How to Clean the Outside of Pots & Pans

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When it comes to cleaning our cookware, the insides of our pots and pans is a no-brainer — just remove any remaining food, soak in soapy water and scrub clean.
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When it comes to cleaning our cookware, the insides of our pots and pans is a no-brainer — just remove any remaining food, soak in soapy water and scrub clean. The outsides of our pots and pans, however, often require a little more elbow grease as these outer surfaces aren't usually coated in nonstick material, which makes it easy for stains to stick. Fortunately, cleaning pots and pans can be easily done with a few inexpensive ingredients and is made even easier when done as part of a regular cleaning routine.

How to Clean Pots and Pans

Step 1 Cut Through the Grease

Oftentimes, the residue found on the outsides of the pots and pans is grease. Whether it's splattered from frying, pouring or just spillage, the first step in cleaning is to degrease, which can be done with a strong dishwashing soap, like Dawn, or white vinegar. To use vinegar to degrease your pots and pans, start by soaking your cookware in a tub of water filled with about one part vinegar to two parts water. Use a scrubbing pad to wash the grease off. For extremely greasy surfaces, a cream degreaser may be used, according to Cleanipedia.

Read more: How to Clean Burnt Grease from Frying Pans

Step 2 Remove Baked-On Grime

Once your initial layer of grease is removed, you may still notice lingering stains, like baked-on sauces or cheese, burnt food or water. How to Clean Stuff recommends lifting these heavy stains by creating a paste made from baking soda and a small amount of water. This paste should be fairly thick, but spreadable. Then, spread the paste over the outside of your pot or pan.

Step 3 Scrub Clean and Dry

After your pot or pan is covered in the baking soda paste, use a gentle scrubbing pad or brush to buff the paste into the surface of your cookware until the stains have been lifted. Cleaning pans with baking soda is an effective way to lift stains gently and should not be damaging to the outer surfaces of cookware.

Cleaning Bottom of the Pan

One of the most common areas that see stubborn stains is the bottom of a pot or pan, which comes into direct contact with the heat source you use to cook. Often, these stains will take on a black, brown or rusty hue and can be tough to lift with soap and water alone. To clean a burnt pan bottom, create a baking soda and water paste, as explained above, and scrub the pan with that mixture. If your burn is extra tough to lift, you can try soaking the bottom of your pan in a mixture of vinegar and baking soda before scrubbing with a pad.

Read more: How to Clean the Bottom of Stainless Steel Pans

Cleaning Different Types of Pans

While many people prefer the convenience of cooking with nonstick pans, some people have more specific preferences for their cookware. Because not all cookware is made from the same material, cleaning their outer surfaces should be done with care in mind. To clean aluminum pots and pans, rub the outsides with a bit of salt and lemon water and take special care to avoid cleaning agents like ammonia and chlorine bleach, which can discolor your cookware. Stainless steel should be scrubbed gently with baking soda, while copper pieces can be treated with vinegar, lemon juice and salt.

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Krissy Howard is a NY-based freelance writer who specializes in creating content regarding pet care, skin care, gardening, and original humor. Her work has appeared on Reader's Digest, Hello Giggles, and Reductress.

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