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Cleaning a Burnt Stainless Steel Pan

Category Metal
Removing burned on food or burn marks from your stainless steel cookware can be difficult. There are products and techniques that will help and not damage the finish in the process. This is a guide about cleaning a burnt stainless steel pan.
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June 9, 20161 found this helpful

This guide is about cleaning burnt sugar from a stainless steel pot. When sugar is burned onto a pan, it can be a challenge to remove.

Pot with burnt residue on the left and the same pot cleaned on the right

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October 16, 20130 found this helpful

A stubborn substance that can adhere to your pan is cooking oil. This guide is about cleaning burnt oil from stainless steel pans.

A stainless steel pan with burnt oil.

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Questions

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.

By 0 found this helpful
October 16, 2006

I burned mac and cheese on my new frugal stainless steel pot and I can't for the love of god get this thing to come clean, please help. It's been soaking for 3 days and still nothing. I tried to scrub it, baking soda, boil soap, nothing works, HELP.

Kimberly from Akron, Ohio

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October 16, 20060 found this helpful
Best Answer

WalMart sells a stainless steel scrubber. Looks almost like its made of steel fibers itself. Anyway, I love my stainless cookware but on occasion I also have burned things on too. This scrubber is fantastic.

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By guest (Guest Post)
October 17, 20060 found this helpful
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this may sound like a strange thing to do but put a bounce dryer sheet in the water and let it soak. it sometimes works on pans.

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October 17, 20060 found this helpful
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Dawn makes a spray on product I think it is called Power Disolver. It comes in a blue spray bottle and is sold by the normal dish soaps. I would spray it with this and let it sit for 10-15 minutes. It might take a couple of times if it is really bad but I love this stuff.

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By guest (Guest Post)
October 17, 20060 found this helpful
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Fill the pot 1/2 full with hot water, add a 1/4 cup dishwasher powder detergent, and simmer on stove for about 1/2 hour. Let cool and then scrape with nylon/plastic spatula to remove worst of burnt food. Then scrub with a scrubby. Do all this wthout emptying the liquid out of the pot. Most or all of the burnt food will come off.

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October 17, 20060 found this helpful
Best Answer

Add about 1/4" of water with some baking soda. Once it boils, turn off the burner and let sit. The baking soda will turn into a paste and when cooled, use something to scrub it off. Comes off easily. If it doesn't all come off, add some more water, boil, cool, scrub off. I like to buy nylon netting and make into a ball and use for scrubbing and cleaning dishes. You can also buy small plastic scrapers(Pampered Chef, etc) to scrape off the gunk.

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Once I burnt rice and I left extra rice in the pan. Once it was cool, I scraped off the bottom and realized the rice also worked to clean the burnt on gunk.

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By guest (Guest Post)
October 18, 20060 found this helpful
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Do you ever bake snickerdoodles? If so, then you have a spice tin of cream of tartar in your cupboard. Dissolve several spoonfuls of cream of tartar in an inch or so of very hot water in the burnt pot and let it stand overnight. Don't ask me how, but it will loosen the burnt gunk and you will be able to scrub it clean.

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By 0 found this helpful
July 8, 2011

How do I remove the stain from a stainless steel fry pan? The burnt on food has been removed, but the stain is still there. An help would be appreciated.

By Roberta

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July 8, 20110 found this helpful
Best Answer

Have you tried a Brillo soap pad? It takes a lot of scrubbing to get that burned surface off. If that doesn't work, take the pan outside and spray it with oven cleaner and let it sit for a while. Repeat if necessary.

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July 11, 20110 found this helpful
Best Answer

Another helpful tip is to let a pan sit with water and a fabric softener sheet in it for at least 10 minutes to soak (if I don't have a sheet, I just use a bit of liquid fabric softener), then wipe away and wash as usual, all burnt-on food residue will come off. You can try this and if there is any burnt-on residue left, try using a Brillo pad like someone suggested.

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July 11, 20110 found this helpful
Best Answer

Try putting water in the pan and bringing it to a boil and then use the soap pad when it cools off enough. If that does not work buy some stainless steel cleaner, which I know works for me.

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July 11, 20110 found this helpful
Best Answer

Try Barkeepers Friend. It is less abrasive than a brillo pad, and removes stains or discolorations on stainless steel. I use a lot of it.

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By 0 found this helpful
July 19, 2017

I burned some grease in my pot. How do you get a black burn mark out of a stainless steel pot?

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July 19, 20170 found this helpful
Best Answer

Try Barkeepers Friend.

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July 19, 20170 found this helpful
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Leave it out in the sun and watch it self-clean. Here is my how-to post here on ThriftyFun:

http://www.thri … 5876493.tip.html

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Anonymous
July 20, 20170 found this helpful
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I boiled hot water and added some dish soap. Allow it to settle for a little and had to do a lot of scrubbing.

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July 24, 20170 found this helpful
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What always works for me is to spread a layer of regular table salt, baking soda and then adding about 1/4 inch vinegar to the pan and letting it soak overnight. If it is really bad, I repeat adding a squirt of Dawn dish soap. Hope this helps!

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July 25, 20170 found this helpful
Best Answer

Whenever my grandmother burned a pan she would add water and cream of tarter to the pan. She would then put the pan on the stove and let it boil. The cream of tarter would scrub the pan clean. Afterwards, she would use a steel wool to finish the job. I have done this for years and it works great.

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January 4, 20120 found this helpful

How do I remove black burnt stains and restore luster/brilliance to interior of a pan? While boiling eggs I forgot and the water boiled out! My aluminum stainless steel pan has black burnt marks and no luster. I left baking soda in pan to many days and still have black burnt stains and no luster to pan. What do I do to restore pan?

By Peggy B.

Answers

January 5, 20120 found this helpful
Best Answer

Boil water in the pan. While the water is boiling, sprinkle in some baking soda. Let it fizz a while, sprinkle in some more. After it stops fizzing, let it boil a few more minutes. Turn off the heat, let the pan cool off and wash with your normal dish detergent and scrubby. It should come off with minimal elbow grease. If the baking soda doesn't work, wash the pan and try boiling some white vinegar in the pan. After it boils a few minutes, turn off the heat, let the pan cool, and wash normally. Smelly, but definitely works.

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January 5, 20120 found this helpful
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Get some powdered Oxyclean like you add to your laundry! This works well on thermos's too. Here is a link for instructions. I have done this with boiling water in my sink to avoid it foaming over on my stove.
http://testkitc … pots-and-pans-2/

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January 6, 20120 found this helpful
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Fill with warm water and add a fabric softener sheet, let soak about three or four hours or overnight. You will be surprised how good this works! Amazing!

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January 6, 20120 found this helpful
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If the above tips don't get it back to new, try using a product called Bar Keepers Friend. It's a powder that works wonders for stainless steel and porcelin.

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By 13 found this helpful
October 11, 2010

How do I remove burnt cheese from a stainless steel pot?

By Al from Erie, PA

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October 12, 20100 found this helpful
Best Answer

Thank heavens I found this site! This morning, I decided to make oatmeal using my mother's favorite pot; the one that she's had since I was a baby and that she uses for her favorite tea. I had the pot on low and went outside to do some quick chores. Well, I obviously wasn't quick enough. I came back inside and found that the oatmeal had crusted onto the bottom of the pot and left a horrible burnt surface!

I didn't know what to do, so I did a quick web search and this page came up. I had to hurry, my mom was coming back from the corner store located just a few blocks away! I could just imagine the scolding I was to receive. I didn't have vinegar, nor fabric sheets or baking soda. But I did have EZ OFF. So, I sprayed the pot with EZ OFF, and used a spoon to scrape off the crusted burnt stuff. It came off instantly! My mother came home right when I was putting the pot away- freshly washed, shiny like new and perfectly normal once again. Thanks to you all for your wonderful and useful 'tricks', and I appreciate it so much more since you have saved a poor college student from getting barred from the kitchen!

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October 14, 20100 found this helpful
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To remove burnt-on food in cookware, try soaking the pan in hot water with a touch of dish soap and a new dryer sheet (like Bounce) added to the water. Sounds weird, but it works for me.

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October 30, 20100 found this helpful
Best Answer

Burnt a brand new high quality stainless steel 3 qt pan - really bummed. Black and crusted on the bottom (steaming veggies on high heat and water boiled away). Tried scrubbing with a Dobie scrub pad and some came off, but not much. So I read about using vinegar in the prior posts on this topic. Boiled a mixture of vinegar and water (mostly vinegar), let it sit for a couple of hours, boiled it again, took it off while it was still hot, poured out most of it, and tried the Dobie scrub pad. I was SHOCKED at how easily it came off and the bottom of pan is sparkling clean with no scratches. Made my day to say the least!

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February 21, 20110 found this helpful
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After reading a few of these posts, I have just successfully removed the burnt bits from the bottom of my pan using a combination of malt vinegar and bicarbonate of soda. It made a satisfying hiss when I poured it in. I left it for around 30 mins then thought I would try and clean it. It came off really easily and is now sparkling! I am so relieved as the pan is new. Thanks v much x

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By 0 found this helpful
March 7, 2011

I have stainless steel pan that my boyfriend used to toast bread. He burned the bread and then right after poured water into hot pan. The pan now has a copper color to it on bottom, sides, and inside. There is also crusty burned black bread inside that won't come off. The pan is new and I hate that the rest of the set is so nice looking! Any ideas on how to make it shine again? Especially, the outside of it where it totally changed color.

By Jay from San Diego, CA

Answers

March 8, 20110 found this helpful
Best Answer

Try this...place a dry softener sheet and very hot water in the pot and let it sit overnight. It should come right off using the dryer sheet as the scrubber. To lessen the marks on the outside dampen a rag or sponge with hot water and sprinkle baking soda on it and scour. Several applications may be necessary. The baking soda will not scratch the stainless steel and helps to shine it up with regular use.

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March 8, 20110 found this helpful
Best Answer

Go to the store and buy a product called Bar Keeper's Friend. You'll find it with the cleansers at Wal-Mart. I am never without this product. Sprinkle a little into the bottom of the pan, add a little water and let it set for a few minutes. Scrub with a scrubber sponge. The pan will shine like new. This product also works on the bottom of pans to remove burned on food and burn marks. You can use it to clean glass cook tops as well. There are tons of other uses. Bar Keeper's Friend has been around since the 1800s. Your great-grandmother likely used it. Try it. You'll love it. You can visit their website to find out more.

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October 2, 20110 found this helpful

Once a stainless steel saucepan has been burnt, but then thoroughly cleaned, is it then more likely to burn again?

By Val S.

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October 5, 20110 found this helpful
Best Answer

Not in my unfortunately considerable experience, lol! Uhm, you're not talking about a pan burned so badly that it was deformed, right? That might make a difference.

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By 0 found this helpful
May 19, 2015

How do I get burned on popcorn out of my pot?

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May 22, 20150 found this helpful
Best Answer

For some burnt on messes you can add water to the pot and put it back on the stove until the water boils a while. Many times it pulls off the burnt materials. Good Luck!

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July 13, 20120 found this helpful

I burnt my best saucepan. I filled it with water and detergent and left for 24 hours. It mostly came off, then I used a stainless steel soap pad which helped, but there are still block spots and discolouration on the bottom of the pan. Can I use the half vinegar and half water mixture to bring it back? And what can I use on the base of the pan as it is discoloured?

By Edwina B

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July 15, 20120 found this helpful
Best Answer

Easy-Off heavy duty oven cleaner might work. Spray it on and let it sit overnight.

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ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

November 18, 20090 found this helpful

I burnt my stainless steel saucepan making jam, really bad. I rang my mum and she told me to cut up onions and boil it in water. I thought I might share this, as after an hour of boiling, my saucepan is clean and shining again. Hope this helps others.

Cheers, Judy from Australia

Answers:

Burnt Stainless Steel Pan

One of the best ways I,ve found to clean burnt pans is to fill the pan about 3/4 full with water, add bio washing detergent, bring to the boil and let simmer for about 5-10 minutes, depending how burnt it is. This is the best method that works for me and it's pretty quick. Be sure to wash the pan thoroughly. Hope this helps.

Jan from UK (06/23/2009)

By blackbess

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October 11, 20100 found this helpful

I was making plum jam. I thought I turned the pot off, but I turned it to low. I was gone too long and my new 18 qt. All-clad pot is burnt. I am boiling with salted water now. Any pointers would be great. I am so bummed.

By Jasmine from ID

Answers:

Burnt Stainless Steel Pan

Maybe try baking soda water? (08/15/2010)

By nursehageman

Burnt Stainless Steel Pan

I find that using a Bio washing powder works on most food, as it is designed to digest foods. I expect you would need to cook up a solution in the pan and let it boil away then leave to cool and hopefully you should have a clean pan. It's best if you can leave it overnight. Good luck. Hope the jam was good! (08/17/2010)

By Kentishmaid

Burnt Stainless Steel Pan

My sister-in-law was head cook for a major company in the Seattle, Washington area for many years. She told me to cover the burn area with simmering water with baking soda added. I have used it successfully several times. She did not give me any exact proportions, so I just add a little at a time (which usually bubbles up). I wait until it settles down and then add a little more, all depending on the size of the pan. (08/17/2010)

By Kathryen

Burnt Stainless Steel Pan

Try Easy-Off oven cleaner. (08/18/2010)

By Ann Parker

Burnt Stainless Steel Pan

Try placing a Bounce or other fabric softener sheet in the pot filled with water. Place on stove and heat the water to boiling. Shut off the heat and let it sit a couple of hours or overnight. Then use the softener sheet to wash the burnt pieces away. Wash and rinse well. I have used this method successfully a number of times and have saved expensive and not so expensive pots from being thrown out. Good Luck!

Laurie (08/18/2010)

By FoyCat

Burnt Stainless Steel Pan

Barkeeper's Friend works wonders. (08/18/2010)

By Noella

Burnt Stainless Steel Pan

Salt is not likely to do anything. I use baking soda, like 1/2 to 1 cup for a big pot, water, boil for a half hour or so, and let soak. This works reasonably well, but you often need to do a couple of times, and still need a lot of elbow grease. Give those dryer sheets a try, as others have suggested. (08/18/2010)

By louel53

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August 14, 20100 found this helpful

I have a heavy duty stainless steel pan that I was using with my bamboo steamer. It had boiled dry and really left it badly burnt. I managed to get the burnt part cleaned, but it has really left a dark stain at the bottom that seems to be right into the finish. Is there any way to get this off or is the finish ruined?

By Verna

Answers:

Burnt Stainless Steel Pan

Try boiling some rhubarb in it. (07/01/2010)

By skinnyjinny

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June 29, 20100 found this helpful

My son burned my new stainless steel pan. How can I clean it? The inside has black stains all over the bottom and sides.

By Cathy from Phoenix, AZ

Answers:

Burnt Stainless Steel Pan

First, wring your son' neck. LOL! Bon Ami polishing cleanser can be purchased at most grocery stores. It's a 14 oz. can and printed on the front are the words "Cleans Without Scratching".

It will take a lot of elbow grease to remove the burnt areas. The product can also be used on Corning Ware so you know that it will work on stainless steel. (02/25/2010)

By MCW

Burnt Stainless Steel Pan

Try using Bar Keeper's Friend. I use this all the time and I love it. It even takes the rainbow stains that are in the bottom of a stainless steel pot. (02/26/2010)

By Deeshep

Burnt Stainless Steel Pan

The same thing happened to one of my best stainless steel pots too except I did it myself. I tried everything, nothing got it all off. I was on the verge of saying forget it then in a last ditch effort I found a tip in a web search to use emery cloth and that did it! It scratched the surface in the bottom a little so use the finest emery cloth you can find, but it will buff it off.
It saved my pan, I'm so glad to have the complete set usable again. Good luck. (02/26/2010)

By gr8dnm

Burnt Stainless Steel Pan

Pour in some Coca-Cola (not diet) and heat it up on the stove. Leave to simmer for about 5 minutes. Throw out the cola and wash with a scouring sponge to get off what you can. Repeat the process as often as is required and it will soon be all gone and shining like new! (02/26/2010)

By Monique63

Burnt Stainless Steel Pan

I have a nice set of SS pans and do burn things occasionally in them. I only use Cameo Stainless Steel Cleaner in them. You can find it next to the Bon Ami and Barkeeper's Friend cleansers. If it is really crusted on, I sprinkle some on and leave it to soak overnight. The next day it usually cleans right off. (02/27/2010)

By arsonhorse

Burnt Stainless Steel Pan

I sprayed on EZ Off, let the pan soak, and next morning rinsed and wiped the pan with a sponge, all gone! (03/27/2010)

By rajalance

Burnt Stainless Steel Pan

I have stainless steel cookware. When something gets burned on or stuck on, I cover the bottom with white vinegar and some baking soda and let it sit overnight. They come clean with no scouring.

One pan was extremely burned (it boiled dry when I was out gardening) and it came out. There are a few black smudges, but they are gradually disappearing.

I wash dishes with vinegar. It removes the grease and polishes all of the dishes and stainless silverware, pots, and pans. If the dishwater looks like it has grease on top, I simply make a new dishpan of vinegar and hot water to finish up.

I use vinegar to clean my ceramic top stove and it looks like new. Actually, I use white vinegar for everything in my house, kitchen, bathroom, windows, floor, you name it. And, it won't harm the septic tank. (05/08/2010)

By clynnaltemus

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February 25, 20100 found this helpful

I have a stainless steel pan that was burnt on the inside. Now it has a dull look and grayish smears; it is not shiny anymore.

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June 22, 20090 found this helpful

How do I clean a burnt stainless steel saucepan without damaging it inside?

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May 17, 20090 found this helpful

I let my stainless steel grill too hot. It is burnt, scorched. Any suggestions on getting it back to looking shiny?

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November 18, 20080 found this helpful

I did a dumb thing. I boiled water to heat a baby's bottle. Totally forgot about it after the bottle was ready, etc. I went to bed, it boiled completely dry and sat and cooked bare stainless steel for about 2 hours!

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April 16, 20070 found this helpful
Click to read more ideas from older posts on ThriftyFun.
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February 18, 20070 found this helpful

Is there a way to clean or restore stainless cookware after water has boiled dry in it and turned it dark?

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October 22, 20060 found this helpful

I left my stainless steel saucepan sitting on the stove after the water had boiled out.

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September 16, 20060 found this helpful

How do I clean the inside of a stainless steel pan that is burnt inside due to water evaporating?

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October 7, 20050 found this helpful

I totally burnt a stainless steel pan by attempting to create a simple syrup for my iced tea. After I got the smoke out of the house and dealt with the fire department (that some well-meaning person called), I now have this pan to clean.

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In This Guide
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Pot with burnt residue on the left and the same pot cleaned on the right
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Cleaning Burnt Oil From Stainless Steel Pans
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