How to clean a burnt pan using salt, cola, baking soda – and other techniques

Who's ready to roll up their sleeves?
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  • Hit cooking shows such as Masterchef and Jamie’s Meals in Minutes have all given us a little more confidence in the kitchen. But while our nearest and dearest may be thriving after being treated to dinner party soiree after dinner party soiree, our pan sets are likely to be flailing under the pressure of constant use.

    Related: How to clean an oven and hob – including the oven rack and glass door

    Yep that one-pot dish may look delightful once it’s served onto a plate but what it invariables leaves behind is a trail of disaster on the bottom of our pans. Think charred, encrusted food remains that would test even the most sturdy of scourers.

    While we can’t help you avoid the nightmare of a scorched pan in the first place, we do know how to clean a burnt pan and get it looking if not good as new, then close to it!

    How to clean a burnt pan

    how to clean a burnt pan

    Image credit: Lizzie Orme

    Before your consign your burnt pan to the rubbish heap, why not try giving the bottom of your pan a new lease of life using one of the ingenious cleaning tips below?

    1. How to clean a burnt pan with salt

    You can pick up 750g of table salt for under 50p, and as well adding seasoning to your favourite meals, this bargain product can also bring a whole lot to your pan-cleaning repertoire. It works best with a pan that has light burn marks on the edges/bottom.

    • Sprinkle a generous amount of salt into the centre of your pan
    • Use a wet sponge to work the salt into the affected areas
    • Repeat this process as and when needed

    Another bizarre hack for burnt pans using salt has also proved a hit on the internet. It’s said to be great for any burnt marks on pan sides, created as a result of sauce/stews/soups spilling over.

    Simply grab a large potato, cut in half, pour salt on the cut side and rub it into the burn marks. And voilà, your pan should be gleaming.

    Related: How to clean an iron with salt, toothpaste, paracetamol and more – plus other iron-cleaning tips

    2. How to clean a burnt pan with baking soda

    how to clean a burnt pan

    Image credit: Richard Gadsby

    You’ll be amazed at the shine you can achieve using this tip. You may even be able to see your own reflection in your pan if all goes to plan! You’ll also need some vinegar and a scourer to hand.

    • Fill your pan with water until the bottom is just covered
    • Add one cup of vinegar
    • Bring this solution to the boil and remove from the heat
    • Add 2 tbsp of baking soda and leave to work into the mixture for a few minutes until it starts to fizz
    • Wash the pan and use a scourer to scrub away any remaining burnt bits

    3. How to clean a burnt pan with a dryer sheet

    Dryer sheets can do more than adding a pleasing scent and softness to your laundry. They’re also just the thing to freshen up your burnt pan.

    • Add a few drops of washing-up liquid to the pan
    • Cover with a few inches of hot water
    • Place a dryer sheet over the water then press down so it is completely submerged
    • Leave to soak for an hour
    • Wash the pan out and as with no.2 scrub away any remaining burnt bits

    4. How to clean a burnt pan with cola

    If you’ve got a spare can of Coke or two lying around – or maybe the dregs of a bottle that’s gone flat – then why not crack it open and put it to use for cleaning?

    • Fill your pan with Coke, just a few inches
    • Leave to soak for a few hours
    • Use a scraper to remove any fat/burnt food/residue

    Which tips work for you?

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