Join our community of Solution Seekers!

How to Clean Cookware

Steps to keep your pots and pans in top condition.

Cast iron panWendell T. Webber

For starters, avoid the dishwasher, even if the manufacturer says it’s OK. Temperature fluctuations and harsh detergents can dull and damage the finish of cookware over time. For all except cast-iron pans (which come clean with just hot water), experts recommend dishwashing liquid. Here, specifics on different materials.

  • Anodized aluminum: High heat can leave unsightly scorch marks on this common metal. To tackle discoloration, even if it has been there a while, boil a mixture of 2 tablespoons cream of tartar and 1 quart water and let sit for 10 to 15 minutes. For the exterior, apply the solution with a sponge.
  • Cast iron: For cooked-on debris that won’t budge with hot water, use coarse salt and vegetable oil to make a scrubbing paste, then rinse with hot water.
  • Copper: Wash it out with soap and hot water. To keep the exterior shiny, polish regularly using one of these home mixtures. Rub the exterior with lemon halves that have been dipped in salt. Or coat the surface with a thin layer of ketchup, let sit for 5 to 30 minutes, and rinse. The acids in the lemon or the ketchup will remove the tarnish.
  • Stainless steel: Wash with hot, soapy water. It can get splotchy; to brighten, rub with a soft cloth moistened with white vinegar, then rinse.
  • Nonstick: With a soft sponge, wash with hot, soapy water. For tough grime, put the pan in the freezer for at least 30 minutes after it has cooled; the burned-on mess should come off easily.

 

Read More About:Cookware & Bakeware

Related Content

Illustration of birds, flowers, and cleaning products

What Ingenious Cleaning Tricks Did You Learn from Your Mom?

This month, readers share their moms’ tried-and-true tips for scrubbing, scouring, stain fighting, and more. Try one the next time you tidy up.

What do you think about this article? Share your own solutions and ideas

View Earlier Comments
Advertisement

Quick Tip

Kitchen timer

Make this crisp salad into a hearty next-day lunch: Tuck the leftovers into a toasted baguette spread with wasabi mayonnaise, wrap tightly, and refrigerate for up to 8 hours.