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How To Clean Pans With Burnt Bottoms [Do This!]

Cooking can be fun and therapeutic, but things can get less exciting when it’s time to get the pesky blackened marks of crusty food off the bottom of your pan. Please don’t fret, as we have researched a few easy steps to help get your cookware back in shape.

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You can clean a pan with a burnt bottom by following these steps:  

  • Fill the pan with equal parts water and white vinegar, then turn the heat up. 
  • Once boiling, lower the heat and add two tablespoons of baking soda to the mixture.
  • Allow the mixture to simmer for 15 minutes, and let it sit before pouring out the liquid. 
  • Scrub your pan using a scouring pad or sponge to remove any remaining stains. 

It sounds a lot simpler than it seems. Keep reading as we discuss how you can prevent your pan from becoming a cleaning nightmare and other methods and tips that may help. 

Close Up Shot of a Woman Washing a Frying Pan with a Cleaning Liquid Under Tap Water. Using Dishwasher in a Modern Kitchen. Natural Clean Diet and Healthy Way of Life Concept.How To Clean Pans With Burnt Bottoms [Do This!]

Cleaning Burt Pans

Empty burnt pot with black bottom

Start with Water and Vinegar

To attain desirable results, fill the pan with enough water and white vinegar to cover the charred area. While plenty of cleaning products are available on the market, vinegar has proven to be an environmentally friendly option as its acidity levels give it the ability to break down the most stubborn of stains.

Add Baking Soda

directly above of baking soda on the wooden background

Adding two teaspoons of baking soda to the mixture causes a chemical reaction to take place. Vinegar's acidity breaks down the baking soda, causing the release of carbon dioxide gas. This reaction helps in lifting the burnt stains off of your pan.

Give It Time

All you have to do now is give the mixture a chance to sit. However, make sure to keep the fire low to prevent any fizz from bubbling over. 

A Little Elbow Grease Never Hurt

Here’s a tip If there are any minor stains left in your pan, make a paste by mixing one part of water and three parts of baking soda. Leave the paste to sit for 10 to 15 minutes, and scrub away! This is where you will need to put in a bit of work. Repeat the process until you find yourself satisfied with the results, and wash the pans with warm soapy water.

Don’t Forget The Outside Of Your Pan! 

The outside of your cookware deserves attention too! Spilling food while cooking over high heat is one of the main reasons behind the burns on your pan's exterior. To get rid of these burns, you can apply the same baking soda paste method used in the last step of cleaning the inside bottom of your pan.

Other Pan Cleaning Methods

If the vinegar and baking soda aren’t doing the trick, here are a few other methods you can have a go at! We’ve done the reading to ensure all methods include tools that are not only eco-friendly but are items that you can find readily available in your home.

Lemon Slices And Water

Another natural and chemical-free option. Simply fill the pan with lemon slices and water, then bring it to a boil. Lemon works great as an alternative cleaning agent due to its citric acid content. Much like vinegar, its properties allow it to soften and lift the grime off the bottom of your burnt pan, with the addition of keeping unpleasant smells at bay. 

Lemon slices swimming in boiling sugar water top view

Aluminum Foil

This method works similarly to our initial answer. Begin by making a paste of baking soda and water, followed by a thorough scrubbing using a ball of foil to dislodge the burnt pieces off the bottom of your pan.

The aluminum foil acts as a polish that can help make your pans look shiny again. However, be careful applying this method as the foil's abrasive surface can damage certain pans' special coating. 

Crumpled ball of aluminum foil in hand on white background isolation

Can you ruin a ceramic pan?

Experts say that the longevity of ceramic cookware depends on various factors, such as how they’re stored, cleaned, and used. They can be susceptible to damage when these facets are neglected. For example, to prevent the protective coat of a ceramic pan from getting scratched, it’s advisable to use cooking utensils made of wood or silicone. 

How often should you replace pots and pans?

It is recommended to change out your pots and pans every five years. Except for cookware made from cast iron and stainless steel, which are known to last a lifetime if properly cared for.

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Following the general rule for replacement acts as a precaution. It ensures that you will be getting the most use out of the protective coatings on your non-stick and ceramic cookware while safeguarding you from any toxins that may leak out from prolonged use.

Is it safe to cook on a scratched pan?

Specifically for ceramic and non-stick pans, it is best to refrain from using them any further once you notice any scratches. These scratches indicate that the protective seal that makes this type of cookware so easy to clean and cook on is damaged and peeling.

Your safety can be compromised by the release of dangerous toxins in the coating, be it through inhaling the fumes or the chemicals leaking into your food when using your pan.

What kind of chemicals should you look out for in cookware?

Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) is the coating used in Teflon pans, which is known to cause Polymer fume fever or Teflon flu. Per-and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PAS) is another known coating used in non-stick pans.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), PAS pose health concerns, including cancer, infertility, and cardiovascular risks, as well as stunt fetal growth.

In Conclusion

Because of the vast array of materials used in cookware, such as cast iron. stainless steel, ceramic, silicone, etc., specific cleaning methods for pan burns may not work as well as they do on others. Nevertheless, one can never go wrong with household staples, vinegar, and baking soda. They’re not only safe to use on all kinds of cookware but reliable when your favorite pan is in dire need of a quick fix. 

Looking for some other clean cooking tips? Check out our related posts: 

How To Remove Scratches From Black Glass [Cooktop]

How To Get Smoke Out Of House From Cooking?