- Don’t burn yourself – let the pan cool down.
- Scrape the remains into the bin with a wooden spoon.
- Wear rubber gloves.
Burnt pots and pans are a fact of life in a restaurant kitchen. There’s no time to waste, so here’s what the pros do:
- Soak it: Fill the pot from the tap, squirt in some dishwashing detergent and then leave the water and detergent to do their work. When you return, wash as usual.
- Boil it: Put enough water in the pot or pan to cover its burnt base. Add 1 cup of white vinegar, bring to a boil and simmer for a few minutes. Remove from heat, rinse and when cool, scour with Handy Andy Power Cream.
- Wok it: With seasoned – or oiled - ironware such as woks, dishwashing detergent will negate the seasoning. To preserve it, boil some water in the pan, scrape the burnt bits off with a wooden spoon, rinse, dry and rub another light coating of vegetable oil into the cooking surface. The oiling protects the ironware when you’re not using it.
- Enamel pans: Cover the burnt areas with sodium bicarbonate powder for a few minutes to absorb oils and acids. Then wash. If further treatment is required, put a litre of water with 2 teaspoons of bicarb in the pan and simmer for 15 minutes. Then wash again.
- Teflon coated: We don’t use non-stick cookware in restaurant kitchens, but if you have them at home, then clean them carefully using a cloth or sponge and dishwashing detergent. Never use metal on non-stick surfaces as they are too delicate.
- Stuck to the non-stick surface: For stubborn and oily remains on pricey non-stick pans, half fill the pan with water, add ½ cup of white vinegar and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and carefully use a scrunched paper towel to absorb the oil on the surface, and then dispose of this. Use a slotted spoon to remove charcoal and debris and throw it in the bin. When the pan has cooled down, wash with dishwashing detergent.
- Copper bottoms: These can shine again with simple ingredients. Shake salt over the copper surface. Spray or pour on white vinegar and gently clean with a scourer, adding more salt and vinegar as necessary. Rinse with fresh water and buff dry.
- Copper interiors: Fill the pan with water, adding 100ml white vinegar and 50g salt. Bring to the boil and simmer for a few minutes. Rinse. For stubborn stains, dip half a lemon in salt and rub the cut, salty side over the marks.
- Tough stuff: Mix powder laundry detergent and dishwashing detergent to make a paste. Use this to scour that burnt surface.
- The last resort: Steel wool. Only use this on old pans you don’t care about, as you may scratch through a few layers. If that doesn’t work, the best thing to do is to recycle the pan, as its burnt base can be a safety hazard.
Has your cleaning regime changed during the Covid-19 lockdown?