Home Remedies for Pots and Pans

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pots and pans home remedies

Whether you’re boiling water or preparing your next dinner masterpiece, pots and pans are found in every kitchen. From the Teflon frying pan to the aluminum stock pots cradling your soup, you need to exhibit proper care when maintaining your cookware. To make life easier, there is a variety of home remedies for pots and pan that you may want to consider.

Different Types of Cookware

One of the first things you must address when cleaning and maintaining your cookware is the type of material used to make your pots and pans. With varying styles, benefits and disadvantages – you will find cookware comprised of commonly used materials, such as copper, stainless steel, and cast iron, such as:

1. Copper cookware is one of the best conductors of heat – especially for meals prepared on top of the range where food requires precisely controlled temperatures. When copper pans are lined with stainless steel – they last longer. The downside to copper pots and pans is that they are difficult to maintain, more expensive to buy, and are susceptible to spotting. They require frequent polishing.

2. Aluminum cookware is good at conducting heat. Because it is made with a soft metal, it reacts with food and is easily scratched. This is why you should choose aluminum pots and pans that have been lined and have a harder exterior finish.

3. Stainless steel pots and pans are some of the easiest kinds of cookware to maintain. They are light and durable with the advantages of not tarnishing or corroding. A downside to stainless steel cookware is that it is a poor conductor of heat and does not distribute heat as evenly. When buying this type of cookware, select quality pieces with heavy bottom or with a copper core.

4. Cast iron cookware retains and evenly disburses heat, which comes in handy when you want to brown, fry or bake foods. However, cast iron pots and pans are heavy. An important part to owning cast iron cookware is to ‘season’ the pan to avoid compromising the flavor of your foods.

5. Non-stick cookware has an applied surface that is easy to clean and maintain – especially when you purchase high-quality options. Also, you can use less fat when cooking with this type of pot or pan because the food will not stick to the surface. Choose the brands with a reputation for lasting long because a disadvantage to this kind of cookware is the eventual wearing down of the non-stick surface.

Common Cookware Issues

Food sticking to certain types of skillets can leave behind small particles that remain even after you have thoroughly washed your pans. When you use the skillet again, the food particle creates a contact point that encourages stickiness. Eventually, the pan starts to burn even if you have coated and heated the pan before adding food. This is common in stainless steel skillets.

The temperature that is set when you use pots and pans can cause your cookware to burn or promote food sticking to the surface. Once you burn certain pieces of cookware, there is no getting around the scorch marks. Using abrasive cleaning methods, such as steel wool, can harm most pots and pans – leaving behind scratches and peeling away protective surfaces, such as Teflon.

Pot & Pan Home Remedies

From caked-on food to burnt spots, your pots and pans can really take a licking. Luckily, there are many ways to address common problems. For starters, the following home remedies for pots and pans can really make the difference:

a) Shortening:

When cooking with cast iron pots and pans, you need to season before using. This process involves lightly rubbing a layer of shortening into the surface of raw cast iron cookware. Next, you bake the pan in a moderately heated oven (around 300 degrees) for 60 to 75 minutes. This process gives the pan a non-stick surface that will last its lifetime [1].

b) Aluminum Foil:

When you don’t have a scrub pad, a crumpled handful of aluminum foil can be used as a substitute for scrubbing pots.

c) Warm Soapy Water Soak:

To prevent contact areas from forming on a steel skillet, soak the pan in a solution made out of warm water and dish soap for several hours before scrubbing with a sponge that has texture.

d) Plastic Scraper:

You can use a plastic scraper to remove food particles from your cookware when tough stains and buildup develop.

e) Cooking Oil Temperature:

When cooking with oil, the temperature of the skillet and the food will play a role in whether or not the food sticks. Before adding any food to a steel skillet – treat the pan with oil, and then heat it. If the oil is not warm enough, the food will sit on the bottom of the pan without cooking for several minutes. A bond between the food and the pan is then created. Do not add food to a skillet until you hear or see oil that sizzles or pops. You can use cooking spray (like Pam) as a substitute for using oil.

f) Cream of Tartar:

When aluminum pots and pots have become discolored, brighten them up by cleaning with a mixture of two tablespoons cream of tartar that has been dissolved in one quart of water. Boil the mixture inside of the pot and continue boiling for 10 minutes.

g) Denture Tablets:

Remove stains from enamel cookware by dropping a denture tablet in a pot or pan filled with warm water. For larger cookware, use two tablets. Wait a moment and after the fizzing has ceased – the cookware will be clean.

h) Fabric Softener:

Instead of scrubbing burned-on food with an abrasive sponge, add liquid fabric softener to a pot filled with water. Soak for an hour or until you can easily wipe the residue away.

i) Freezer:

If you place a pot that has caked-on, burnt food – put it in the freezer for a couple of hours. When the food becomes frozen, it is easier to remove.

j) Thaw out Your Food:

If you place extremely cold food in a steel skillet, the item is more likely to stick to the surface. It is suggested to thaw all foods before putting in the pan. One way is to place the food in the microwave for a moment.

k) Baking Soda:

Clean the bottom of a scorched pot or pan by boiling a few cups of water (enough to get the pan ¼ filled) and adding five tablespoons of baking soda. Turn off the heat, and let the soda settled in for a few hours. Letting it sit overnight is better. When it’s time, the gunk should slip right off after following this remedy.

l) Club Soda:

When your heavy cast iron pots and pans collect a sticky mess on the surface, use the bubbly action of club soda to eliminate the problem in the first place. Simply add to the pan while it is still warm.

m) Ketchup [2]:

Treat the tarnish of older copper pots and pans with ketchup, which is cheaper than any commercial tarnish cleaner you can get at the store. Coat the copper surface with a thin layer of the red condiment. Allow it to sit for five to 30 minutes. The acids in the ketchup react in such a way with the tarnish that it removes it. Rinse the pan, and immediately dry.

n) Lemons:

When your aluminum pots and pans have lost their sparkle, rub the cut side of half a lemon on the inside and outside of the cookware, and then buff with a soft cloth.

o) Pantyhose:

Remove stains from nonstick pots and pans by using a crumpled pair of clean, old pantyhose as a homemade scrubber. Add a small amount of warm water and few drops of liquid dishwashing detergent [3] to the pantyhose.

p) Plastic Lids:

To avoid the damaging effects of steel wool for cleaning nonstick pans, use plastic lids instead to scrap off the grime.

q) Vinegar:

To remove stains from stainless steel pots and pans, soak in two cups of white vinegar for 30 minutes. Rinse the cookware with hot, soapy water followed by a rinse of cold water. When cooking acidic foods in your aluminum cookware has left behind dark stains, clean the blemishes by mixing one teaspoon of white vinegar for every cup of water needed to cover the stains. Let the liquid boil for a couple of minutes, and then rinse with cold water.

r) Baking Soda and Vinegar:

To treat stubborn mineral stains on your nonstick cookware, add ½ cup vinegar, two tablespoons baking soda, and one cup of water to the pan. Mix the ingredients and then boil for 10 minutes.

s) Salt:

Eliminate greasy residue on iron pans by sprinkling salt in the pan before washing, and the cookware will absorb most of the grease. Wipe out the pan, and wash as usual. You can address burnt food stains on enamel pans in salt water. Leave the water in the pan overnight to soak. The next day, boil the salt water in the pan and the stains should easily lift off.

t) Salt and Cooking Oil:

To clean a cast iron pot, salt is one of the best things to use for cleaning it [4]. Try rubbing the pot with a few tablespoons of salt and a paper towel when a clean rinse with water doesn’t work. Rinse after cleaning with salt and revamp the oil layer by rubbing in a dab of cooking oil into the inside surface.

u) Salt, Flour and Vinegar:

Treat all of your metal cookware with a mixture with equal parts of salt and flour that has enough vinegar added until a paste is made. Work the paste around the cooking surface, and then rinse off with warm water. Use a soft dish towel to thoroughly dry off the pan or pot.

v) Vegetable Oil:

After washing and thoroughly drying a cast iron skillet or wok, use a paper towel to wipe it down with vegetable oil. You do not have to drench the surface – simply apply a thin layer of the oil. This will prevent the pan from rusting.


[1] http://www.kitchenemporium.com/info/cookmaterial.html
[2] Extraordinary Uses for Ordinary Things by Reader’s Digest; pg. 193.

[3] http://www.dawn-dish.com/us/dawn/product

[4] Five Minute Fixes by Reader’s Digest; pg. 189.