How to clean a burnt pan quickly with salt, baking soda, vinegar and more

Here's how to clean a burnt pan. Use salt, baking soda, vinegar and more to tackle a stained pan bottom and stuck-on food, whether yours is stainless steel or copper...

copper pots and pans
(Image credit: Nest)

If you need to know how to clean a burn pan then it's likely that you didn't add enough water to something, or that your casserole went awol, yada yada yada, we get it – it's a pain. But, we all do it. And, there's no need to hit panic stations as you can clean a saucepan bottom or baking pan easily with a few household ingredients like salt, baking soda, vinegar, plus, some other interesting hacks...

Because let's face it, when you come to clean a kitchen – from top to bottom – you will come across a burnt pan of some kind. So, if you are more into the amazing heat conductivity of stainless steel, copper, enamel pans and the likes over non-stick (easy pans we like to call them), we can help you restore them to their former glory.

1. How to clean a burnt saucepan with salt

This is the easiest – and cheapest – way to clean a burnt pan. Simply cover the burnt area with table salt, work in with a sponge or scrubber, let sit for a while, then rinse. You can also use a potato sliced in half to rub the salt in (seriously, try it). You don't need fancy sea salt for this, just plain table salt.

2. How to clean a burnt pan with vinegar and baking soda

Oh, vinegar and baking soda! Is there anything these two won't tackle when combined? The trick here is to add a bit of warm water to the pan, enough to cover the burnt area, and then add a cup of vinegar. Stir. Then, add half a cup of baking soda, stir that in, and leave for half an hour, or until the soda begins to fizz. Rinse and scrub off the rest with the scrubber side of a washing-up pad.

3. How to clean a burnt pan with Coke

Coca-cola is a great DIY cleaning agent, working in a similar way to baking soda. Just pour it into the pan and leave to soak, preferably overnight. Rinse and scrub.

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

Another brilliant way to effectively clean grimy burnt pots or baking pans. Start by pouring warm water into the  dish, then place one of the dryer sheets over the top. Leave this for 10-15 minutes, or overnight if you're dealing with a serious baked-on case. When the time is up, wipe the food away with a soft sponge. This should be easily done as the softener in the dryer sheet helps cut through any nasty grease.

5. How to clean a burnt pan bottom with ketchup

This may sound a little out there, but ketchup can be used to remove burnt bits from copper pan bottoms, especially if the burnt is on the outside of the pan. Simply cover the area with ketchup and leave for at least an hour (preferably a couple). Rinse and remove the rest of the burn with a non-abrasive pad. Copper is prone to scratching, so you don't want a heavy duty scourer to go anywhere near it. 

Now you can make a mess again!

Anna Cottrell
Anna Cottrell

In 2018 Anna moved into the world of interiors from academic research in the field of literature and urban space and joined Realhomes.com as Staff Writer. She has a longterm interest in space-making and the evolution of interior style. She can also be found looking for the latest innovations in sustainable homewares or buying yet more bedding.