dirty pan with it, making sure you rub the mucky areas particularly well, and let stand for at least an hour so the grime-fighting powers can work their magic. Soak in warm water and wipe down with a scrub sponge, and the nasty crud will miraculously wash off.

6. Freeze stuck-on food.

If the bottom of your pot or pan is a burnt-on mess, another thing you can try is popping it in the freezer for an hour or two. The stuck food will freeze and be easier to remove.

7. Cut grease with ammonia.

Ammonia helps cut grease better than practically any other ingredient. To clean a really greasy pan, add a few drops of an ammonia-based cleaner like Windex to the dishwashing liquid.

8. Rust remover.

To treat rust on metal baking dishes and cookware, sprinkle powdered laundry detergent on the spot, then scour with the cut side of half a raw potato. Who knew?

A version of this article was originally published on Quick and Dirty Tips as "8 Tricks for Cleaning Pots and Pans." Read more from Quick and Dirty Tips.

About the Authors

Bruce Lubin and Jeanne Bossolina-Lubin are the proud parents of three boys and more than a dozen books. After saving thousands per year using everyday tips and simple lifehacks, they started their own business in the hopes of sharing their knowledge with others. They have been known to go into their friends' refrigerators to turn their eggs upside down so that they last longer.