Cleaning Burnt Pots and Pans

Category Kitchen
Occasionally it happens that foods are burned onto your cookware, and it can be a challenge to get it clean again. This is a page about cleaning burnt pots and pans.


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I took a telephone call and completely forgot my saucepan boiling my Udon noodles. I didn't think anything would shift the burnt-on food. How wrong I was.

I soaked the pot for two days with cheap cola (17p for 2 litres in my supermarket) and a dash of bicarbonate of soda (baking soda).

I was then able to remove all burnt residue with a ball of foil and it came up as shiny as if it was new! See my picture.

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Don't waste your time scrubbing a badly burned pot or even think about throwing it away! All you need to do is put it outside in direct sunlight for a few days. The burnt food will crust up together, and when you turn it upside down, it will all fall out. I burned a huge pot of food the other day and my mother called up with this tip. Sure enough, the pot is back to normal thanks to the sun!




Source: My mother

By attosa from Los Angeles, CA

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It worked! I used the tip for using Dawn on my burnt pan and it worked! But I had to improve on the tip a little since my pan was really burnt.

Dawn to Clean Burnt Pans

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Using my favorite and best cooking pot, I put some green beans on to cook and went to the computer to check the weather while the strings beans were coming to a boil. Next thing I knew, the smoke alarm was blaring...

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January 22, 2005

Sprinkle powdered cleanser or baking soda liberally over the burned portion of the pot, then add only enough water to moisten the powder or soda well.

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To clean the worst burnt pots and pans in just a few minutes, put about 1/2 to 1 inch of water in the pan then shake a generous amount of Comet and boil.

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Who hasn't burned a pot really badly on the stove! To clean it, get some rhubarb, several handfuls. Cut it up into about half a pot of water and boil gently for about 10 minutes.


Don't let it go dry. Your pot will sparkle!

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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

March 26, 2008

How do I get burnt tomato soup out of a metal pan? I was making grilled cheese and tomato soup the other day and seemed to let it sit to long. I now can't seem to get the burnt soup off the bottom of my pan. Can anyone help?


March 26, 20080 found this helpful
Best Answer

Automatic dishwasher detergent in water will dissolve just about all cooked on food. Just let sit for a while.

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March 26, 20080 found this helpful
Best Answer

Barkeepers Friend....looks like white comet. It cleans everything. Sprinkle it on a wet pan and let sit a few minutes. Shines everything like new.

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March 26, 20080 found this helpful
Best Answer

Fill the pot with hot water and place a new fabric softener dryer sheet in it. Let it set overnight. This has worked before for me on baked/burned on food.

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December 4, 2007

My Revere Ware has sufficient build up of burnt food on the OUTSIDE (sides and bottom) of the pots and pans. There is advice on cleaning the INSIDE not the OUTSIDE - I'm considering using a Magic Eraser but I'm wondering about the copper bottom as well. Would be interested in detailed information. Thanks so much!


Kris from Austin, TX


December 4, 20070 found this helpful

Read last post on page.

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By jean (Guest Post)
December 4, 20070 found this helpful

Try soaking the pots in a sink or dish pan in hot water and powder dish washer detergent, about 1 cup to a sink full. What works on the inside will probably work on the outside. Soak overnight, then scrub.

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December 6, 20070 found this helpful

I'm not sure if this will help you, but my mother taught me how to clean and brighten copper bottoms of our Revere Ware pots and pans.

Wet the copper bottom and sprinkle vinegar (any kind) on it. Then sprinkle regular salt on top of the vinegar and scrub with a sponge. The chemical reaction of the vinegar and salt removes tarnish from the bottom.


Maybe this will help, I hope.

Good luck!
Smoochie :)

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December 6, 20070 found this helpful

Barkeeper's Friend!

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February 9, 20080 found this helpful

I've had to do a lot of this lately.
First, do a thorough cleaning with Bar Keepers Friend-- on the stainless steel and the copper. Don't spend a lot of time on the copper because that's Step 2.
Step 2: Get on down to the local hardware store and pick up a sheet of 600 grit wet/dry sandpaper. Cut off a piece around 2" square and keep everything wet. Then scour the copper with the sandpaper. That copper will shine like you won't believe...
(Maybe going to the hardware store should have been step number 1?)

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February 9, 20081 found this helpful

Before anyone says: "Yikes! Sandpaper? Are you kidding me?"
I heard this tip on a cooking show on a San Francisco radio station.


And it really works well, without scratching the copper. I was amazed myself!

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March 3, 20082 found this helpful

I have the solution to your problem, this will work on the copper bottom & the inside that was burned from water, milk etcetera. My husband is a body work man fixing & painting cars. When he paints cars afterwards, he has to wet sand & buff the paint to get out imperfections. He uses a 1000 grit or 1,500 grit sandpaper, it's really fine grain. I use it on the inside & the outside of my Revereware pans. You have to let a slow flow of water run on it the whole time you are scrubbing. It does not scratch the pans because it's such a fine grain of sandpaper. I promise you, it will not scratch & they come out looking brand new.

You have to remember to run a trickle of water over it as your scrubbing. You are wet sanding the burnt stuff & film off the pan. If it works on car paint without scratching, it will work on your pans. I have been using this method for 20 years now with perfect looking pans. You can get the sandpaper at the hardware or automotive store, ask for 1000 grit to 1,500 wet dry sandpaper. It doesn't take much scrubbing either.

I promise you will never go back to any other way again after using this method.

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March 3, 20080 found this helpful

I just posted about the sandpaper too,when people think of sandpaper they think of the rough stuff.There is a sandpaper out there that is 1000 grit and 1,500 grit,you have to get the right type.It's called wet/dry 1000 grit sandpaper,it's the type used to wet sand and buff out imperfection in the paint after a car is painted.I use this method and I promise you it does not scratch your pans.You have to REMEMBER to run a trickle flow of water over the pan as your wet sanding it.It's more like a rubbing method but it WILL NOT SCRATCH YOUR PANS.If it does than you have used the wrong grit,it has to be 1000 grit or 1,500 wet/dry sandpaper,it is a very very fine sandpaper grit.Once you use this method you will never bother with others again,it works on the inside and the outside of the pan.

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By CatnMouse (Guest Post)
July 29, 20080 found this helpful

I just picked up a set of Revere Ware copper bottom pots at a yard sale...for $1.00! I cleaned them all up bright and shiny with the same stuff I use on my brass bathroom sink, Cameo copper, brass and porcelain cleaner which costs about $1.25 at my local grocery store.

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August 3, 2018

I have burned chunky spaghetti sauce on the bottom of my pot. I tried the liquid dish soap with water and boiling method, but it's still stuck like glue to the bottom of the pot. What now?

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November 24, 2014

I didn't realise peas cooked so quickly. I left the kitchen for a bit and scorched the pot. I scrubbed for hours and hours and I'm still scrubbing. I've gotten a lot of the burnt off and broken two nails in the process, but it's not my pot it's my roommate's. I don't wanna hear about it or worse have her make me replace it. This thing could cost a lot of money. Anyways I realised my metal spoon was really good at getting hard oatmeal off of plastic so why not this pot. Sure enough it got a lot more of it off, but I had to stop cause it was leaving these huge visible scratch marks. Anyways I need to know what to do to get it clean the rest of the way and if I can make the scratches disappear. Thanks.

By Savannah K.

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November 3, 2009

My pans are greasy and spotted on the bottom. Can I put them in my self cleaning oven? Thank you.

By dan noci from Las Vegas, NV

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July 28, 2010

I burned my copper whistling tea kettle. I can get the outside reasonably clean, but worry about the inside. How do I make sure it's free of nasty stuff inside?

Pat R

By Pat R from WI

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December 31, 2009

How do I get burned on milk off a T-fal pan?

By grannyearth from PA

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January 5, 2015

I've got scorched milk on my pan. Can you use Clorox? Or what is the best way to take it off?


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How can I clean copper bottom pans that have years of stuff on them?


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July 25, 2013

I cannot clean my fry pans that are burnt from using the gas too high. I tried all types of cleaners, but nothing works.

By Helen

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March 11, 2013

How can I clean it? It is very burnt from the custard boiling over in the pan.

By wd

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