You’ve left your food on the stovetop for too long and now all you have left is a fifty dollar pan, completely covered in burnt cheese. We’ve all been there once or twice before, but the good news is that it isn’t the end of your pan’s life. Luckily, you invested in nonstick Teflon pans and cleaning burnt food off of these types of pans is easily achieved with a little bit of patience, elbow grease, vinegar, and baking soda. Continue reading to find out how you can keep those expensive pans looking and performing like new!
Cleaning After General Use
1. Make sure to take proper safety precautions if your pan is still warm or hot. After your pan has had time to cool off and is safe to handle, remove any leftovers you may still have in the pan. Then, take your hand, a rag, a plastic spoon or a spatula to gently rub loose any food that might be leftover in the pan. Empty the remnants into the trash bin. Never use any metal on your nonstick pan because Teflon pans have a nonstick coating that can be toxic and cook into your food if scratched or damaged.
2. Take your nonstick pan over to the sink and set it in the tub. Turn on the sink and run warm or hot water into the tub. Since running water over hot pans can cause them to warp, which could cause the nonstick coating to chip away, be sure that your pan has completely cooled before running water over it
3. Add a few drops of soap to the nonstick pan. Using a sponge or dishrag, gently wipe and rub any leftover food from the pan. Make sure you completely wash the inside, outside and the handle of the pan. Never use things like brillo pads or steel wool on nonstick pans. Using these abrasive cleaning pads can damage and scratch the coating of the pan.
4. Dry the pan using a soft paper towel, dishrag, or by simply putting the pan into the dish rack. The pan is now ready to be used again and again.
Using Vinegar to Clean a Nonstick Pan
- If an oily layer is left on your pan, or if you have burnt food stuck on it, allow your nonstick pan to cool. After your pan has cooled, fill it about halfway with water. Once you have water in your pan, grab your bottle of white vinegar and add about a half cup of it to your water.
- Walk to your stovetop and bring your vinegar/water concoction to a rolling boil. Depending on what setting you have your burner on, this could take anywhere from five to ten minutes. As the concoction gets hotter and hotter, the food and oil will start to lift away from the surface of the pan.
- Using a bunched up paper towel, collect the pools of oil off of the surface of the water. Be careful not to come into contact with the water when collecting the oil off of the surface because it will be HOT to the touch. Once you’ve gotten all of the oil collected, go ahead and toss the paper towel into the trash bin. Using a kitchen spoon with holes in it, collect the remaining food particles from the water. Then, empty the remaining water/vinegar mixture into the sink.
- Allow your pan to cool before washing it in the sink. Once the pan is cooled enough for you to comfortably handle, wash the dish as you normally would. Be sure to use a soft sponge or a washrag. Once again, abrasive materials will scratch the nonstick coating, which could make its way into your food. Dry the pan with a soft towel or by placing it in the drying rack.
Using Baking Soda to Remove Burnt-on Food
1. Once your nonstick pan has cooled from any cooking you may have done, cover any burnt food spots with baking soda. Add a small amount of water to the spots of baking soda in the pan. Allow your pan to sit overnight so your pasty mixture can penetrate the burnt spots.
2. The next morning, take your baking soda soaked pan and scrub away the burnt-on food using a soft rag or sponge.
3. Once you have gotten all of the burnt-on food off the surface of the pan, you can wash it in the sink as you normally would, using warm or hot water. After the pan is washed, you can dry with a soft towel and put it away.
It goes without saying that people don’t want to throw away pans that they’ve spent good money on. If you continuously run into this problem, or it’s a once in a while type of thing, then take these tips with you to prevent the loss of money, time, and really nice cookware.