General Question

DarlingRhadamanthus's avatar

How do I get a burnt-bottomed saucepan clean?

Asked by DarlingRhadamanthus (11273points) June 8th, 2010

Well…I really did it. I was boiling water to make some medicinal herbal teas in a large saucepan. I put two tea balls in the almost boiling water and I was just going to wait a minute till it got to a rolling boil and then turn the hob off to steep the tea.

I got called away from the kitchen and then…totally forgot the tea. It boiled down to nothing, leaving a black burnt-on bottom in the saucepan.

Aside from using a Brillo pad…is there anything else that you’ve used that is more effective? I am looking for a “helpful hint from Heloise” even if that’s not your name. :)

Thanks in advance.

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31 Answers

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

One part steel wool scouring pad – forget the nylon ones, they don’t work – nine parts elbow grease.

prescottman2008's avatar

fill it half-way with water and put it back on the stove on high heat. As it boils run a plastic or wooden spatula back and forth across the bottom. You may have to repeat this procedure several times. It’s always worked for me and it won’t ruin a non-stick pan either.

ragingloli's avatar

I second the steel wool. Soak it in water first to make it easier.

El_Cadejo's avatar

I dont know how well it will work for your case, but its worth a shot, whenever I get stuff caked onto my pans, I like to fill them with water and a little bit of dish soap and then let it simmer for as long as I’m feeling patient on that particular day. Then I will empty it out and scrub the hell out of it with some steel wool.

if its a teflon pan though, forget the steel wool as you will just ruin the pan.

Facade's avatar

I put baking soda and hot water in the sauce pan when I did the same thing. Let it sit, and the burnt pieces come right off later.

Buttonstc's avatar

Use Oven Cleaner. It contains Lye and is specifically designed to get baked on stuff loosened.

Just wear gloves and the most effective method is to thoroughly coat it and then seal it in a heavy duty trash bag overnight or longer.

Then, still with latex gloves on, scrub as usual. That should do the trick. If not, repeat and let it marinate longer, basically what you would do if it were your oven ( just on a smaller scale).

dpworkin's avatar

I like a product called “Bar Keeper’s Friend” for stainless steel. You don’t really mention what material your pot is made of.

Seek's avatar

Diet Coke.

Fill the pan with diet coke, and let it sit for a couple of hours. The stuff should wipe right out, and it won’t mess up your nonstick coating. I’m sure regular coke would do it as well.

Mr_Grimm's avatar

Ok… heres what you do… Get some baking powder, get a scouring pad.. Ok you got these things?
Ok now… put some warm water on the surface your cleaning.
then get the baking soda, and sprinkle some on the burnt crap.
now with some elbow grease… rub the scouring pad all over the bottom till you see results..
now rinse.. Badabinng Badaboom.. you got yourself a sexy pan..

partyparty's avatar

Salt and/or vinegar works really well.

gailcalled's avatar

Here are some answers when I did the same thing several years ago. If the pot is stainless steel, you make well have permanent discoloration, but you can still use the pot.

bolwerk's avatar

Oxygen cleaners do the trick really well. I use B-Brite for cleaning beer-making equipment, but I also found it works wonders on stains on pots and pans. A soak of several hours to overnight easily does the trick. There are usually store brands that work too; whatever that crap Billy Mays was peddling (Oxyclean?) works too I think.

Don’t keep it in longer though, because it does encourage rust.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

If none of the above works, an auto body shop can sand blast the pot for you.

jazmina88's avatar

Bakin soda works

CMaz's avatar

Is the pan worth all this effort to keep?

Nullo's avatar

Soak it in Coke.

SamIAm's avatar

i once heard something about a dyer sheet and warm or hot water… let it soak.

mrentropy's avatar

Barkeeper’s Friend.

anartist's avatar

all of the above suggestions work.
some better for aluminum, some for stainless, some for iron, some for enameled iron.

DarlingRhadamanthus's avatar

Holy Smokes, Flutherites! Twenty answers!!!!!!! LOL!!!!! How fab is that??? Well when I first checked, steel wool and elbow grease seemed simple enough. So, I figured I would give that a shot and see what would happen.

It worked! Because it wasn’t food, just burnt tea…it came off with some heavy scrubbing. However, now, I know more ways than I ever, ever thought possible to clean a burnt pan. This will help all the people on the internet who have this problem——I mean, Diet Coke?? A dryer sheet?? Brasso?? Oven Cleaner (that’s so simple and obvious and I never thought about that!) I actually have BarKeeper’s Friend! Salt? Baking soda?

Amazing answers…..and here’s a lot of LURVE coming to all of you! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!

YARNLADY's avatar

I love the sandblasting idea, although salt would probably work as well. Personally, I would use a toothbrush and toothpaste.

filmfann's avatar

I can’t believe no one has mentioned boiling vinegar.
You can lurve me after.

lifeflame's avatar

i second the vinegar. it’s worked for me in the past—stronger than baking soda.

janedelila's avatar

I ALWAYS use the dryer sheet method. Boil the water, throw one in and wait overnight. My stainless and my nonstick wipe right out after that.

Nullo's avatar

@filmfann Boiling vinegar? I’ve tried cold vinegar, but it never occurred to me to boil it.

gailcalled's avatar

Better to simmer vinegar with baking soda and diluted with water. Boiling vinegar may squirt you in the eye.

snowberry's avatar

Nobody has mentioned automatic dishwasher detergent. Simmer the pan with a couple tablespoons of detergent and water above the burn line for an hour or more. Then pour out the water, and take a damp SOS pad to the pan while it’s still hot. If that fails, make a thick paste with baking soda and water. Rub the entire area with your fingertip. You will notice the paste begin to discolor which is your burned crud coming off.

I have done this many times. It’s a great way to detail the burner bowls on a stove, as well as cleaning anything with burned on greasy crud. If you can get it in a pot of water with automatic dishwasher detergent and put it on the stove, you’re gold.

Just don’t try it on teflon.

snowberry's avatar

Yes. So have I, and I threw out the teflon waffle maker after wards because it caused the teflon to peel. Use it this way, and you will take your chances.

SmartAZ's avatar

I have that problem regularly with the pans of my electric stove. I never had that problem before, and I don’t know why I have it with this one. I put the pans in a plastic bag with clear ammonia and seal it. After 24 hours I rinse all that burned crud down the drain.

I did that with a cookie pan and the paint came off, so you have to be careful about what kind of pan. Never never let chlorine bleach touch any stainless steel.

BTW if food spills in the oven, open the door, bury it with salt, and keep on baking. When it cools you can just sweep it out. That will save you a bundle if you don’t have to run a self-clean cycle.

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