Kitchen disasters happen to us all. Ok, they happen a little more frequently to some of us than others, but even the most attentive of cooks will occasionally have to tackle the cleaning of a burnt and blacked saucepan.
Many people recommend baking soda as the go-to solution for cleaning burnt pans. It can be a decent option and might be better than some but (in our opinion) there’s a much easier method.Next time you’re faced with that unrecognisable black blob of – something – which seems to have become welded to the bottom of a pan don’t despair. You don’t need to throw away the pan. Nor do you face an endless scrubbing session with a past-its-best scouring pad. With the right tools for the job you’re halfway there.
Stainless steel and non-stick pans require quite different treatment so make sure you check which sort you have before you start cleaning them. Read on to discover out top tips for cleaning both regular and non-stick pans (some work for irons too).
How To Clean Your Burnt Pans
This method presumes that you are cleaning a stainless steel pan, or an iron which has started to drag over your clothes. It is not suitable for non-stick surfaces which can easily become scratched (see more on non-stick pans in the next section).
The ecozone non-toxic cleaning block is really easy to use. Use it to remove burnt food from the inside of pans and the general burn marks which build up over time on the outside and bottom of them. It also works on irons, ceramics and glass, and can help the removal of rust.
How to use (step by step):
- Add a little water to the pad.
- Rub it over the burnt surface.
- Add elbow grease for tough stains.
That’s it. It really is that easy! Just add water and rub the burned residue for quick and easy stain removal. It will start to remove even the most stubborn stains almost immediately, though some might need a little more work.
The Ecozone pad is not perfect – you might need to work at it to remove really stubborn marks – but it’s a lot better than many other cleaning products we’ve tried. Many effective cleaning products are also highly toxic and damaging to the environment. Exozone’s pan cleaner is cruelty free, eco-friendly and made by a British company so you can use it with a clean conscience.
The cost of the Ecozone pad might seem off-putting but it works out well on a per-use basis. It will wear down over time but it lasts much longer than the usual throwaway alternatives so the extra upfront cost is worth paying.
How To Clean Non Stick Pans Without Damage
Non-stick pans are much trickier to deal with than stainless steel because they won’t survive rough scrubbing. The Ecozone pad above will work on the base and sides of the pan but if you try to rub the inside with anything more abrasive than a sponge then you risk taking off the non-stick surface altogether. This is where the tried and tested bicarbonate of soda comes into its own.
We recommend buying pharmaceutical grade baking soda because it’s the least abrasive possible. It cleans without scratching and is the best option for avoiding damage to your non-stick surfaces. This 1kg pack is great value and a lot cheaper than stocking up on baking soda from the supermarket.
This product is 100% pure Sodium Bicarbonate. If you only need a little for occasional pan cleaning then you might be wondering whether a 1kg bag is too much. It might be, if its use was restricted to burnt pans, but bicarbonate of soda is a multi-purpose cooking and cleaning product which has many, many other uses around the home. These include cleaning, cooking, deodorizing and skin care, among others. It can even be used for making bath bombs!
Cleaning Non Stick Pans with Bicarbonate of Soda
Before you get stuck in you will also need some non-abrasive cleaning cloths. Don’t be tempted to use a scouring pad of any kind; if you damage the surface of your pan you will need to throw it away.
We recommend these microfiber cleaning cloths. They are soft and non-abrasive, can be washed and re-used, and come in a handy pack of six different colours so you can assign different cloths to different jobs and never get them mixed up.
How to Clean a Non-Stick Pan (step by step)
- Mix a little water with bicarbonate of soda to make a paste.
- Spread the paste over the stain or burnt residue.
- Scrub the surface gently. The paste should act as an abrasive and start to remove the stain.
- Once the surface is completely clear, rinse the surface with ordinary washing up liquid and water and dry as normal.
Non-stick pans are useful kitchen items but they can become more difficult to use if they get scratched. Once the non-stick surface is damaged they may need to be replaced completely. Prevent scratches by taking care of them; use or plastic wooden utensils that will not scratch and try not to cook on a very high heat. Store them alone; do not put other items inside them.
If you are unable to clean the pan as soon as it burns then try to leave it soaking in water until you can get to it. This will prevent the stain from drying out and becoming welded to the surface! For really stubborn stains you can try a mixture of white vinegar and bicarbonate of soda; add the bicarb to a pan part filled with vinegar and watch it fizz away the stains.