How to Clean Burnt Stainless Steel Pots & Pans (Greasy Bottoms Included!)


They say a watched pot never boils but they never told you that an unwatched pot only takes a few minutes to get completely burnt if you aren’t careful enough! The fact is, burning food in a stainless steel utensil at some point is inevitable; we all tend to step out of the kitchen for what seems like just a moment, only to find that it was long enough to burn all the food at the bottom of the pan. Of course, that doesn’t mean your scorched pot/pan is a lost cause; all it needs is a little TLC to restore the piece to its original condition. How, you ask? Well, Simply Maid has got all the answers for you right here!

Along with a step-by-step guide on how to clean burnt foods and remove black stains from stainless steel pots and pans, we are sharing an effective cleaning method to remove burnt grease and oil from the bottom of the utensil. Read on!

How to Clean a Burnt Stainless Steel Pot/Pan

The best part about this DIY cleaning method is that it requires nothing more than natural, eco-friendly ingredients for the job! 

Here’s what you’ll need:

      • Baking soda
      • White vinegar
      • Sponge
      • Non-abrasive scouring pad

With the things above at hand, follow the steps below.

Step One: Remove Loose/Large Bits

If the incident has just occurred and the utensil is hot, leave it aside to cool down before you start cleaning it. When it’s cool enough to touch, take a spoon and scoop out as much of the burnt food as possible. Some areas may need light scraping to remove dried bits, however, if you’d rather not do this, the rest of the cleaning process will take care of them. The only reason why it is advisable to remove as much of the burnt food as possible during this initial step is because it makes the rest of the cleaning less messy! 

Step Two: Submerge the Burnt Residue and Boil

In order to remove the burnt stains with ease, an acidic ingredient like white vinegar is perfect for eating into that blackened grime sitting at the bottom of your stainless steel pot or pan. To ensure that this method is 100% effective, however, it is necessary to submerge the entire burnt area in equal parts of white vinegar and water. Place the utensil on the stove and allow the mixture to boil for 10 minutes on high or medium flame. At the end of this time, take the pan off the stove, leaving the water inside for the next step.

Step Three: Add in Baking Soda

Depending on the amount of water and white vinegar added to the pan, and the severity of the black stains, you may require anywhere between 1 and 3 tablespoons of baking soda to help get out the burnt stains. Bear in mind that when baking soda and vinegar are introduced, a chemical reaction causes the mixture to foam or bubble — this is completely normal. Allow the baking soda to tackle stains for a 15-minute period while the water cools down in the meantime.

WARNING: The use of baking soda is not advised when cleaning anodised aluminium utensils as it can damage the coating.

Step Four: Rinse Out

After the cleaning solution has cooled down, empty the water into the kitchen sink, and rinse out the pot/pan. At this time, you may find some of the burnt foods coming out in chunks or peeled layers with little or no black stains left behind. This is due to the combination of heated white vinegar and baking soda which is also often used to clean burnt kitchen appliances such as microwave and oven interiors. Before you can begin scrubbing away the remainder of the stains, rinse out the utensil thoroughly to remove all loosened burnt debris.

Step Five: Scrub Clean 

Stainless steel isn’t scratch-resistant so your choice of scrubber must be non-abrasive. Even a sponge will suffice as the steps prior to this will likely remove most of the burnt stains from your pot/pan. Nonetheless, if you are having a bit of trouble scrubbing away stubborn black marks, simply sprinkle some baking soda over the area and continue scrubbing. The powder creates a mild abrasion which is effective in removing stains from stainless steel without leaving any scratches. The added benefit of using baking soda to clean burnt stainless steel is that it gives the utensil a polished look.

Step Six: Rinse Off Thoroughly

Although the last step is to rinse the pot or pan under running water, it may not be the end of the cleaning process. In severe cases, the burnt stains may not come off with the first treatment; hence, we advise repeating steps 1 to 4 a minimum of three times in order to remove stubborn burnt stains from your stainless steel utensils. When you are thoroughly satisfied with the result, simply scrub and rinse off the cleaning agents before leaving the utensil to air dry.

How to Remove Burnt Oil from the Bottom of Pots/Pans

A lot of people become accustomed to using their pots and pans even when the stainless steel on the bottom is covered in burnt oil and grease. That’s because no one wants to waste their time and energy scrubbing off this stubborn grime until and unless an easier solution comes along. Well, that simple solution is right here! 

Check out our incredibly easy and almost effortless cleaning method to remove burnt oil and stains from the bottom of your stainless steel pots and pans.

Step One: Spray With Oven Cleaner 

Spread some newspaper sheets over your kitchen counter, place the pot/pan face down, and cover the entire base of the pan (and sides, if needed) with a good quality oven cleaner. Be sure to spray a generous amount of the product so that there is a thick enough layer covering the bottom. Leave this aside for a good 6-8 hours or overnight; in this time, the oven cleaner will work to degrease the bottom of your pot/pan. 

Step Two: Scrub Clean

Using a damp, non-abrasive scouring pad, scrub the bottom of the pan to remove the loosened burnt grime. Rinse off your scrubbing tool at intervals but do not rinse the bottom of the pan until you have scrubbed and removed the cleaning product. When the bottom is revealed, check for any leftover stains. If there are existing stains, move on to step 3.

Step Three: Re-spray & Scrub

Spray the bottom of the stainless steel pot/pan and let it sit for a few hours. Dampen a clean scrubber, pour some liquid dish soap over it, and scrub the base once more. With a little more elbow grease, you will be able to remove even the most stubborn burnt oil and grease stuck to the bottom of your stainless steel pots and pans!

Step Four: Rinse & Dry

The last thing you need to do is wash off all the grime with a good rinse, thereby revealing the utensil’s shiny, stainless steel base! If you’d like to dry the pot immediately, do so with a lint-free towel and store it away.

While it’s important to be extra careful not to burn food when cooking, accidents do happen sometimes and that’s why cleaning guides like this one are necessary. So, before you decide to throw away a stainless steel pot or pan that’s been scorched, use the information above to achieve a guaranteed satisfactory cleaning result!

Karen Saunders


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