When I first started to cook I used to think “What a pity that the kitchen isn’t like my wardrobe, so I can replace anything stained or burnt! Then I would half-heartedly scrubbed a damaged pot without too much of a result. I quickly learned the cost of replacing things adds up fast both in the kitchen and the closet. Just like stained clothes, you can learn how to clean a burnt pan or scorched pot. They can be repaired, and while it’s not the most pleasant activity, your pans will look like new – and save you money in the process.
The pans can be made our of enamel, cast-iron or stainless steel, and most of the steps I’ll show you work with all of them. Just make sure you are being more careful with the enamel, because it can be scratched in the process, as for the cast-iron, we have a full tutorial on how to clean and season them. If you have dirty oven trays or cookies sheets (who doesn’t?), here is how you can restore those.
Coming back the the burnt pots, the first step you should always consider after damage is returning it back on the burner and cleaning it with hot water or vinegar.
1. Deglaze with hot water and vinegar
How you do it? Very simple – just mix 1 part water with 1 part vinegar and add it into the pot. Bring to boil over medium heat, then simmer for a few minutes over low heat. This will break the burn and make it easier to remove with a brush or a scrub. You can replace the vinegar with a small quantity of dish soap with the same results. Use a wood spatula to scrape away the burn and move to the next step.
2. Rinse and scrub
Rinse with warm water and dish soap and use a brush or a sponge to remove any stubborn burnt areas. If there are still brown areas, add some baking soda on the brush and clean gently.
3. The Magic Trick – Use a Dryer-Sheet
A very simple method to clean the burnt area is to add a thin layer of warm water in you pot, then cover the area with a dryer sheet. Press it with your fingers to saturate it with water and leave it for a couple of hours to work its magic, then clean the pot with soap and water and usual.
4. Wipe your cleaned pan and put it back in use!