How to clean a burnt pan

Here's how to clean a burnt pan, whether yours is stainless steel or copper

copper pots and pans
(Image credit: Nest)

Looking for tips on how to clean a burn saucepan? We sympathise. Burning a pan is annoying; burning a high-quality, expensive pan is doubly so. Non-stick pans are convenient, it's true, but they can't really compare to the amazing heat conductivity of stainless steel or, even better copper. Those materials are prone to burning; however, it is possible to rescue even. a badly burnt pan, using our top tips.

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1. Use salt to clean a burnt saucepan

This is the easiest – and cheapest – way to clean your 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. Vinegar and baking soda for burnt pans

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. Use cola to dissolve the burn

Cocao-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 copper pans with ketchup

This may sound a little out there, but ketchup can be used to remove burnt bits from copper pans, 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. 

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