Pots are a kitchen essential that make it easy to cook pasta, soup, vegetables, and even meat. When treated right, they can last for an incredibly long time, staying useful for years or even decades. Cleaning off burnt and stuck food is one of the most important forms of cookware upkeep, so knowing how to soak your pots, deglaze them, and treat them with baking soda and vinegar will help you keep them in good condition.
EditSoaking the Pot
- Fill your pot with warm water. Make sure to fully submerge any areas containing burnt food. If possible, cool the pot and fill it with water immediately after burning it, that way the food will be easier to remove.
- Mix in a few drops of dish soap. For smaller pots, 2 to 3 drops should be plenty. For larger pots, try 4 to 5. Once added, mix the solution together with a simple cleaning brush to make sure soap covers the whole pot.
- Let your pot sit overnight. If not possible, let it sit for at least 1 hour. The more time the burnt food has to absorb your soapy solution, the easier it will be to remove.
- Scrape away food with a double-sided sponge. After soaking, use the rough end of a double-sided sponge to scrape the burnt food off. Though not necessary, feel free to dump the water first if desired. If some food is still stuck on, repeat the soaking process.
EditUsing Baking Soda and Vinegar
- Fill your pot with just enough water to cover the burnt areas. Unlike with soap and water, you want to make a more concentrated solution focused exclusively on the spots you plan to clean.
- Mix in of vinegar. Vinegar is an incredibly acidic substance, which makes it a perfect choice for cleaning off burnt food. Pour of generic vinegar into the pot. With a spoon or brush, mix the solution together.
- Bring the pot to a boil. Place your pot on a burner and turn the heat to a medium-high or high setting. Make sure to leave it uncovered. Let it sit until the vinegar starts to boil, at which point your cookware should start looking cleaner. Turn off the heat and move the pot to a cool area.
- Add of baking soda and let it sit for 30 minutes. When used with hot vinegar, baking soda turns into an incredibly powerful cleaning product. Add about of baking soda to your solution, sprinkling it over areas with burnt food. Let it sit for 30 minutes, allowing the pot to cool and the baking soda to soak in. Be aware that baking soda can fizz up quite dramatically when added to vinegar.
- To prevent fizz overflow in smaller pots, pour out between ½ and ¾ of the vinegar before adding baking soda.
- Clean the pot with a double-sided sponge. After 30 minutes, scrub your pot with the rough end of a double-sided sponge. For marks that still won’t come off, sprinkle about of baking soda over their surface and scrub again. If necessary, repeat the vinegar boiling process.
EditDeglazing the Pot
- Put your empty pot on a stove. For enamel or stainless steel pots that are resistant to other methods, a pure heat deglaze may be the best solution. Place your pot on a stove burner with no added water, dish soap, or other substances.
- Turn the heat to a high temperature. Raise the heat to a temperature of or higher, as if you were boiling water. To see if the pot is hot enough, drop a small amount of cold water into it. If it evaporates on impact, you’re ready to continue.
- Pour about of lukewarm water into the pot. Aim for spots where burnt food has crusted on, as this will soften the food and make it easier to remove. After adding the water, step back quickly to avoid any rising steam.
- Take the pot off the stove if necessary. It’s easier to remove burnt food while the pot is still hot. However, this may not always be a safe solution, especially if your pot has tall sides, you do not have protective gloves, or you do not have a long-handled spatula. If you feel uncomfortable working with a hot pot, turn off your burner, remove the cookware, and let it cool before continuing.
- Scrape the burnt food off with a long-handled spatula or similar tool. Press the spatula to the side or bottom of the pot and scrape through each burnt area. If necessary, add more water. If scraping over heat, wear heat protective cooking gloves to avoid burns.
- Wear heat-resistant gloves when cleaning hot pots. Keep your skin and clothes away from the main chamber at all times. If using a spatula or other tool to scrape food off, make sure the handle is taller than the pot itself.