If you think your burnt cooking pans are beyond saving, don’t throw in the dish towel just yet! With a few common supplies from your kitchen, you may be able to safely and naturally restore your pots and pans with a few simple steps. Here’s how to banish the burn and get your prized cookware gleaming again.


  • Wooden spoon
  • Measuring cup
  • Water
  • White vinegar
  • Trivet (optional)
  • Tablespoon
  • Baking soda
  • Sponge or non-scratch scouring pad

Step 1: Allow any burnt pots or pans to cool off before handling them. Using a wooden spoon, gently scrape off and dispose of whatever large particles of food you can remove.

Step 2: With just the burnt residue remaining in the pans, place the pans on a cool stovetop and fill each with at least two cups of equal parts water and vinegar (enough to submerge all the burnt food). Turn on the stove and bring the water-vinegar mix to a rapid boil for 10 minutes. Turn off the burner and move the pans to a cool surface.

Step 3: With the water-vinegar solution still hot, drop in two tablespoons of baking soda to each pan. The solution will begin to fizz, ideally breaking down any burnt residue in the pans.

Note: While baking soda is safe for use on stainless steel or ceramic products, it and other alkaline-based cleaning agents should never be used on anodized aluminum cookware, as it can damage the pan coating. If you’re working with aluminum pans, skip this step and continue to Step 4.

Step 4: Using a soft sponge or a non-scratch scouring pad, slowly and carefully scrub the stained areas. Steel wool or other metal scouring pads are not recommended as they can scratch or damage stainless steel or enamel cookware. If any residue remains after scrubbing, sprinkle a pinch of baking soda on the spot and vigorously scrub it again for up to a minute to remove the residue. Scrubbing with baking soda will both polish and shine your cookware.

Step 5: Rinse the clean pans under cold water to wash away the loosened food particles, then allow them to dry before storing.

Few people enjoy cleaning their cookware, but armed with this helpful process, you have a safe and effective way to restore your pots and pans.

  • By: Draper and Kramer Mortgage Corp.
  • In: DIY, How To
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