How to Remove Stuck-on Residue from Your Pans

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Whether you love it or hate it, cooking is a necessity. And if you cook on a regular basis, chances are you have a pan that has stuck-on food and residue that just won’t come off. Instead of tossing that pan in the trash, why not try to save your cookware? This is how to remove stuck-on residue from your pans!

See also: These are 12 pantry organizers you absolutely need to check out this year! Take our word for it, cleaning your pans will get you in a real de-cluttering spree!

Tips on How to Remove
Stuck-on Residue From Your Pans

There are a few simple methods to remove that stuck-on residue without much effort. And the best part is that they’re are all natural, too! If you’re wondering how to remove stuck-on residue from your pans, keep reading to learn 3 easy ways to clean your cookware.

pan with baking soda

Baking Soda and Water

Baking soda is a natural abrasive that is great for cleaning a variety of surfaces – especially stainless steel and nonstick cookware. While baking soda does have abrasive properties, the abrasiveness of this handy cleaning ingredient isn’t strong enough to potentially cause damage to your cookware, making it a great alternative to steel wool. And using baking soda to clean your pots and pans is so easy!

Start by mixing a solution of baking soda, hot water, and a few drops of your favorite dishwashing liquid. Let the mixture soak in the pan for around 30 minutes. Pour the water out of the pan and use a sponge or scrub brush to scrub the stuck-on residue away.

If the pan still has stuck-on food, sprinkle a little bit more baking soda over the pan and use a sponge to rub the baking soda into the stubborn areas of the pan. Rinse the pan thoroughly to make sure all the residue has been removed before drying the pan and putting it away.

Baking Soda and Vinegar

Make your baking soda do double duty by combining it with some acidic vinegar when cleaning your cookware. To clean your pots and pans using baking soda and vinegar, start by boiling a mixture equal parts water and vinegar in your dirty pan. The boiling water will help loosen the stuck-on food, making it easier to clean once it’s cool.

After boiling the water for a few minutes, remove the pan from the heat and pour out the hot liquid. Immediately sprinkle baking soda over the hot pan and allow it to rest in the pan as it cools. When the pan is cool enough to touch, use a plastic scrub brush or sponge to rub the baking soda into the remaining residue. Rinse the baking soda and residue away, then dry completely before storing.


Using a little bit of salt in your dirty pan is another simple way to clean off stuck-on residue. In fact, this may be the easiest solution for stuck-on food if you have the time. Start by filling your messy pan with hot water, then add three to four tablespoons of salt to the water. Let the salt water soak in the pan for a few hours or up to overnight, depending on how dirty your pan is.

After giving the water plenty of time to soak, place the pan on your stovetop and bring the water to a boil. Allow the water to boil for a few minutes, then remove it from the heat and pour out the hot liquid. The stuck-on residue should pour out with the water, so the only thing left to do is rinse and dry your clean pan.

If you have stubborn stuck-on food remaining after boiling the salt water, sprinkle a little bit more salt into the pan and use it to scrub the stubborn areas. Rinse and repeat as needed until all the residue has been removed.

Tips for How to Remove Stuck-on Residue From Your Pans

No matter what type of cookware you have, you’ll probably have to deal with stuck-on food or cooking residue from time to time. And whatever method you choose to use to clean your pots and pans, these easy tips will help make cleaning that leftover residue a breeze.

  • Pay attention to the crevices and curves of your cookware as you clean. Food residue can easily hide in those small spaces, causing your food to taste bad the next time you cook.
  • Avoid stuck-on food next time you cook by adding oil to your stainless-steel pans when the pan is hot to create a nonstick surface for your food to cook on.
  • Always soak your pans immediately after cooking to loosen all the food from the pan before it can dry and start to stick.
  • Use plastic or wooden utensils to keep from damaging your pans, especially when cooking with nonstick cookware.
  • Try seasoning your pans with oil before cooking to prevent stuck-on food from occurring at all. Place a small amount of coconut oil or shortening in your pan and heat it over low heat until melted. Use a paper towel to spread the oil over the pan and allow it to soak in for a few minutes, then wipe away any remaining residue.

Another great way to get a handle on your kitchen is with one of these extra large dish racks! Check out our reviews for these and other useful kitchen organization products.


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