Works For Me: Cleaning Pots

Wfmwbanner I recently scorched a big soup pot so badly I almost threw it out.  Even after soaking overnight, the crusty gunk wouldn't budge.  I tossed the question out to my friends on Twitter, and I received several good tips.  Many people said they use spray-on oven cleaner, which wasn't especially helpful, since it assumes there has ever been a single moment in my life in which I have cleaned an oven (I haven't.  My general oven-cleaning philosophy is that you should just gunk it up really well for five or six years and then move).

I pulled together a few of the pot-cleaning tips and tried my own method, filling the pan with about two inches of water and a generous amount of dishwashing liquid mixed in.  Then I brought the soap and water mixture it to a boil on the stove top, and would you believe that with only a few scrubs, the gunk came right off?  I've since tried it several times, with the same results every time.  Works for me!

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74 thoughts on “Works For Me: Cleaning Pots

  1. Blue Castle says:

    Now that’s a tip I can use. I hate to admit how many times I burn stuff on the bottom of my pans.
    Another way to avoid cleaning your oven – get a self-cleaning oven. 🙂 It totally rocks.

  2. Jenni says:

    Fill the pot with warm water and soak with a dryer sheet overnight. Works great! Last week I was out of dryer sheets, so I tried using a small squirt of hair conditioner instead and that worked wonderfully as well! And I only soaked it for a few hours.

  3. Carol @SheLives says:

    Yeah, y’gotta love those Twitter people. They’re good for all kinds of info and amusement.
    And I will try your newly learned method next time I scorch a pot. Which will undoubtedly be the next time I attempt to cook.

  4. Roan says:

    A friend told me to make a thick paste with Bar Keeper’s Friend in the bottom of a scorched pan. Let it sit for 30 minutes or so, then the burnt stuff will come right off with not much effort. Had to do this recently when I burnt rice. Yuk!

  5. Kristin says:

    I actually gave that tip to my mother when i was in Highschool. I can’t remember who told me, or where I saw it, but that’s been our “trick” for years. Such a trick, that I don’t even think of it as being a tip anymore.
    We used to burn the Macaroni, from our stovetop Mac ‘n Cheese every single time. I need a tip to stop burning it in the first place! LOL

  6. se7en says:

    I am so with you on the oven idea… they were not meant for cleaning, just replacing – however we have never afforded a replacement so eventually I began my every number of years scrubbing – not a pretty day in the land of parenting…
    Regarding pots… I tend to turn a pot on and then surf with my laptop while waiting for things to happen – they usually do! Since the pot and laptop are in different rooms. So my special friend is vinegar… pour it over the black burnt part and leave and it usually peels off and takes the smell with it (no evidence of my tardy cooking!).
    And my 7 yr old daughter who is always reading over my shoulder just asked me: Why does that mum always have “Rocks in her Dryer” I said you were very busy… she thinks you should have done something about them by now!

  7. Leanne says:

    Great tip. I always burn rice and I use cola. Just pour enough into the pan to cover the burnt bits and put it over the heat. It works like a charm, it stinks though.

  8. Heather L. says:

    What a great tip! Thanks for sharing!
    Wish I could say the same about never cleaning an oven. I work in the school cafeteria and have scrubbed many a huge convection oven in my day. Blah!

  9. Jean says:

    I don’t even use soap when boiling water in pans/pots to remove burnt gunk on bottom…. it still works every time! Just boil/simmer until it is loose. Sometimes I don’t even need to SCRUB to finish removing gunk- just pour it out.

  10. mandy says:

    that works for me too. Another tip is to save your dryer sheets. Put one of those in the pan w/ some hot water. The chemicals in the dryer sheet will break away all the sticky gunk…even lasagna!!

  11. Kim G says:

    I do nearly the same except I use baking soda. Bring a small amount of water to a boil, sprinkle some in and let it foam away the crud. Works even when your son burns a whole can of corn to the bottom of a pan over an open flame. Not that something that ridiculous would ever occur . . .

  12. Tidymom says:

    Great tip!!!
    I have a GREAT little gadget from Pampered Chef that I can’t live with out, just for that kind of thing- it’s a little scrapper and it get’s anything off of any pot/pan!! I keep it on my kitchen sink I use it so much!!

  13. Aimee says:

    Yep. I do that any time I have a scorched pan or have burnt/dried on junk (particularly “cheese” sauce from Shells & Cheese). Works every time.

  14. Amy says:

    I have used the same method a few times with powdered detergent for the dishwasher, and that works fine, too. You can also use a big pot to boil the things that catch the gunk under your electric or gas burners-I don’t know what the catch things are called-and it gets the burned-on gunk off of those, too.

  15. The Happy Housewife says:

    I have not read all the comments so I hope this isn’t a repeat. An easy way to get baked on crud off dishes is to let them soak overnight with a dryer sheet. I have no idea why this works, but it does!

  16. Fatima says:

    Tomatoes, boiled on the stove in the scorched pan, work very well. The acid in the tomatoes works great to clean stubborn pans and stained-up aluminum pans to a bright shine.

  17. Jennifer says:

    I’ve boiled water to remove gunk, but I like the idea of adding soap if the stuff is really stuck.
    If you preheat your pans before putting anything in them you’ll avoid a lot of “stickyness”. Preheat on medium-high heat. For uncoated pans (stainless steel etc.), the pan is warm enough when a bit of water “dances” on the surface. If the water evaporates, the pan’s not hot enough yet.

  18. pam at beyondjustmom says:

    Love that tip to boil the water to get pots clean. A guy friend showed me that and it does work wonders!
    Also, I made a mistake on my first link– it goes nowhere– and corrected it the second time. Please delete #166 from BeyondJustMom. Thanks, and sorry for the mess up!

  19. Susan says:

    I can’t see the links this week either. I thought I was the only one. I love the tip too. I tried that last week in desperation, but mine was so bad, it still needed scrubbing.

  20. Erica M says:

    lol I was home over the holidays and mom was about to throw out her favorite 20qt pan when my brother came in and told her to boil soapy water. After a few times, it came clean as new!

  21. Jen says:

    I second dryer sheets..thet make great scrubbers. I soak a dryer sheet in a bowl then miceove it. The steam cleans the microwave splatter, easily wipes out!

  22. GiBee says:

    My mom has done this for as long as I can remember… here’s an extra tip: For really, REALLY bad burned on gunk, add a slosh of clorox to the dish washing soap and water and boil away! It really works!

  23. Trish says:

    That sounds like a great idea for cleaning pots. I’ve used water and baking soda and scrubbed and scrubbed, but that did take a while and wasn’t always very easy. I’ll keep this in mind the next time I need to clean a pot, thanks for sharing!

  24. Jane says:

    I have also had terrific luck with a dryer sheet. I put one sheet and leave it soaking overnight. Great for casserole pans that are not stove top safe. I also use this to clean my oven a few wet dryer sheets spread out on the baked in stuff does the trick. Easy peasy with odor! Well, my kitchen then smells like Bounce!

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