While it’s common sense to most people that the inside of our pots and pans are washed regularly after use, it seems to skip most people’s minds that the exterior of pots and pans also need to be scrubbed to rid it of greasy deposits. In fact, this is often a more arduous task than cleaning the interior, given the absence of a non-stick coating. Well, it’s fortunate that most pans can easily be cleaned using cheap products that should be readily available. Read on for a list of curated tips on keeping your pans sparkly clean.
To effectively clean the outside of a pan, first you have to identify the material of your pan. Depending on the type of pan that you have, a special cleaning agent should be used, commercial cleaners tend to be very specific and effective. For all cases, you want to apply the agent a leave it for 8 hours to take effect, after this period, just rinse it with water.
How to Clean Different Types of Pans
You should keep in mind that cleaning pans of different materials will require you to use different approaches.
Stainless Steel: If your pan is a stainless steel one, then you’re in luck as this is one of the easiest to maintain materials around. All you’ll need to do is to gently scrub off the food scraps with 1 or 2 tablespoons of baking soda, before rinsing your pan and drying it thoroughly before putting it away.
Cast Iron: Cast iron pans will need more regular maintenance to uphold their appearance. To prevent rusting of your expensive cast iron pans, avoid washing the pans with water. Instead, salt and potatoes should be used to prevent rust from developing. Some of these pans can surpass the $40 dollar price-tag, so you definitely don’t want to ruin it.
Aluminum: For aluminum pans, your best bet is to clean them using a solution of water with 2 lemons and 2 tablespoons of salt. Be sure to avoid bleach and ammonia at all costs as those strong agents will cause surface discoloration by reacting with the aluminum. To prevent unsightly scratches, these types of pans should also only be hand-washed, and never thrown into the dishwasher. But some models can be put in the dishwasher if the temperature is below 50°C.
The Baking Soda-Vinegar Combo
Stubborn stains from burnt grease and scorch marks can sometimes form on the exterior bottom of the pan. Should this occur, you will need to use a stronger cleaning agent to get rid of the stains. To do so, consider using a combination of baking soda and vinegar. First, fill a large pot with equal parts vinegar and warm water, ensuring that your pan can fit inside the pot. After that, heat the pan up and let this mixture boil.
Once it comes to a boil, take the pot off the stove and add 2 tablespoons of baking soda. A short fizzy reaction will be seen, and stains from the pan’s surface will disappear. For the most stubborn of stains, however, some scrubbing will still be needed for them to come off.
If you’re unable to find a large enough container, then another way is to sprinkle some baking soda over the bottom of the pan before adding 5 to 10 drops of white vinegar. Once you are done, use a brush and sponge to brush the surface, before rinsing it well and drying it with a paper towel.
Applying Oven Cleaner
While using an oven cleaner might sound like an easy way to get rid of tough stains, you should try to avoid this unless it’s the last resort. Before applying oven cleaner to the exterior of your pans, be sure to check on your pan’s warranty, as some manufacturers have been known to void the warranty once harsh chemicals have been used in the cleaning of the pan. Most oven cleaners contain sodium hydroxide which is considered a harsh chemical.
If you do choose to proceed with using an oven cleaner, then it is a good idea to use rubber gloves and a mask to protect yourself while doing so, a touchless faucet could be useful as well. Safety comes first!
Using Commercial Cleaners for Your Pans
There are various types of pan cleaners available on the market for you to choose from, which can aid in your quest to have a stain-free pan. We recommend finding those that come in a spray bottle, as they are easier to use — all you have to do is spray, wipe in the direction of the grain, and buff to restore the appearance of your pan. For most commercial solutions, simply apply the solution on and wipe it off. Some solutions on the market don’t just remove dust, dirt, and food scraps, but go a step further, specially the ones that contain oxalic acid, this is an excellent cleaner agent. Find those that provide a protective finish that is resistant to grease, watermarks, and fingerprints. After all, the best way to remove stains is to stop them before they can even be formed!
Let it sit
No matter if you use a commercial cleaner or if you use a homemade solution to help your pans regain their former glory in terms of appearance, it is wise to let it sit for at least 8 hours. This can help the solution or cleaner has time to work their magic. Over time, you’ll see that the stain will be much easier to remove once you’ve let it soak up the cleaner or mixture of choice.
Tips to Maintain the Cleanliness of Your Cookware
As the adage goes, prevention is better than cure. It is much easier to ensure that your cookware is clean, rather than continually trying to get dirt and food scraps off it. Here are some tips you can consider following, to ensure your cookware is as clean as possible.
1.-Keep your stovetop clean. A clean stove means that there won’t be residue to transfer to the bottom of your pan. It’s also a good idea to wipe down your stovetop after each use, rather than allowing dirt and grime to accumulate.
2.-Clean soon after cooking. Though doing the dishes after cooking seems like a chore, it’s much easier to remove new stains than old crusty ones. Clean your pan once it is sufficiently cooled to prevent food stains from becoming hard to remove.
3.-Store in a clean, dry place. By storing your pans somewhere clean, they will not easily accumulate dust and dirt on the surface. By having them away from your stovetop, you also prevent splatters from grease and food while preparing your meals.
There is a correct method for every material
And there you have it, a curated list of tried and tested tips that will help you ensure the cleanliness of your pans. Now that you know how to do so, be sure to follow these tips so your pan stays in tip-top condition for years to come!
A retired construction contractor with 14 years of experience specializing in residential interiors. Over the years, he has managed over 200 residential projects, earning him several industry awards.
His comprehensive knowledge extends beyond construction to encompass home maintenance, modern and traditional flooring materials, eco-friendly cleaning methods, and cutting-edge home appliances.
He frequently serves as a guest expert on local television shows and podcasts, discussing various aspects of home improvement and maintenance.
Revered as an expert in his field, he focuses on writing about DIY home improvements where he imparts invaluable advice based on his extensive experience. His DIY tips and tricks are regularly featured in home and garden magazines. He can be reached at (514) 416-9476 and [email protected]